This year’s ‘Famine 1848’ Walk takes place in Ballingarry parish on Saturday, 28 July at 3pm and will be led by Fr Derry Quirke, Parish Priest of Ballingarry. The annual Walk commemorates the Famine (during which one million people died) and the 1848 Rising which took place in Ballingarry in the middle of the Famine.
The Walk commences from the National Flag Monument in the village of The Commons and proceeds on the public roadway at an easy pace over ascending ground to the national heritage site, the Famine Warhouse which is 1 ½ miles distant.
The Famine Rising of 1848 was led by William Smith O’Brien, M.P, for County Limerick. He was the leader of the Young Irelanders, a brilliant interdenominational group who sought Irish self-government.
One of their number, Thomas Francis Meagher, gave Ireland its national flag in 1848, an event which is commemorated at the monument in The Commons where the Walk begins. The inscription on the monument, where the flag is flown daily, quotes Meagher’s words: ‘The White in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the Orange and the Green, and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood’
The landlord O’Brien was an unlikely rebel. Born in Dromoland Castle, County Clare, into the O’Brien’s of Thomond. The family had turned Protestant at the Reformation to save their extensive lands and been granted titles by the Crown. O’Brien however had an ancestry which went back to Brian Boru, who was High King of Ireland, one thousand years ago.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.