On 11 November 2016 I attended the Remembrance service in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. The cemetery has become the focal point for the remembrance service every year. Until recently there were no Commonwealth War Grave Commission stones permitted in the cemetery. This has all changed a project of remembrance was commissioned between the CWGC and the Glasnevin Cemetery management committee.
The mission statement of the project was to erect CWGC stones over every Great War casualty in the ground of the cemetery,
The project also included the upgrade and refurbishment of the War Memorial. This upgrade included the erection of a Cross of Sacrifice close to the war memorial.
On 25 April 2015 on the 100th anniversary of the Landings Four V.C. commemorative stones were unveiled to commemorate the four V.C.'s won by Irish born soldiers during the Gallipoli Campaign.
Captain Gerald O'Sullivan 1 Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Sergeant James Somers 1 Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Corporal William Cosgrove 1 Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers
Private (Later Lance/Sgt) William Kenealy 1 Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.
Four other V.C. stones were unveiled in respect of Irish V.C. winners from the Western Front.
The stones have been paid for by the British government and it is intended that a total of 34 stones will be installed around the Cross of Sacrifice in honour of those men from what is now the Republic of Ireland who were awarded the V.C. during the Great War.
It is significant that Glasnevin Cemetery should be the focal point of such remembrance, for the cemetery is the place of rest for many prominent Irish men and women. Michael Collins, Eamonn DeValera, Charles Stewart Parnell and many more.
Whilst the unveling was over a year and a half ago the stones are much visited and commented on. The efforts of the CWGC and the Glasnevin management committee to encourage and enhance the remembrance of those who served during the Great War are having a great effect in educating the general public on their sacrifice.
In the words of a former Taoisach (Irish Prime Minister) and veteran of the Easter Rising in 1916
"In later years, it was common, and I was guilty in this respect, to question the motives of those who joined the new British armies at the outbreak of the Great War, but it must, in their honour and fairness to their memories, be said that they were motivated by the highest purpose, and died in their tens of thousands in Flanders and Gallipoli, believing that they were giving their lives in the cause of human liberty everywhere, including Ireland."
As the final Great War Centenary anniversaries fast approach, the example set by the CWGC and the Glasnevin Cemetery management committee perhaps should be an example to us all on how to continue the remembrance and commemoration after 2018.
An article on the 2015 unveiling may be viewed here;