Friday, November 13, 2015

Donnelly fight anniversary marked

More than 30 people turned up this afternoon at Donnelly's Hollow to have an informal commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the fight between Irish pugilist Dan Donnelly and the English fighter George Cooper, writes Brian Byrne.

It was a pleasant occasion, during which a wreath was laid at the obelisk that marks the scene of the fight.

Two pupils from the nearby Scoil Bhride in Athgarvan read out a report from the 'Freeman's Journal & Commercial Advertiser', noting that the original date for the (illegal) fight had been cancelled after the intervention of the police ... it's believed to be the first locally-recorded mention of the contest.

Then Patrick Myler, whose 70s 'Regency Rogue' biography of Donnelly is the acknowledged seminal work on the fighter's life, talked about how he had come to write the book and gave a background to the pugilist's life and times (the book has recently been republished with additional material, under the title 'Dan Donnelly, 1788-1820, Pugilist, Publican, Playboy').

Those present then exchanged stories about the heritage aspects of the event, among them the re-enactment of the fight in 1953 and 1954 by the Kilcullen Boxing Club.

All were then invited back to Newbridge Library for refreshments, by Executive Librarian of the Kildare Collection Mario Corrigan, who has given numerous talks on Donnelly as 'Ireland's First National Sporting Hero'.

More pictures from the day can be viewed here.