10th Annual George Brown Commemoration
The tenth annual George Brown Commemoration was held Friday to Sunday, 30 June – 2 July, in Inistioge, remembering the ultimate sacrifice paid by one of its native sons in the Spanish Civil War eighty years ago.
The commemoration began with the laying of a wreath at the George Brown Memorial in St Colmcille’s Graveyard by Willy Flood of Graiguenamanagh, Brass Band member and a regular attender at the event down the years.
In line with the usual format, problems faced by our country in the present were addressed by speakers
Esther Lynch of ETUC and Brendan Ogle of UNITE, at sessions in St Mary’s Church chaired by Jack O’Connor (SIPTU) and Davy Kettyles (UNITE). Aspects of Irish involvement in the Spanish Civil War were covered by Harry Owens and, in particular, by Waterford trade unionist Tom Hogan who dealt with the experiences of those from that county, both in Spain and on their return. Amongst the attendance was local councillor Michael Doyle fulfilling one of his early engagements following his election as Mayor of Kilkenny County Council.
Novel ideas this year were the telling of the involvement of Irishmen in foreign conflicts in music and song – an entertaining event performed by musicians: Steffi Gould, Emily Quirk, Jim Kelly, Paul Martin, Davy Kettyles, John Tierney and Terry Bannon – and a guided tour of Woodstock by local historian and agricultural advisor Michael Tennyson, dealing with aspects of the estate’s history, flora and fauna.
The usual meeting at the Olive Grove in Woodstock’s walled garden was particularly poignant on this occasion as it commemorated the life of the late Seán Walsh of Slieverue and Portlaw, and his vital role in the promotion of the George Brown Commemoration. Fiona Walsh, Seán’s daughter, spoke movingly of him both as a private and a public figure. And later, she and her brother Brian and members of the next generation of Walshs planted a Japanese Cedar in his honour in the grounds. Tributes were also paid by Pádraig Mannion, a political colleague of Seán, and Harry Owens, who knew Seán through the George Brown commemorations.
As usual the village was en fete for the occasion. The atmosphere further enhanced with the recital in the Millennium Gardens by the Graiguenamanagh Brass Band, along with nigh time music in the village pubs.
The Committee would like to acknowledge the support the event receives from Kilkenny County Council, SIPTU, UNITE and CWU and to thank all who attended.