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Collectors answer World War I call-up

RElatives of those involved in World War I brought artefacts and memories to Glasnevin Cemetery as part of a new project to shed light on Ireland’s forgotten heroes.

Rhona Darcy from Rathfarnham was just one of many who answered the call to bring historical items for inclusion in the exhibition.

Ms Darcy brought the war medals of her maternal grandfather, Thomas Thompson Prestage - who went on to serve as a high-ranking civil servant in the new Irish Republic and was part of the Irish delegation that travelled to Brussels for the setting up of the EEC in 1957. Thomas served in the 17th Batallion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment.

Ms Darcy recalled how he had told her his account of travelling through Russia on a Troika (a horse-drawn sleigh) when the lady driver told him they would have to stop overnight.

She emerged in the morning with a bundle under her arm having just given birth - but carried on driving.

The Antiques Roadshow-type event brought together all sorts of objects and stories from WWI for appraisal.

Stylish

German helmets with a protective coat of boiled leather and lacquer looked stylish, 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.

Mr Cully 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 
under age.

The exhibition at Glasnevin Cemetery, which begins in July, is part of a range of events honouring the bravery of the Irish in WWI

Amongst other artefacts is a scrapbook kept by a young Dublin girl, Christine Markey, brought in by her nephew, Kevin Devlin.

It contains sketches and verses written and drawn by adults who visited the family home on Church Street from 1912-1917, with one sketch signed by Willie MacBride - possibly the famed soldier of the ballad.

Glasnevin cataloguers Luke Portess and Carolyn Kelly said they knew the appeal for artefacts would be a successful one. More Irish 
served in WWI than in the War of Independence.

hnews@herald.ie


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