27/07/2014 Minister Humphreys to attend events commemorating the Howth Gun Running and Bachelors Walk Massacre
27th July, 2014 Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will today attend events as part of the Decade of Centeneries. Today’s events will commemorate the landing of arms at Howth from the Asgard yacht and the masacare at Bachelors Walk.
Glasnevin Cemetery will host a simple wreath laying ceremony led by Minister Humphreys at 9am to remember the four who died on 26th July 1914, at Bachelors Walk as a result of a melee with British soldiers. All four are buried in the Cemetery.
A memorial mass will be held in the Pro Cathedral, to be attended by the President, Michael D Higgins and the Lord Mayor Christy Burke at 10am.
The official commemorative event to mark the landing of arms by Childers, Rice and others will start at 12:20pm and will be led by an address by The President at East Pier in Howth. A canon shot will signal the launch of a sail-in of the “ASGARD 3” yacht to berth at 1pm to replicate the time of the landing of the original yacht on 26th July 1914. A team of ‘Volunteers’ will come to the quayside and take delivery of the ‘consignment’ and move away.
The Community element of the commemoration will continue after 2pm with a cultural programme featuring Brian Begley, Ceoltóirí Chluain Tarbh and St, Brigid’s Pipe Band from Howth. This event is free and open to the public – visitors are encouraged to attend in period costume. Prizes will be presented to the best period dressed individual male or female, family and boat crew. The programme will conclude at 4pm.
Speaking ahead of today’s events, Minister Humphreys said: “I am pleased to be part of commemorations of these important events in our history. There is no doubt that the landing of arms in Howth was a significant milestone along the road to Easter 1916 and I am delighted to support arrangements to mark this centenary in an appropriate way.”
On 26 July 1914, Erskine Childers’ yacht, ASGARD, arrived at Howth Pier, north of Dublin. The yacht contained 900 rifles and 19,000 rounds of ammunition, purchased in Hamburg with funds raised by senior figures involved in the Irish Volunteers, most notably Alice Stopford Green and Roger Casement. The gun-running was prompted by the larger gun-running expedition carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force at Larne the previous April. The weapons were unloaded at Howth by members of the Irish Volunteers and Na Fianna Éireann; a smaller cargo of weapons was landed at Kilcoole, County Wicklow, a few days later. As the weapons were being brought back to the city, an abortive attempt to seize them was made by members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers; the latter, when returning to the Royal Barracks (now Collins Barracks) later that day, opened fire on a hostile but unarmed crowd at Bachelor’s Walk on the Dublin quays, killing three* civilians and injuring another 80; a fourth victim died later**. Most of the weapons landed were not seized, and were later used in the Easter Rising of 1916.
The Asgard volunteer group has been engaged for some time in preparing to mark this seminal event of the landing of arms at Howth, and the associated nautical and historical legacies. Arising from this work the group on their own initiative and without public funds, have built a replica of the dinghy used by the ASGARD. It will feature in the proceedings at Howth harbour on 27 July and will ultimately be placed with the restored ASGARD in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks.
*The three dead were 50-year-old Mary Duffy, 50-year-old Patrick Quinn and 18-year-old James Brennan. **A fourth Sylvester Pidgeon, the last fatal victim of Bachelors Walk died of his wounds on September 25th.