Large crowd for Clonfin anniversary

The rain just about held off for the large gathering of people who attended the 91st anniversary of the Clonfin Ambush, between Ballinalee and Granard, last Sunday afternoon.

The rain just about held off for the large gathering of people who attended the 91st anniversary of the Clonfin Ambush, between Ballinalee and Granard, last Sunday afternoon.

On 2 February 1921, 21 members of the North Longford Flying Brigade led by General Sean Mac Eoin ambushed and defeated a patrol of British auxiliary forces in an important battle of the Irish War of Independence.

Members of the 54th Reserve Squadron, as well as the Organisation of National Servicemen, formed a guard of honour as the twenty one names of the volunteers were read out by Catherine Donohoe, a descendent of General Mac Eoin.

For Robert Pakenham, a current member of the 54th Reserve Squadron, it is important to honour this link with the past. “It is always important to reflect on events like these; the ambush here had a huge role to play in the fight for Irish independence. It is very important to look back and appreciate the sacrifice people have made in our name in the past,” Mr Pakenham said.

The crowd were treated to an entertaining address by guest speaker, and president of the Historical Society of Longford, Mr Jude Flynn. Mr Flynn used his speech to call on the Clonfin Commemoration Committee to record details of all safe houses used by volunteers during the War of Independence as these played a vital role in the war effort.

For more on this story, see this week’s Longford Leader.