Kilcoole's gun-running legacy

Wicklow People

Glenroe or Gunrunning, What is Kilcoole's real historical legacy?

Probably best known as the location for the RTE series 'Glenroe' few realised that the village of Kilcoole has a claim to historical significance. As Ireland heads toward the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising Kilcoole's own contribution to it has become all but a footnote in the history books.

In 1914, Erskine and Molly Childers transported guns on their yacht, the Asgard, from Germany to Ireland.

These had been bought to arm the Irish Volunteers in response to the Larne gunrunning that armed the Ulster Volunteers. However, of the 1,500 Mauser rifles, while 900 were landed at Howth the remaining 600 were to be landed at another suitable location.

On the morning of the 2nd of August 1914 the second part of this shipment was landed on Kilcoole beach, transported there on the yacht, the 'Chotah'.

So what did happen at Kilcoole? Who were the people involved, how did the guns come ashore, how were they transported and where did they end up?

Approaching its own centenary in August 1914 a non-political community initiative is about to put this event back on the historical map.

By focusing on archive documents, gathering local oral histories and placing these in context of the history of the time the group aims to illuminate the events around the gun-running. But that's not all.

A weekend with a re-enactment of the gun-running event; bringing it to life, and living history events will bring the village back-in-time and recreate the experience of life during these events. In what promises to be a great weekend it will include craft & trades demonstrations, stalls, sports, visual displays, vehicles, lectures and discussions, and more, and all placed in this 1910s.

If you have unique information on the history, people and stories connected with the gunrunning or want to keep up-to-date with the progress of the historical account, the planning and development of the weekend next summer and to get involved please contact Gregori (PRO) on 086 1597734 or Padraig (Historical) on 086 2408694.