Tuesday 21 October 2014

Glasnevin Cemetery to celebrate fallen heroes

Published 17/05/2014 | 02:30

Jonathan Cully holds up his two German wartime helmets as Glasnevin Cemetery invited the public to attend its second valuation day where some of Ireland's leading auctioneers and historians appraised World War I artefacts. Picture: Damien Eagers

WITH a protective coating of boiled leather and lacquer, these German helmets from World War I were big on glamour but fell short on function in the trenches.

"They looked good, but the spikes got in the way," said Jonathan Cully, from Lucan, Co Dublin, who picked his up at a flea market in Belgium.

The military history enthusiast also has strong World War I family links of his own.

His grandfather, Patrick Carroll, fought with the Enniskillen Fusiliers while Patrick's brother John perished at the age of 18 on the French killing fields, having signed up underage.

The German helmets were just some of the intriguing Great War artefacts brought along by the public to Glasnevin Cemetery for appraisal, in response to an appeal for items in the run-up to an exhibition that will shed light on Ireland's 200,000 'forgotten heroes'.

Almost one in four never came home. The exhibition at Glasnevin Cemetery beginning in July is part of a range of events honouring the bravery of the Irish a century after WWI began.

Rhona Darcy from Rathfarnham brought the war medals of her maternal grandfather, Thomas Thompson Prestage, who was a high-ranking civil servant in the new Irish Republic. Thompson Prestage served in the 17th Battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment.

Amongst other artefacts was an intriguing album kept by a young Dublin girl, Christine Markey, brought in by her nephew, Kevin Devlin from Navan Road, Dublin.

It contains limericks, sketches and verses written and drawn by adults who visited the family home on Church Street, with one sketch signed by Willie MacBride, whom Kevin believes could be the famed Irish soldier of the ballad.

Irish Independent

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