Throughout 2016, the Heritage Society is actively exploring and commemorating Drumraney’s many connections to the ‘revolutionary decade’ of 1913-1923. This page will be used to report on these commemorations and to publish the results of ongoing research on the topic. Anybody who would like to find out more or to share information with us is welcome to get in touch.
The Irish Volunteers were active in the parish from an early stage, and several locals were involved in fighting in Dublin at Easter 1916. In the midlands, plans to cut off or seize crossing points on the Shannon proved abortive.
A large number of men and women from the parish were active in the latter stages of the conflict. Perhaps the best known is Richard ‘Dick’ Bertles, who was mortally wounded in Ballymore while on the run from the National Army in 1923.
The full story of this and other local episodes remains to be written, although the course of events in the Athlone region has been explored in several books and many newspaper articles. Useful sources of information for Drumraney include Michael McCormack’s detailed statement to the Bureau of Military History here and documents relating to his military pension application here. A manuscript report on the involvement of Michael’s brother Bernard in the Easter Rising can be viewed here. A file of papers seized at the arrest of Richard Bertles Snr and Richard Bertles Jnr in 1922 is held at the UK National Archives in Kew, and it contains a number of personal and official documents. Further documentation discovered at Bertles’s house is held at the National Archives in Dublin.
On 20 March 2016, members and friends of the Heritage Society and the Maryland G.A.A. Walking Club embarked on a commemorative walk across the parish. Beginning at Ardnagrath N.S., participants visited the former Bertles homestead nearby. They then moved on to a wreath-laying ceremony in the Old Graveyard, where the graves of volunteers Richard Bertles, Patrick Sloane (shot dead at Ballykinlar Camp in 1921), and Bernard McCormack (wounded 1916, died 1919) are situated. Lastly, the walkers made their way to the former McCormack residence in Ardboro, scene of several incidents involving volunteers and state forces during the period question.
On Easter Sunday, the grave of Michael McCormack in the ‘New’ Graveyard provided the focus for another short ceremony of commemoration.
Work is currently ongoing on a new Memorial Garden, which is being established on former waste ground at Killinineen Crossroads.
Thanks to relatives and all those who participated in the ceremonies, whether by reading passages from contemporary documents, reciting the roll of honour, raising the tricolour, or otherwise. Thanks also to Paddy and Denise Martin, who provided very welcome refreshments at the conclusion of the walk on 20 March.
More to follow.