Tuesday, 6 November 2012

éirígí to commemorate Wolfe Tone in Newry

éirígí have announced plans to commemorate the anniversary of one of Ireland’s most iconic revolutionaries, Theobald Wolfe Tone, in an event to be held in Newry.

The commemoration will take place in Newry city centre on Saturday 17th November at the Cochran and Lowans plaque situated at John Mitchel Place, Hill Street. The Volunteers Patricia Black & Frank Ryan Memorial Flute Band from Glasgow will also be in attendance.

Speaking ahead of the event éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “Wolfe Tone is regarded by many as the founding father of Irish Republicanism. In 1791 he founded the revolutionary society of the United Irishmen along with Samuel Neilson, Thomas Russell and Henry Joy McCracken, taking their inspiration from the French Revolution. Wolfe Tone was captured with a French fleet in Lough Swilly County Donegal and taken to Dublin. He was tried and condemned to death in November; he died on the 19th November 1798.

Theobald Wolfe Tone

“The reason we have chosen Newry as the location to hold this commemoration is that in 1792, Wolfe Tone held a meeting in the Crown Inn (now Best estate agents) in Hill Street directly beside the Town Hall. At this meeting a local branch of the United Irishmen was formed. The first chairman of the United Irish Society in Newry was James Lang.

“At the lower end of Hill Street a plaque is situated in John Mitchel Place which commemorates Cochran and Lowans, who were executed in Newry for their part in the 1798 rising. Cochran and Lowans, both from Newry, were publicly executed on the high ground at the rear of the Bank of Ireland, Trevor Hill, a site known as Gallows Hill where Heather Park is situated today.”

Stephen continued, “Cochran on his return from the Battle of Ballynahinch, gave money to a woman on the outskirts of Newry to conceal him However she induced her husband to go into Newry and report his whereabouts for a much higher reward. The only information available on Lowans is that after the Battle of Ballynahinch he was apprehended at Bellman’s Loanin (now Windsor Avenue) off the Downshire Road. Both men were interned in the Linen Hall Barracks before their execution. They were then hung, drawn and quartered.

“Their heads were then spiked on a building in Margaret Square for forty-one days. Cochran’s father was not given permission to bury his son’s head along with his body until he agreed to carry it uncovered in his hands shouting “Traitor, traitor, the head of a traitor” all the way to the graveyard.

“Both Cochran and Lowans are buried in St Patrick’s graveyard, Church Street, Newry. The name of Cochran has been kept alive in Newry by a street named Cochran Row in a small housing estate on the Armagh Road. Part of the tunnel from the Bank of Ireland to Gallows Hill can still be seen in Heather Park.”

Tone was also very much aware of the class struggle being intertwined with the freedom struggle and he is quoted as saying, “Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of no property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community – the men of no property.”

Join with éirígí in commemorating those revolutionaries who gave their lives and let us continue to finish the task and complete their objectives, which remain unfilled.

Assemble at the Cochran & Lowans Plaque, John Mitchel Place, Newry, on Saturday 17th November at 4.30pm, with main speaker Pádraic Mac Coitir. Refreshments and entertainment will be available in a nearby establishment afterwards.

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