KAHS and locals to salute Ashe

Tadhg Evans

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Lios Póil man Tomás Ághas, leader of the Fingal Volunteers during the Easter rising, and March is set to be one of the busiest months in terms of commemorations for the west Kerry man.

Of course, the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society (KAHS) will be to the fore of initiatives to remember Ághas during this anniversary year.

The group will have an outing to Dublin this week (March 7), and its members are excited ahead of a day that will celebrate Ághas' memory.

Tony Bergin is editor of KAHS' annual journal, and as he resides in Lios Póil himself, he is particularly excited ahead of this coming Tuesday.

"On the day, we'll tour the museum at Mountjoy Prison from 2.30pm, as that's where he was sent in 1917 to serve a year of hard labour," Tony said.

"We'll follow that with a memorial mass for Ághas in the Mater Hospital Chapel." It was at the Mater that Ághas died 100 years ago from the effects of force-feeding having been on hunger-strike.

"The day's schedule will close with a visit to the Teacher's Club in Parnell Square, where Lusk Historical Society Cathaoirleach Joe O'Toole will lead the Thomas Ashe Centenary Memorial lecture," Tony added.

At local level in Lios Póil, Coiste Cuimhneacháin Thomáis Ághas is also in the midst of a busy year of commemorations.

Originally set up in 1984, it has organised many events over the past 33 years to keep Ághas' legacy alive in local minds.

The current committee includes a number of founding members: Risteard MacEoin (Chairman); Micheál Ó Moráin; Marie Uí Ghrifín; and Maireád Ashe-Moriarty, while also including Dr Conor Brosnan, Tony, and Robert Brosnan.

The local committee has already marked this historic year with a commemorative calendar of Ághas, the planting of an Ash Tree at his home townland, and more.

Upcoming events for 2017 will include the re-publication of Micheál Ó Moráin's book on Ághas on March 18; a series of events entitled 'Remembering Tomás Ághas' during Féile Lios Póil over the August bank holiday weekend; and the unveiling of a new bust of the patriot in Kinard on September 23.

The local National School in Lios Póil - Scoil Naomh Eoin Baiste - are participating in the KAHS's Schools outreach programme for 2017 and will focus on the life of Thomas Ashe and life in Lispole in the early part of the 20th century.

Coiste member Marie Uí Ghrifín said 'Lios Póil has always been proud of Tomas Ághas, and it is important that his story will continue on to the next generation.

"The highlight of this year's celebrations will be the unveiling of a life-like bust in Cinn Áird in September."