I was delighted when some months ago Dr. Joe MacDonagh, grandson of Alderman Joseph MacDonagh, TD, informed me he and his brother wished to put a headstone over the grave of their grandfather in Glasnevin cemetery. (Located at SH 77.5 St Bridget’s section). Alderman MacDonagh has been a great research interest of mine for a number of years, an almost completely forgotten figure of the 1916-23 revolutionary period, though a brother of the 1916 Proclamation signatory and executed leader of the Rising, Thomas MacDonagh.
The scale of his roles and influence in the Irish revolutionary movement of that period is quite impressive: Sinn Féin activist, TD for Tipperary North, councilor in two Dublin electoral areas (alderman in one), Minister for Labour, director of Belfast Boycott, and a political prisoner who was on hunger strike three times. Imprisoned as a anti-Treaty republican during the Civil War, he died after a period of illness in Mountjoy Jail on Christmas Day, 1922 living behind a wife and three young children. Last year saw a short book written by myself and published by the Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution group.
Dr. MacDonagh asked met to speaking at the unveiling today, and I was so honored to be asked. It was wonderful too to see in attendance at the private ceremony members of the Thomas MacDonagh Piper Band, various MacDonagh relatives and members of the Cloughjordan Heritage Group from Tipperary, the latter of whom have done so much to promote the history and memory of Thomas MacDonagh and his family.
Video of the oration below:
My thanks to my friend John Foley for these photos from today:
UPDATE, 21/01/2023: An article on the ceremony from the 21st January, 2023 edition of the Nenagh Guardian: