Towards the end of April I received notification that a new monument dedicated to Irish soldiers of the American Civil War is being unveiled in Ballymote, Co. Sligo next weekend. This is a positive step in what has been, up to this point, extremely disappointing engagement in Ireland with the history and heritage of her diaspora. Hopefully following this move the Government will be inspired to make a small effort towards appropriately remembering the hundreds of thousands of Irish emigrants impacted by the war on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the conflict’s end. The Taoiseach has been invited to unveil the statue this coming Saturday, May 9th, in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. More details on the event are contained within the Press Release below (where it is good to see my recent estimate of 200,000 Irish taking hold!).
MONUMENT TO THE MEMORY OF IRISH SOLDIERS WHO SERVED AND DIED DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR TO BE UNVEILED- PERRY
Fine Gael TD for Sligo/North Leitrim, John Perry, has today (Wednesday) announced that a new national monument dedicated to the honour and lasting memory of Irish emigrants and people of Irish heritage who served and died during the American Civil War, will be unveiled at Ballymote, Co. Sligo.
The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday May 9th, the 150th anniversary of the day that President Johnson officially declared a cessation of military actions, marking an end to the American Civil War. The proposed monument takes the form of a statue of a soldier on horseback upon a stone plinth. The monument will bear an inscription paying tribute to the many thousands of Irish who fought and died. The Memorial Site is located adjacent to Ireland’s National Monument to the 69th Regiment, and Brigadier General, Michael Corcoran. The official unveiling will be performed by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 14.45.
Commenting on the project, Deputy Perry said that “The 150th Anniversary of the ending of the American Civil War is a suitable occasion to mark the Irish contribution to the United States at a significant point in its history.”
“When the American Civil War started, the recent Irish famine emigrants together with earlier emigrants of Irish heritage answered the call to arms. At least 200,000 Irish soldiers served in the armies of the North and the South; the significant majority of them serving in the Union Army.”
“With the unveiling of this new monument to commemorate the Irish contribution during the American Civil War, we enhance public understanding of the prominent contribution made by people that left Ireland and served in the War on both sides and we broaden our links to the wider Irish American community.”
“We shared with the citizens of the United States in one of its most painful periods. The bonds of heritage and shared history that join our two countries together run very deeply. In unveiling and dedicating a monument to recognise the Irish participation in the American Civil War, we remember all those brave Irish soldiers and the sacrifice they made in the interests of their adopted homeland.”