The community of Listowel in County Kerry, Republic of Ireland ought to be congratulated. From such a small town, so many great writers have come forth (John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, etc), sporting greats (Owen “The Bomber” Liston, Tadhg Keenly, Gerry Kiernan) and iconic festivals like the Listowel Harvest Festival and Writers Week.
And this weekend was no exception to greatness! With the Rally of the Lakes in neighbouring Kilarney, Listowel played host to the now annual Military Tattoo festival.
The plucky festival showcases not just the usual trade displays for collectors but also has an academic side with lectures this year from Tom Dillon on ‘A Kerry Officer in the First World War’, Dr Mary McAuliffe on ‘Cumann na mBan in North Kerry’ and a UN photo display from the Lebanon.
There were also a very realistic series of reenactments (photographs attached) with great and dedicated reenactors and realistic weapons systems.
While it is always a good thing for people to realise just how loud a gunshot is and for children to see the proof that war is not to be glorified, more importantly there was a focus on remembrance and commemoration of the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the service of peace. Ireland has been regarded as a member of the community of nations not through the actions of our diaspora, but through the sacrifice of our men and women, some of whom paid the ultimate price. It is a very positive step that this little town remembers this permanently with a monument.
One hopes fervently that in the fullness of time the First World War sacrifice of Royal Munster Fusiliers (the home regiment in the area) will be marked with a similar solemnity and gravitas.