The State marks the Centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe

The State will today commemorate the centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe with a special ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Thomas Ashe was a very significant figure within Ireland’s Revolutionary Generation.  Heavily influenced by the Gaelic Revival movement, Ashe was a nationalist and a patriot as well as a passionate supporter of Irish culture, language, traditional music and dance and storytelling.

This State commemoration comprises a significant cultural element to reflect the life and legacy of Thomas Ashe.  He was a native Irish speaker, a talented piper and founding member of the Black Raven Pipe Band, as well as a keen sportsman who was active within the GAA and particularly involved with the Round Towers Lusk GAA Club.  The ceremony includes musical performances from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and a piper from the Black Raven Pipe Band.

Ashe is also remembered as a talented and dedicated teacher, who spent eight years at Corduff National School in Lusk.  Two pupils from that school will share their reflections on Ashe’s exceptional legacy as a teacher.

A founding member of the Irish Volunteers, Ashe led some of the most significant Volunteer activity outside of Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising.  He commanded the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade of Irish Volunteers (the Fingal Brigade), which engaged and defeated a contingent of Royal Irish Constabulary, in what became known as the Battle of Ashbourne, on Friday, 28th April 1916.  Ashe’s powerful and evocative poem Let Me Carry Your Cross for Ireland, Lord was written while he was imprisoned and will also be performed during the ceremony.

The ceremony culminates in the formal State commemoration with participation by members of the Defence forces.  Minister Humphreys will lay a wreath on behalf of the Irish Government.  Wreaths will also be laid by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, the Deputy Mayor of Fingal and the Leas Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council on behalf of the people of Dublin, Kerry and Meath, where Thomas Ashe’s legacy is particularly felt.  Wreaths will be laid on behalf of the family of Thomas Ashe and also by the Chairman of Glasnevin Trust.  The wreath-laying ceremony will be followed by a minute of silent reflection and a lament played by a Defence Forces piper.

Speaking in advance of the event, Minister Humphreys said:   

Thomas Ashe was a member of that revolutionary generation that laid the foundations of the modern Irish State. The State, together with members of the family of Thomas Ashe, will mark his life and legacy with a sensitive and fitting commemoration that reflects his great love of his country and his heritage. In this Decade of Centenaries, my consistent priority is to promote commemorations that are respectful and inclusive. I thank Glasnevin Trust for their continued partnership over the years and for their assistance in organising this event. 

Mr. John Green, Chairman of Glasnevin Trust added:

As we reflect on the short life of Thomas Ashe, it is extraordinary how much he achieved.  From the Gaelic league to the Gaelic fields; from his school to his community; from the Irish Volunteers to the IRB; he was a leader.  His tragic death sometimes overshadows his many talents and achievements. 


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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