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MOVING TRIBUTES TO TERESA BRAYTON

Leinster Leader October 24, 1959

Moving Tributes to Teresa Brayton

A simple-hearted, noble woman who loved her country dearly and remained faithful to the end, was how the President, Mr. De Valera, described the Co. Kildare poetess, Teresa Brayton, when he unveiled a memorial Celtic Cross over her grave in Cloncurry on Sunday. Close on a thousand gathered in the hillside cemetery, a few yards inside the Co. Meath border, to watch the simple but moving ceremony. Most moved of all were relatives of the famed poetess, including nieces and nephews who heard her praises expressed in sincere words. Proud onlookers too, were many local people whose memory of Teresa Brayton is still fresh in their minds. And all looked with admiration on the man who conceived the idea of a ceremonial Mr. P. Quillan, Vice-Chairman of Enfield Muintir na Tire which set up a sub-committee headed by him to carry out the project.
It was a day of great pomp and ceremonial for the placid town land of Cloncurry. His Excellency the President was met on arrival by an escort of honour of members of Enfield Muintir na Tire. They accompanied him to the cemetery gate where he inspected an F.C.A Guard of Honour. The Presidential Salute was played by the Army No.1 Band. Members of the Memorial Committee were introduced to the President and he chatted with them for a few moments. An honour guard from Navan Order of Malta Unit saluted him as he walked to the cemetery and having been officially welcomed by Mr. M. A. Regan solicitor Chairman of the Meath Muintir na Tire, His Excellency unveiled the memorial and placed on the grave a wreath from Enfield Muintir na Tire.

Prayers said.

The President having  spoken and been thanked for coming, a decade of the Rosary was recited by Very Rev. Fr O’Meara, P.P., Kilcock, followed by the National Anthem, and as  the crowed dispersed the strains of the Old Bog Road, Teresa Brayton’s famous poem, inspired by a nearby boreen came over the loudspeakers striking a deeply sentimental note.
The song was sung by Mr. Des Brennan, Rochford Bridge, with piano accompaniment by Mrs. R. McDyer, Enfield. It was recorded on tape and broadcast by Mr. Noel Mongey, Enfield.
The old bog road itself and the poetess’s birthplace at Kilbrook were decorated with flags and bunting. Boxes of flowers were laid at intervals on the roadside.
The F.C.A honour guard was drawn from North and South Kildare and North Dublin, under Capt. C. Stapleton, Navan, Col. R. J. Callanan O.C. Eastern Command received the President when he arrived.
The attendance included Very. Rev. P. Dillon. P.P., Enfield; Rev Fr. Donovan. C.C. Kilcock; Supt. T. Lavan, Trim: Mr. Vincent Griffin Co.C.
Relatives of the late poetess include Mrs. M. Lynch, Mullingar and Miss B. Flanagan, Kilcock, nieces; Messrs. Hugh and Leo Boylan, Kilbrook; Messrs. James Francis and Joseph Flanagan, Kilcock, nephews.
Miss Margaret Kearney was Secretary of the Memorial Committee and other members were Messrs. McQuillan, Thos. Walshe, Michl. Kearney, Robert Tuite and Liam Corrigan.

Prominent Figure

The President said: “Forty years ago Teresa Brayton was a prominent figure in the Irish life of New York. Her books of verse, which echoed the yearnings in their hearts, were in the hands of many of the Irish exiles. Her songs were favourites at every Irish gathering. They enkindled a burning love for Ireland and rallied their hearers to the cause of Irish Independence.
“Teresa was not content with this but busied herself in seeing that sentiment and enthusiasm were harnessed effectively to the work of organisation. When her immediate hopes seemed lost she counselled perseverance and built up the will to struggle on.
“This cross which we have unveiled here to-day will serve to remind all who see it of a simple-hearted noble woman who loved her country dearly and remained faithful to the end.
“May her memory continue to be an inspiration, not merely to the people of Cluain Chonaire but to all of us.
“Every one who had the privilege of knowing Teresa Brayton and her worth, is grateful to the branch of Muintir na Tire here who have seen to it that see will not be forgotten.

Exiles Heartbreak

Very Rev. Dr. J. Corkery, Librarian St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth proposing a vote of thanks to the President, said that they were extremely grateful to him for performing the ceremony.
Some people in their ivory towers and synthetic garrets might deery their presence there and the verse of the poet, but she spoke in the language she knew expressing the heartbreak of the exile and the yearning for freedom. Some of the beatniks might think them foolish, but those who would advance Ireland furthest must base our future on the traditions of the past.
Dr. Corkery said that they honoured Teresa Brayton too, as a woman as it was the mothers and grandmothers of Ireland who kept the traditions of the country alive.
“We hope” he added “that this occasion is symbolic not only of our pride in the past but also of our determination  to make the future worthy of the past.”
Commenting on a souvenir booklet got out by the Memorial Committee he said that it was the first time in Irish publishing that a collection of her writings appeared. He commended the Committee on the booklet.
Lt-Col W. Rea, seconding said it was very important that the people of this and future generations should honour her, because her verse kept the desire for national freedom alive. By seeing that the young people learned the poems and songs of our illustrious past we would be ensuring that our great heritage was known to them. The place go get that done was at parish level, he urged.

Bishops Interest

Mr. Regan said that they appreciated the kindness of His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Keogh Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin for conveying his good wishes and blessing and expression of regret at being unable to attend on account of a prior engagement.
He welcomed the relatives and very many friends and admirers of Teresa Brayton who had come from near and far to be associated with them.

An article from the Leinster Leader October 24, 1959 about the funeral ceremony of Teresa Brayton which was attended by Eamon De Velera who gave a speech on her work, poems and songs from the early 1900s. Re-typed by Killian Brennan


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