Up to 1,000 people are expected to descend in Ballinalee this weekend as part of a three day commemoration in honour of General Sean MacEoin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will formally unveil a monument to mark the fortieth anniversary since MacEoin’s death while also recognising the heroic exploits that were achieved by the near 40 strong North Longford Flying Column.
Chairman of the Sean MacEoin Commemoration Committee, Cllr Micheal Carrigy said the occasion promised much, both from a historical and educational standpoint. “There has been a great deal of preparation that has gone into the event. There is also a 40 page commemorative booklet which is very informative and goes into great detail not just on MacEoin but on all those others who put their lives on the line,” he said.
Visitors from as far away as France and the US are scheduled to travel to Ballinalee over the coming days with much of the focus geared towards this Sunday and the visit of Mr Kenny.
Organisers believe the Taoiseach’s presence, combined with the large array of festivities planned, will help restore heightened interest in one of Ireland’s most decisive historical and political periods.
“An event like this is one that crosses the political divide,” said Cllr Carrigy. “We just hope the people of Longford will come out and show that this weekend.”
Timeline of events:
-Thursday June 13: Launch of exhibition on MacEoin, covering his time as a soldier and a politician, in the newly renovated Thomas Ashe hall at 7:30pm by Colonel Yorke, Custume Barracks, Athlone.
-Friday June 14: Thomas Ashe Hall will be open from 10am-4pm and from 7pm-9pm where MacEoin memorablilia can be viewed.
-Saturday June 15: A blacksmith demonstration at MacEoin’s Forge, just outside the village of Ballinalee from 2pm.
Horseshoe making as well as how to shoe a horse will take place with old uniforms and weaponry also being on display. Afterwards, a re-enactment of a battle between an IRA unit and Black and Tans on the grounds of the forge will take place from 3:30pm. Lecture on the life of Sean MacEoin in the Thomas Ashe Hall in Ballinalee at 8pm by county historian Martin Morris.
-Sunday June 16: Unveiling of plaque in Bunlahy by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at 1.30pm. This will be followed at 2pm with the official unveiling of a statue dedicated in memory of the Ballinalee statesman and members of the North Longford Flying Column.