Plaque to remember Limerick’s gun-runners

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

Molly Childers and Mary Spring Rice on the Asgard in 1914
The crucial roles played by Limerick people in the importation of arms for the newly formed Irish Volunteers in the summer of 1914 will be marked with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Mount Trenchard Churchyard in Loughill this Sunday.

The crucial roles played by Limerick people in the importation of arms for the newly formed Irish Volunteers in the summer of 1914 will be marked with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Mount Trenchard Churchyard in Loughill this Sunday.

This churchyard is the last resting place of Mary Spring Rice, a prominent member of the crew of the Asgard which landed 900 rifles and ammunition at Howth, helped by her fellow crew members Erskine and Molly Childers.

Conor O’Brien of Foynes Island who later made the first circumnavigation of the globe in a vessel, the Saoirse, flying the flag of the newly independent Irish Free State, is also buried at Loughill.

O’Brien was the owner and skipper of the Kelpie in 1914 and, along with his sister Kitty and Foynes sailors George Cahill and Tom Fitzsimons, conveyed a second consignment of arms from Germany to St Tudwall’s Island, off the Welsh coast.

The 600 rifles and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were transferred there to the Chotah, owned and skippered by Limerick-born Sir Thomas Myles, then president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and were landed at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow on August 1 1914.

A commemorative booklet is being published by the Mount Trenchard Memorial Committee.

The memorial plaque has been sculpted by Cliodhna Cussen, a native of West Limerick whose work is well known locally and around the country.

Members of the public are welcome at the Mount Trenchard churchyard, which lies three miles west of Foynes, on the N69 Road for the unveiling of the plaque at 2 pm on Sunday. A shuttle bus will run on the day between the churches at Foynes and Loughill to the site and visitors are asked to use this facility if possible.

An appeal to local businesses and the public is being accompanied by the sale of commemorative scrolls to raise funds for the Memorial Fund.