THE thousands of Irish citizens who gave their lives in the name of French freedom were honoured at a special ceremony at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin, today ahead of Sunday’s Bastille Day celebrations.
The French ambassador to Ireland, Stéphane Crouzat, was among a number of dignitaries, including Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who paid tribute to the Irish men and women who fought for France during both world wars and aided the French in the Franco-Prussian War.
The so-called “forgotten war”, which was eclipsed in the history books by the global conflicts the following century, saw 250 Irishmen join the Irish Ambulance Corps.
James Fitzgerald Lombard received France’s highest honour, the Légion d’Honneur, for founding the corps. A plaque was unveiled at his graveside by his descendant, former Irish Independent advertising executive Gerry Murphy.