Fermoy concert set to celebrate the life of General Liam Lynch
Saturday’s concert will place a particular emphasis on Liam Lynch’s involvement with the Gaelic League in Fermoy
A century after his death the life and exploits of one of Ireland’s most respected and revered patriots will be celebrated through music and song during a concert in Fermoy next Saturday night.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of General Liam Lynch, one of the key figures in the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Born at Barnagurraha near Mitchelstown, Liam Lynch is credited with playing a pivotal in helping to organise the Irish Volunteers in Cork, serving as Commandant of the Cork No2 Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence.
Lynch was vehemently opposed to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, famously saying “we have declared for an Irish Republic, and will not live under any other law.”
After initially opposing the seizure of the Four Courts in 1922, Lynch joined the garrison and was arrested by Free State forces and later released on the understanding that he would try to halt the fighting.
Instead he set about reorganising resistance, even planning the establishment of a ‘Munster Republic’, which he believed would hamper the development of the Free State.
Lynch was fatally wounded during a skirmish with Free State forces in the Knockmealdown Mountains on April 10, 1923 and laid to rest in Kilcrumper two days later.
His death shocked the nation and was widely regarded as one of the key motivations behind the decision by army Chief of Staff, Frank Aiken to declare a ceasefire on April 30, 1923.
The ‘Commemorative Concert for Liam Lynch, which will take place in the Palace Theatre next Saturday night at 7.30pm, will reflect his involvement in the Gaelic League in Fermoy that promoted the traditional music and song and the teaching of the Irish language.
In fact, it was through his involvement with the Garlic League that Liam Lynch met the love of his life, Mitchelstown girl Bridie Keyes in 1917.
However, like many other courtships at the time, theirs was to end in tragedy as the couple had decided to postpone their wedding until after the War of Independence had been won.
However, fearing a resumption of fighting following the 1921 truce, the couple again agreed to postpone their wedding and the last time they met was during Easter 1923, a few weeks before Liam Lynch was killed.
The heartbroken Bridie moved away from Fermoy following the death of her beloved fiancé and never married.
Several traditional Irish bands will take to the stage during next Saturday’s concert, including Dublin group Sult, the Cork Pipers Club, Mitchelstown Comhaltas and the Fermoy group All To One Side.
Sult was formed by the three Ní Scolaí sisters Emer, Caoilfhionn and Sorcha, each of whom are All-Ireland music champions in harp, concertina and uilleann pipes respectively.
Emer is renowned for her slow airs on the harp, winning both the Sligo, Ennis, and Drogheda Fleadhs, while Sorcha is regarded as one of the most gifted young Uilleann Pipers in Ireland.
The group has performed at events including the Electric Picnic, All Together Now, Cairde na Cruite, the International Harp Festival and in the National Concert Hall and have performer alongside a host of musical luminaries including Moya Brennan, Mick O’Brien, Louise Mulcahy, Seán Keane and Noel Hill.
The Cork Pipers Club are historian Diarmuid Grainger, author of ‘Witness to Freedom, a Day-by-Day Account of the War for Independence in Cork’ and John Mitchel, a man widely regarded as one of the worlds leading uilleann pipe makers.
Led by Karen Hayes, Mitcheltown Comhaltas recently performed a sell-out St Patrick’s Day concert alongside Claisceadal na gCarad at St George’s Arts and Heritage Centre.
Led by Gerry Ferrick, All On One Side is a collective of Fermoy musicians that has performed at many community events across the North Cork region over the years.
Tickets to Saturday’s concert, which will tell Liam Lynch’s story through ancients airs and songs in English and as Gaeilge, are available from the Fermoy Youth Centre or Tomás on 085-731-8348, priced at €15.