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Canons honour men killed in Crimean war



THE people of Tralee walk past them on a daily basis but, as is often the case with such familiar landmarks, many may not be aware of the true significance the iconic twin cannons that stand on either side of the Tralee's Courthouse steps.

Given the current crisis that is unfolding in Crimea it's perhaps timely to note that one of the cannons was erected in memory of the 55 Kerrymen who died while serving in the British armed forces during the Crimean War of 1854 to 1856.

The dead included soldiers ranking from privates to officers and one can see many familiar local family names emblazed on the side of the ornate stone plinth that supports the cannon.

The two cannons, which were used by the British in various Asian campaigns, were erected outside the courthouse in the late 1800s to honour the Kerrymen who fell in Crimea and also during the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1857 and the Chinese War of 1858 to 1860.

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All told about 1,000 men from Kerry fought with the British Imperial forces in those three campaigns.

It's also worth noting that the decommissioned cannon were still explosive until just a few years ago. In late 2012 five sticks of gelignite, detonators and a fuse were found stuffed into one of the them. The explosives, which were viable, had lain undiscovered in the cannon for over 20 years following a failed attempt by republicans to destroy the memorial.