Friday 28 July 2017

The 'All-Ireland behind barbed wire' to be replayed in rural Wales

The Frongoch internment camp in North Wales in 1916
The Frongoch internment camp in North Wales in 1916

Sarah MacDonald

A field in rural North Wales will host a commemorative Gaelic football match this June as part of the GAA's series of events to mark the 1916 Rising.

The match in Frongoch will recall 'the All-Ireland behind barbed wire' - which saw Kerry line out against Louth 100 years ago.

The teams were made up of GAA inter-county players interned at the former Welsh distillery in the aftermath of the Rising. In all, 1,800 Irishmen were interned there without trial between June and December 1916.

The match was played on a rough field in the shadow of the camp's barbed wire, which the internees referred to as 'Croke Park'.

A spokesman for the GAA told the Irish Independent that they were still working on the specifics, such as which teams would play, while two dates are under consideration.

Alwyn Jones, an Independent councillor on the Llandderfel Community Council, where Frongoch is located, lives on the land which was once known as South Camp.

He told the Irish Independent: "It would be ideal to have a permanent reminder of this part of 1916 in Frongoch, as well as a re-enactment of the game in some way.

"A GAA football match would be of interest to nearby Bala town football club, especially this year - with the Frongoch Centenary Commemoration taking place on June 11 in the village."

Today, RTÉ Radio will air a documentary on that unique 1916 All-Ireland tie between the two sides in Wales.

The granddaughter of Tom Burke, who captained the Louth side, is accompanied to Frongoch by Fr Tom Looney, a grand-nephew of Dick Fitzgerald - who captained the Kerry team.

'Documentary On One - The All-Ireland Behind Barbed Wire' will be broadcast today on RTÉ Radio 1, at 2pm.

Irish Independent

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