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Monday 23 July 2018

Pride of place for Fr. Mogue Kearns

A MAN who twice escaped death by hanging has been given pride of place in the village of Kiltealy. Father Mogue Kearns, one of the ...

A MAN who twice escaped death by hanging has been given pride of

place in the village of Kiltealy. Father Mogue Kearns, one of the heroes of the 1798 Rebellion, is now commemorated with a garden of remembrance in the parish of his birth in 1765. The career of the United Irishman was traced by Cllr. Sean Og Doyle in his speech at the opening of the memorial last week. He pointed out that Kearns went to France to study for the priesthood and he was in Paris during the French revolution. It was there, at the height of the Terror, that he first cheated the rope, after being strung from a lamppost by a mob ill-disposed towards the Catholic church. The experience did not put a dent in his own revolutionary ardour and, back in Ireland, Mogue Kearns apparently did not hesitate to become directly involved in the events of 1798. Wounded at the Battle of Vinegar Hill in June of that year, he escaped with his priestly colleague Father John Murphy into County Carlow. He was eventually captured a month later by the forces of the Crown in the Midlands and hanged alongside his comrade-in-arms Anthony Perry. However, though Perry perished in the noose, the Kiltealy man was not fully dead when taken down, so a member of the Edenderry Yeomen finished the job by beheading him with an ace. `Thus ended the lives of two noble Irishmen,' commented Cllr. Doyle. `At this remove in time, one can still feel enormously sad and emotional about such an end to the lives of men who sacrificed so much for all of us.' It was a troubled conclusion to a career now commemorated in a most peaceful manner by the small garden in the middle of Kiltealy where passers by are invited to linger a while. The centrepiece is the limestone Celtic cross first unveiled to the memory of Father Kearns in October 1948 in front of a crowd of about 600 people. Father Aidan Redmond was the curate at the time and the procession was led by the St. Laurence fife and drum band from Glynn. Over half a century later, the curacy has passed to Father Denis Kelly and the beat was set by the Ballindaggin pipe band at ceremonies to mark the transfer of the cross to a more prominent position.

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