Rare 1916 letters come to light

A SET of rare letters by 1916 Republican leader Tomás Aghas, (pictured right) many of which have never been seen before, have been discovered and are to be donated to the State.

Among the collection, which lay undiscovered in the archives of the Ashe family, is a previously unseen letter from the West Kerry native to his father which was sent just a few months before he died on hunger strike. That letter, which is thought to be one of the last Tomás Aghas sent to his father and in which he expresses his great love for his native county, is to be presented to Kerry County Library to be displayed during the 1916 centenary commemorations in two years time.

The letters, which had not been thoroughly examined until now, were sold at auction to Dublin based historian Maurice Matthews who has now decided to present the collection to the state.

The letters were discovered as the staff and pupils of Corduff National School in Lusk, County Dublin, where Ashe taught for several years ahead of the 1916 Rising, worked on a project to commemorate the Battle Of Ashbourne in which a battalion led by Ashe won a major victory against British forces.

Last week Corduff National School held an event to commemorate Ashe and Maurice and Jane O'Keeffe presented the school with copies of their recent recordings and a copy of the letter written in prison by Tomás Aghas to his father in Kinard in December 1916.