On Sunday 20th May upwards of sixty people joined the Spirit Of Irish Freedom Society Westmeath in Kilskyre, Kells, Co. Meath, for a 20th Anniversary Commemoration, held in honour of IRA Volunteer Brendan McCabe, a young man from the area who had dedicated himself to the cause of Irish freedom before his untimely death in 1995.
The crowd assembled at Kilskyre Hurling Club for the short march to the local Churchyard where Brendan is buried. The parade was led by a Colour Party made up of members of the Tomas Allen Society Meath, the attendance including members of the McCabe family, many of his friends and neighbours and some former comrades.
The day’s events were Chaired by Brendan’s brother, Alan McCabe, Secretary of the Spirit of Irish Freedom Society. The graveside ceremony began with a reading of the 1916 Proclamation by Valerie McCabe. Local musician Shay Leavy then played a rendition of Mise Éire on the tin whistle.
Brendan’s brother Noel, himself a former POW, remembered Brendan’s life, explaining to the crowd how growing up in a staunch republican family he understood full well why his younger brother followed his footsteps into the ranks of the Republican Movement. But it was also very sad to see Brendan lose his ‘fight for life’ with illness at such a young age.
Following on, a poem written for the occasion by local republican and poet James Linnane Ballivor – ‘Heart of a Lion Soul of a Warrior’ – was read by Ken Connolly from Castletowngeoghegon, a member of the Westmeath Society. There then followed a wreath laying ceremony with wreaths laid on behalf of:
The McCabe family by Pat McCabe Snr; Brendan’s partner Nuala Murray, on behalf of herself, their daughter Sandie and granddaughter Jade; three wreaths were laid on behalf of the Spirit of Irish Freedom Society: North Westmeath Cumann by Bernard Flood, Moate Cumann by Gerry P Farrell, Longford Cumann by Peter McCormack.
Following the lowering of the National Flag and a minute’s silence the Foggy Dew was played on the tin whistle by Maggie Rose Connolly, aged just ten years, from Castletowngeoghegon. The music continued with Brendan’s daughter Sandie singing a song she wrote herself in memory of her deceased father, ‘Angel Dad’, which received a resounding applause from the gathering. The main oration was given by Peter Rogers, Chair of the Spirit of Irish Freedom Society Westmeath.
The ceremony concluded with Alan McCabe thanking all who had attended to support the event followed by a rendition of Amhrann na bhFiann by Shay Leavy on the whistle.
The Spirit of Irish Freedom Society take this opportunity to thank everyone who made the day’s events possible, with a special word of thanks to the McCabe family and the local community. Together we must work to ensure the Irish Republic, for which Brendan and so many others gave of their energies, becomes the lasting monument to all who served the cause of Irish freedom.