Charleville's contribution to the Gathering 2013, the Archbishop Mannix Memorial Weekend on September 13 - 15 next, was launched at the Charleville Park Hotel on Friday night by author and historian Patrick Mannix, who is the chairman of the organising committee.
The Killarney native is also the author of a book, 'The Belligerent Prelate-An alliance between Archbishop Mannix and Eamon de Valera,' the paperback edition of which was also launched on the night by Fr. Tom Looney, the chairman of Kerry Historical and Archaeological Society.
Archbishop Mannix was born at Deerpark on Charleville's Limerick Road in 1864, the youngest of five children. After attending local schools, the Convent of Mercy and CBS Charleville, he entered St. Colman's College, Fermoy and thence to St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. There he was ordained priest in 1890, the first ordination in the new college chapel. He rose rapidly through the clerical ranks, serving many distinguished roles within the college and was president of Maynooth when he was appointed coadjutor Archbishop of Melbourne in 1912.
His arrival on Australian shores in 1913 marked the beginning of a long battle to secure State aid for catholic education in Australia. He rose to prominence, not just through his work for the Catholics of Australia but more for his involvement in Australian national affairs, including the two conscription defeats of 1914 and 1917.
To mark the launch of the memorial weekend, the centrepiece of which will be a two-day history conference at the Charleville Park Hotel, Mr. Mannix delivered a talk entitled Church, State & the Irish Diaspora, Archbishop Mannix and the Irish Independence Movement, which was well received by those present at the launch. He traced the life of Archbishop Mannix from his birth in Charleville to his ordination to the priesthood and subsequent rise to become Archbishop of Melbourne and aspects of his life afterwards in Australia.
The speakers were introduced by Philip O'Connell the chairman of the Charleville Historical Society which, he said, had been inactive in recent times but moves were afoot to revive the Society and further details would be announced in the near future.