Queen may be open to return of 1916 flag to Limerick

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

The tricolour seized from rebels in Limerick in the aftermath of the Easter Rising
QUEEN Elizabeth II is seemingly amenable to the return to Limerick of a tricolour seized from rebels in the aftermath of the Easter Rising in 1916.

QUEEN Elizabeth II is seemingly amenable to the return to Limerick of a tricolour seized from rebels in the aftermath of the Easter Rising in 1916.

While it would be stretching it to say the monarch is directly involved in the discussions, Brian Hodkinson, curator of the Limerick Museum, said he was hopeful the flag would be returned on a long-term loan from the Royal Collection.

The large flag - which is seven feet long by six feet wide - has been on loan at the Imperial War Museum in London, where it was spotted and brought to the attention of Sinn Fein’s Cllr Maurice Quinlivan.

And when inquiries were made with the Imperial War Museum if the item could be returned to Limerick as part of the centenary of 1916, it emerged that Queen Elizabeth herself was the real owner!

“As I understand it, the flag doesn’t actually belong to the Imperial War Museum and is part of the Royal Collection. The Royal Collection is willing to consider lending it to Limerick Museum on a long-term loan. They seem to be amenable to it,” Mr Hodkinson explained.

“I have to prepare a formal request which I will be doing in the next day or so and they will consider it at the end of the month,” he explained.

The description at the Imperial War Museum details that the flag was “captured by the 4th battalion of the Leinster Regiment at Limerick, 5 May 1916, following the Easter Rising in Dublin”.

But the exact circumstances of its capture in Limerick - where there was no real fighting in 1916 - would have to be further researched.

“I’m sure if we were to ask Tom Toomey or one of the other Limerick historians, they will be able to tell us exactly what was happening in Limerick on that day. We will be doing a 1916 exhibition which we hope this can be a part of,”Mr Hodkinson said.

Another concern for the Limerick Museum, should it acquire the piece on loan, would be finding a display case large enough for a flag with such dimensions.

Cllr Quinlivan, meanwhile, who has done the early running on the potential return of the flag said it would be “fitting to have it back in Limerick in time for the 100th anniversary of 1916”.