01 Jul 2022

1916 hero's medals return to North Leitrim

Relatives gather to commemorate J.J. Reid

1916 hero's medals return to North Leitrim

Dr John Reid and Mrs Patricia Hendricken, grandchildren of J.J. Reid.

John James (J.J.) Reid was honoured at his birthplace in Tawley, Co Leitrim on June 17, 2017, the 100th anniversary of his release from prison.

J.J. Reid was born in Tawley, Co Leitrim on July 12, 1878. His parents were Thomas Reid, a native of Co Fermanagh, and Catherine Rogers, a local Tawley girl. Thomas, a Policeman in the Royal Irish Constabulary, was posted from Tawley to Dublin and the Reid's moved to the capital.

Speakers at the Launch Ceremony, l-r, Fr Noel Regan – Church of Ireland; Siobhan McGloin - Townlands & Heritage Group; Dr J.J. Reid – Grandson of J.J. Reid; Carol Loftus, granddaughter of J.J. Reid; Cllr Paddy O'Rourke, Cllr Mary Bohan, Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council; Commandant Mark Davern; Sheila Brennan - Townlands & Heritage Group; Fr Thomas Keoghan - PP Kinlough/Glenade.

J.J. fought in the Four Courts during the 1916 Rising. The Rising was defeated and the Four Courts surrendered on April 30. He was court-martialled in early May and sentenced to death. This was commuted to 10 years penal servitude. He spent time in three English prisons and was among the last of the 1916 prisoners to be released on June 17, 1917.

A large crowd attended the ceremony including members of the Reid and Rogers family. Two of his grandchildren, Patricia Hendricken and Dr John Reid unveiled a memorial in his honour and his 1916 medals were on display on the day.
Siobhan McGloin was MC and Rev Fr Thomas Keogan and Rev Noel Regan gave a blessing.

The crowd was addressed by: Sheila Brennan from the organising committee; Paddy O'Rourke, Chairman of Leitrim County 1916 Commemoration Committee; Mary Bohan, Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council; John Reid, grandson and Carol Loftus, great granddaughter.

The 1916 Proclamation was read by Commandant Mark Davern. A poem was written and read by Winifred Mc Nulty, Hannah Brennan sang ‘Grace’ to mark the connection between JJ Reid who was court-martialled and sentenced to death the same day as Joseph Mary Plunkett, who married Grace Gifford a few hours before he was executed.

All grandchildren of J.J. Reid, l-r, Patricia Hendricken, Deirdre Reid Power, Mary Reid O'Dwyer, Sean Power, Patrick (Pat) Power, James Tuck, Anthony Moore, Geraldine Reid O'Donnell, Cynthia Dolan, John Reid, Ann Greene, Esther Dalton.

Aideen Connolly, Townlands & People Heritage Group, presented a slide show on the research and journey undertaken by the Reid family and the local community to date.

Dr John O'Callaghan brought the ceremony to a close with a historical talk on "Policemen, Protestants, Prisoners and Patriots".
Traditional music was played by local musicians Joe, John and Seamus McGowan, Margaret Rattigan and local schoolchildren, Ava Pastor, Erica Carr and Almha Walsh. Caitlin and Eoin McGowan from the local 12th Sligo Ballintrillick Scouts group were flag bearers.

The Townlands and People Heritage Group organising committee of Aideen Connolly, Mercedes Feely, Siobhan McGloin, Sean Rooney, Jim Brennan, Dr John O'Callaghan and Sheila Brennan were presented with a 1916 memorial stamp collection by John Reid on behalf of the family. Refreshments were served in Kinlough Community Centre.

How it all came about
In 2015 J.J. Reid's family knew that J.J. was born in the Leitrim area but not where. Having e-mailed the Leitrim 2016 Commemoration Co-ordinator Sinead McDermott, who in turn contacted local historian and researcher John Bredin, the search was on to uncover details of the connection.

During his research John identified Kinlough as a possible location and because of previous research carried out, initially by Siobhan McGloin during The Leitrim Roots Festival in 2013 and subsequently by Aideen Connolly and Sheila Brennan of the Townlands and People Heritage Group during The Gathering in 2013, they were able to establish the birthplace of J.J. Reid as house No 3 in Tawley.

Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren of J.J. Reid, l-r, Sandra Eastman - great-granddaughter; Lorraine Moore - great-granddaughter; Margaret Moore - great-granddaughter; Carol Loftus - great-granddaughter; Deirdre Reid Power - granddaughter; Yvonne Reid (wife of John Reid's grandson); Geraldine Reid O'Donnell - granddaughter; Laura Power - great granddaughter; Mary Reid O'Dwyer - granddaughter; Claire Denvir - great granddaughter.

The house ruins were located in a Coillte forest with trees growing amongst them. Brian McGarraghy, Coillte, gave the group tremendous help with the project.

Through funding from Leitrim County Council 2016 Centenary Fund, the site has been marked and preserved as a historical landmark for future generations.

Sinead McDermott, Leitrim 2016 Co-ordinator said ‘on behalf the Leitrim 2016 Committee and Chairperson Paddy O’Rourke, we would like to thank both John Bredin and Siobhan McGloin for their assistance and efforts with the research, it was very much in the spirit of the 2016 Commemoration.’

A report was commissioned; land and archaeological surveys were carried out. The trees were carefully hand harvested to protect the ruins and the area fenced off by Coillte contractor Thomas Cull.

J.J. Reid's 1916 medals.

A native flower garden was planted with the help of local volunteers, FAS workers, neighbours and friends.

Aideen Connolly visited local schools with a short slide presentation on the project. Children in Ballintrillick, Castlegal, Cliffoney and Kinlough national schools planted green white and gold flowers in pots displayed at the site. It was a real community effort that commemorates and remembers a Leitrim 1916 volunteer.

The site is situated on the L2075, approximately 4 miles out the creamery road from Kinlough village.

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