by ehistoryadmin on August 23, 2014

Leinster Leader, 26 August 1978

Doorley Memorial Unveiled 

’98 Hero Honoured

Sunday week was a proud occasion for the people of Lullymore when President Hillery visited the quiet rural neighbourhood of Co. Kildare to honour local man, Capt. John Doorly, one of the legendary figures of the 1798 rising. Not many people in Kildare today are familiar with the name of John Doorly but his exploits and charisma captured the hearts and the minds of his native county and parish in those far-off days and for many generations afterwards. It was to prevent this important piece of local history from fading into obscurity that a group from the area decided to erect a memorial to him.

Possibly not since the days of Doorly himself was so much excitement seen in the area as neighbours gathered at the Agricultural Institute’s centre in Lullymore to await the arrival of the President. Torrential rain marred the enjoyment somewhat but did not dampen the enthusiasm of the waiting multitude as the Presidential cavalcade undulated its way into sight through the steaming bogland. A cheer arose as the President stepped from his car to be greeted by the Presidential salute from the Band of the Curragh Command. After inspecting a guard of honour, the President, to the accompaniment of a rendering of Clare’s Dragoons, made his way to the site of the memorial.

A Proud Day

He was introduced by the Secretary of the Memorial Committee, Sean Judge, who said: “This is indeed a proud day for the people of Lullymore. The history of our country is studded with the names of gallant warriors who captured the imagination of our people and whose memories have not been tarnished by the passing of the centuries. They have inspired generations of Irishmen and Irishwomen and by their example gave us courage to continue the long and painful struggle for our freedom. But for each of these nationally known and loved people there were scores of local leaders, men and women who in their own places fanned the flames of nationhood and independence.  Men and women who in their own  townlands, parishes and counties kept alight the torch of freedom and passed it along to succeeding generations. For them there was little glamour or popular acclaim. Their life was a long unrelenting struggle for their beliefs and many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice of their life’s blood for what they believed.

“Captain John Doorly was such a man. Born and reared in this townland. He believed passionately in a free Ireland, and Ireland in control of its own destiny. Around the firesides’ of Lullymore he instilled into our forefathers a love of Ireland, of its customs, of its history and of its aspirations. When the calls to arms came in 1798 he was first into the fray. He trained and drilled the men of Lullymore and Rathangan. He led them into a number of engagements, many successful. Eventually he was captured and hanged, the rising failed and to all intents and purposes it appeared that the lives and deaths of John Doorly and his peers was in vain. But his courage and his philosophy lived on in the hearts of the people of Ireland. His courage inspired succeeding generations to continue the struggle until eventually the battle was done.

Past Generations

“In this affluent age it is easy to forget, easy to forget the great sacrifices of past generations. Easy to forget the freedom and standing that we enjoy so easily to-day was brought with their sacrifice. It is through recognition of the sacrifices of the past that we will find the strength to build for the future, hopeful when we have passed on we will have added our share to the development of our Country. We do not want the memory of Captain Doorly to fade into obscurity. We want his memory to inspire Irishmen and women of to-day and to-morrow to build a better Ireland. Captain Doorly fought for and helped us to win our freedom. We must use it. We may not have to fight with pikes or with guns but we must fight with our hands and our minds to enrich the quality of Irish life. We hope that in our parish, the erection of this memorial will help to achieve that end. If it does so our efforts like John Doorlys will not have been in vain.


“A hUachtaran we deeply appreciate you finding time in your busy schedule to be with us to-day. When it was suggested you be asked to unveil the memorial we felt that there was very little hope of you being here. That you are here in this small townland is proof that you too acknowledge the role of the unsung heroes in Irish history and that you encourage the efforts of small communities like ours to preserve our heritage and history. We are proud to have you here and we thank you for coming. It is a day we in Lullymore will long remember and cherish. Were it in our power we would be glad to confer upon you the Freedom of Lullymore, as it is all we can say is Cead Mile Failte to you a Uachtaran.”

Unveiling the memorial, President Hillery said, “Lullymore is a household name in Ireland. In this vicinity, Ireland has developed under native Government a peat briquette factory and also one of our largest peat-fired power stations. We stand on a peat-land research farm, part of An Foras Taluntais

“Tradition and other evidence grant Lullymore a long history. St. Patrick is reputed to have been here, one of our patron’s first and outstanding converts, King Laoghaire’s brehon, Eric, was Bishop here: our martyrologies and annals name other holy men in connection with Lullymore, which had from early on a school of its own. A school run by religious appears to have been in existence here at the end of the 18th century. Moin Almhaine, with its studded island of farmland gave shelter through “dark and evil days” to the dispossessed and persecuted.

Longed for Freedom

No wonder than that a longing for freedom continued to be felt in this part of Leinster.  The lack of civil rights, the maladministration of justice, lawless forces and relentless oppression goaded men to insurrection.  It was not the poor alone who suffered wrongs, but the farmers, middle classes, who found themselves hindered in living peaceful lives, handicapped educationally, and precluded from improving their situations.  Such circumstances led to the Insurrection of 1798.

“To become one of Kildare’s outstanding leaders in that Rising was the lot of Captain John Doorley.  He was son of a farmer, ‘a man of worth and fame’ in Lullymore, as the ballad describes the father.  Circumstances and tradition urged the son, when the Rising came in May. The people of Lullymore in erecting this memorial deserve our praise.  Perhaps they were inspired by the lines of Barden’s ballad about Captain Doorly.

“In Kildare I was born and reared,

my countrymen loved me.  I hope

to be recorded in future history.”


“I believe they were inspired too by a natural pride in the history of Lullymore – in all its past and its present. Let this monument be a permanent record to the memory of Captain John Doorly of Lullymore.  May it be, above all, a reminder not alone of his efforts, but of the many who endeavoured with him to gain for us our own Government, and through it, just laws, cultural rejuvenation, with the will and determination to work in unity for progress and peace.

“I commend the work of all who co-operated and set up this Memorial – especially the local Committee, the county architect, and of course the artist”.

Visitors Book

The President then visited Lullymore House and signed the visitors’ book. The attendance was entertained to tea in a marquee provided by the army. Stewarding was by the local Civil Defence Unit. The memorial consists of a crescent-shaped boulder taken from a nearby bog, to which is attached a bronze pike head, cast from an original Kildare pike of the 1798 period.  It is surrounded by a wall, into which are built a number of stones taken from the old monastic settlement at Lullymore, dating from the early Christian period



Previous post:

Next post: