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DERRY BUT WHY NOT LIMERICK?: A Commemoration Call |


In the midst of the annual celebrations marking the 224th anniversary of the Relief of Derry, there is a growing call for a renewed focus on another significant event in Irish history—the Siege and Treaty of Limerick. As the streets of Derry were adorned with the customary flags and arches, and the Cathedral bells rang in remembrance, the call for a more comprehensive recognition of Limerick’s role in history has gained momentum.

The commemorations in Derry unfolded with the familiar rituals, starting with the unfurling of the Union flag at the ancient Cathedral, followed by various events at Walker’s Memorial Hall and the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall. The city, bedecked with beautiful arches spanning its streets, resonated with the echo of historical significance.

However, a subtle undercurrent of reservation and apology permeated the festivities. Some voices expressed concerns about the appropriateness of commemorating events that are perceived by a few as divisive. Yet, these reservations were quickly dismissed as the majority embraced the commemorations as a recognition of civil and religious rights.

Rev. Mr King, delivering a spirited address at the Cathedral, emphasized the importance of commemorations as affirmations of principles. “It is not bare relief of a number of individuals from danger. Rather it is our solemn affirmation and ratification of the principles on which they acted,” he stated during his sermon on the Relief of Derry.

While a few dissenting voices questioned the need to revisit historical events, arguing that the past should be left undisturbed, the prevailing sentiment among the Protestant community in Derry was one of gratitude and pride. Many felt that it would be ungrateful not to publicly celebrate the heroism of the ‘prentice boys who defended the city against the Jacobite enemy.

The commemorations in Derry, despite occasional controversy, highlighted the enduring importance of historical events in shaping the collective identity of a community. The acknowledgment of past sacrifices and bravery resonated with those who view these commemorations as an essential part of their cultural heritage.

Amidst the celebrations, a renewed call for a more inclusive remembrance emerged—an appeal for an annual national or, at the very least, local commemoration of the Siege and Treaty of Limerick. This call, first echoed in the LEADER on the 26th of October, emphasized the need to recognize Limerick’s historical significance alongside the commemorations of Derry, the Boyne, and other pivotal events in Irish history.

The proposed commemoration of the Siege and Treaty of Limerick is not without its critics. Some argue that the focus should remain on the events in Derry and the Boyne, while others express concerns about potential bitterness and animosity associated with Limerick’s history. However, proponents of the idea stress the importance of acknowledging historical events in their entirety, without overlooking or downplaying any aspect.

As the month of October, the anniversary of the Treaty of Limerick, unfolds, the call for a more comprehensive commemoration gains relevance. The historical numbness and atrophy that marked past centuries seem to be dissipating, making room for a more nuanced reflection on Ireland’s complex past.

In conclusion, the commemorations in Derry serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of acknowledging and understanding historical events. The call for a broader recognition of the Siege and Treaty of Limerick reflects a growing awareness of the need to embrace the entirety of Ireland’s past, recognizing the contributions and sacrifices made by various communities. As discussions about the scope and nature of commemorations continue, Ireland finds itself at a crossroads—balancing the complexities of history with the imperative of fostering a shared understanding of its diverse heritage.

LIMERICK: A Historical Reflection on Commemorations

As annual commemorations unfold, a deeper examination of historical events reveals the nuanced perspectives surrounding the Treaty of Limerick and its place in the annals of Irish history. While the Protestant Ascendancy eagerly celebrated the events of November 4th, 1691, as an affirmation of their survival and triumph, the subsequent reputation of the treaty became marred by accusations of treachery and perfidy.

According to historical accounts, on the morning of November 4th, 1691, the Protestant citizens of Limerick conveyed their gratitude to King William’s chaplain, who detailed the event in his history. The citizens, represented by the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Recorder Thomas Coote, expressed their awareness of the threats posed by an implacable enemy. They acknowledged the danger to the Protestant religion and English interests in Ireland, portraying the French King’s government as tyrannical and slavish.

The citizens’ gratitude towards King William’s efforts to preserve Protestantism and European public liberty resonated through their address. They pledged to perpetuate the memory of the glorious actions performed during the campaign, solidifying the Protestant Ascendancy’s eagerness to celebrate their triumph.

However, as time unfolded, the Treaty of Limerick took on a different hue in historical memory. It became a monument to what some perceived as Protestant and English treachery and perfidy. The exuberant celebrations described by the chaplain soon gave way to a tarnished reputation, and the citizens who once expressed their gratitude might have reconsidered the wisdom of their exuberance.

In contrast, the Catholic perspective remains steadfast in its interpretation of the treaty. For Catholics, there is nothing to forget and nothing to regret. The Treaty of Limerick, followed by the departure of the Lord Justices to Dublin, marked a crucial moment in Irish history. The subsequent sermon by Dr Popping, Protestant Bishop of Meath, against keeping faith with the “conquered people” further highlighted the complexities surrounding the treaty.

The Treaty of Limerick and its alleged violation play an essential role in shaping Ireland’s history and understanding the dynamics of the country today. It stands as a memorial to Catholic Irish honour and fidelity, contrasting with the perceived Protestant English perfidy and disgrace. The significance of Limerick, as one stone standing upon another, becomes a testament to the enduring values that shape the national identity.

In the words of historian H. Mangan, as quoted in his essay on “The Sieges of Derry and Limerick,” Derry celebrates the “spirit of the men of 1689.” Meanwhile, Limerick, now more than a mere suburb, is represented by a “dull grey stone” that symbolizes the spirit of the Penal Laws. This stone, rolled against the sepulchre of the Irish nation, now awaits a reversal for the glorious resurrection of an immortal race that even death could not conquer.

In conclusion, as commemorations continue, the historical reflection on events like the Treaty of Limerick offers an opportunity for a more nuanced understanding of Ireland’s complex past. The contrasting perspectives, from the Protestant Ascendancy’s triumph to the Catholic interpretation of honour and fidelity, underscore the intricacies that have shaped Ireland’s historical narrative.

LIMERICK: A Call for National Recognition

As Ireland continues to reflect on its historical landmarks, the significance of Limerick and its Treaty emerges as a poignant chapter in the nation’s narrative. While Derry and the Boyne are acknowledged as the historical background for the Orange Protestant, Limerick holds a distinct place in the hearts of the Irish Papist, providing a true perspective on the country’s history for nearly two centuries.

The Treaty of Limerick symbolizes more than a surrender; it represents the Triumph of a Failure, echoing the struggles and aspirations of a nation that served faithfully and well. The analogy drawn between Ireland’s history and the crucible of service to a higher cause adds depth to the understanding of the country’s past.

Limerick, according to historical accounts, stood as the national rallying ground, holding the destiny of the nation within its walls. The Epitome of the Catholic people of Ireland found refuge in the city, encompassing territories in Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Mayo, and Sligo. As a result, the treaty negotiated by Limerick had far-reaching implications for the nation at large.

An appeal is made, drawing inspiration from the sentiments expressed by Balldearg O’Donnell, who emphasized the significant contribution of Ulster troops in the defence of Limerick. The rallying point for the Northern Catholic, the city played a crucial role in shaping the events during the Siege.

The call for national recognition of the Sieges and Treaty of Limerick finds expression in a proposal for an annual celebration. The suggestion is rooted in the belief that Limerick, having long been deferred in its rightful place of prominence in the national life, deserves acknowledgment and commemoration.

The members of the County Council, known for their sterling nationality, are urged to take practical steps beyond the symbolic motto on the Council’s Seal: “Remember Limerick and the treachery of the Sassanach.” The call is for more tangible action to ensure that Limerick remains a great national landmark in the collective consciousness of the Irish people.

This proposal for an annual celebration is expected to resonate with the representatives of Limerick County, who are invited to consider the importance of commemorating Sarsfield’s gallant stand for Liberty and the subsequent persecution of the Irish people—a price paid for the freedom that is now within grasp.

As the nation stands at the threshold of an unusual opportunity this year, the call is for a fitting start in this matter. It is an invitation for the City and County of Limerick to unite in resolution, declaring that, even if the rest of Ireland were to forget, this city will perpetuate to posterity the legacy of courage, sacrifice, and the enduring pursuit of freedom that defines the essence of Limerick.

LIMERICK: A New Dawn for Commemoration

As the second week of October approaches, Limerick is poised to host a significant political meeting that is expected to surpass any previous gathering in both importance and attendance. Against this backdrop, there emerges a timely opportunity to inaugurate an annual procession and celebration, drawing inspiration from the historical significance of Limerick and its role in shaping the nation’s narrative.

The suggestion for an annual celebration, rooted in the commemoration of the Sieges and Treaty of Limerick, is put forth in anticipation of this momentous political meeting. The call is directed towards the local branch of the U.I.L. (United Irish League) and the organizers of the upcoming demonstration, urging them not to overlook the proposal. The hope is that the occasion will be seized to lay the foundation for a tradition that aligns with the city’s rich history.

The suggestion gains resonance against the backdrop of the political meeting, where Nationalist members are expected to converge, making it an opportune time to give due recognition to the historical significance of Limerick. The call to remember men and times less fortunate but more glorious than the present serves as a reminder of the sacrifices and struggles that have defined the nation’s journey.

Looking forward, the proposal envisions a future where the memory of the nation’s dead, alongside the living, will be honoured and commemorated. It echoes the sentiment that, with the dawn of a new life on the country, it becomes imperative to celebrate and remember the legacy of those who contributed to the nation’s regeneration.

As Limerick stands on the cusp of hosting a gathering of great political importance, the hope is that this occasion will not only be a platform for political discourse but also an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with the city’s historical roots. The proposal for an annual celebration serves as a call to action, inviting the community to come together and ensure that the nation’s history, both in triumph and tribulation, remains an integral part of its ongoing narrative.

In conclusion, as Limerick prepares to host this significant political meeting, there is a sense of anticipation and hope for a new tradition to take root—a tradition that honours the past, celebrates the present, and lays the groundwork for a shared future. It is an invitation to remember, reflect, and commemorate the enduring spirit of Limerick and its role in the nation’s journey towards regeneration.

Dublin Leader – Saturday 11 October 1913

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