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Part of the remit of the Kildare Collections and Research Services Dept. is to acquire interesting material relating to County Kildare. At a recent auction organised by Whyte’s Auctioneers, on 21 April 2012, we successfully bid on a memorial dinner programme signed by Éamon de Valera and a small number of rebellion veterans.

We unearthed an account of the ceremonial dinner in Lawlor’s Hotel Naas in the Leinster Leader which was organised to pay tribute to the Kildare men who took part in the 1916 Rising. The programme is now a part of the unique local collection for County Kildare held in Newbridge Library and Archives.

1916 Dinner Programmesmall.jpg

Leinster Leader 30 April 1949

Kildare men honoured

Tributes to 1916 veterans at Naas dinner

There was an attendance of almost three hundred at the dinner in Mrs. Lawlor’s Ballroom, Naas, given in honour of the Kildare men, who had marched to Dublin and fought in the 1916 Rising. Mr. Eamonn de Valera, who was present, received an enthusiastic reception, and was very warmly greeted by many of his old friends from the county who he met.

Paying a very high tribute to Mr. Donal Ua Buachalla, Mr. de Valera referring to the appointment of Mr. Ua Buachalla as Governor General during the Fianna Fail term of office said – "When it came to filling the position of Governor-General, the name that came first to my mind was that of Donal Ua Buachalla, a man of Republican ideals," said Mr. de Valera.

"When Donal Ua Buachalla came, I said to him: ‘I am going to ask you to do one of the hardest things I can ask any Irishman to do. I want you to do something for Ireland – to accept the position of Governor-General here.’

"It was a request completely unexpected by him and at first, he could not answer. I asked him to think about it, and I did not use any persuasion. He thought it over and later he said: ‘I am willing to do anything that you think ought to be done for Ireland.’ That is how Donal Ua Buachalla came to be Governor-General and the last Governor-General in Ireland.

"That was the most crucial point in our programme; after that things were not so difficult. When Donal Ua Buachalla wrote his name to the Bill that removed the British Crown and the British representative from the British dictated Constitution, there was no man happier than himself. He deserves great honour from Fianna Fail. Personally, I owe him a debt of gratitude which I can never fulfil. He had to bear with a great deal of misrepresentation and he bore it all for the sake of his company. He was a man who, by his action, made it possible for us to have our own Constitution."

Referring to the men of 1916 who came from Kildare, Mr. de Valera said they deserved a special honour because they were an isolated group. They had not the encouragement and the strength that big numbers gave, yet they had done great work.

Toast of Ireland

Mr. W. A. Tynan, Co. C., Monasterevan, who presided, said – "The first toast this evening, which I feel honoured to propose, is one that commends itself to the heart of every Irishman. It is the toast of ‘Ireland.’"

Mr. M. G. Nolan, Chairman of Athy Urban Council, proposing the toast of "Our Guests," declared – "To-night we are gathered to do honour to the Kildare men of 1916 – that gallant band that so gloriously answered Ireland’s call to her children. It has seemed fitting to us that we should honour these men while most of them are still living. Some have passed away and them also we honour, and in paying tribute to the Kildare men of 1916, we pay tribute to all the dead of every generation who died for Ireland. It is fitting also that this tribute should be paid during Easter Week – that week of glorious and imperishable memory. And what more fitting than we should have with us Senator Miss Pearse, sister of one whom I regard as having been the noblest of the noble – and Eamonn de Valera, last surviving leader of the rising, and still leader of the Irish Nation. It is a great honour for me to speak here, to-night…"

Donal Ua Buachalla, speaking in Irish, said that Kildare had been proud to carry on in 1916 the fighting tradition of a county that had always been foremost in the struggle for independence. They were equally proud to have with them that night Mr. de Valera who had led in 1916, and who continued that leadership through days that were equally perilous during the war.

Capt. Thomas O’Byrne, a member of the Irish Brigade in the South African War and a 1916 veteran, said that in Mr. de Valera and Donal Ua Buachalla they had leaders who could inspire men to do great things. It was futile to talk of what might have happened in 1916 but there was no doubt that the blood shed on that occasion led to the revival of the National spirit.

Lieut.-Col. Colgan, another 1916 veteran, said that the men from Maynooth who took part in the Rebellion were extremely fortunate. They would not have been there but for the great example and teachings of Donal Ua Buachalla, who kept them together through the Gaelic League and kindred organisations.

Very Rev. Fr. Burbage, P.P., V.F., Mountmellick, proposing the toast of "Our Glorious Constitution," to which Mr. de Valera replied, said – "I am very pleased and feel highly honoured in being permitted to propose the toast of the Constitution of the Irish Republic. It is likely that some, even in Ireland, have never read the Constitution, and may overlook the fact that it is not of yesterday or the day before, but was enacted by the people more than ten years ago, on the 1st July, 1937, to be exact, and came into operation from 29th December that year."

1916 Dinner ProgrammeBsmall.jpg

The following 1916 men from Kildare were present – Domhnall Ua Buachalla, Frank Burke, Lieut.-Col. P. Colgan, T. Harris, T.D., Patk. Kirwan, Jos. Ledwith, John Maguire, Thomas Mangan, John McGlynn, Capt. T. O’Byrne, Mrs. Kelly, wife of Lieut. O’Kelly (deceased), Timothy Tyrell, Patrick Weafer.

1916 men unable to attend were – Thomas O’Brien, Michael Cosgrove, Ml. Cowley, J. Graves, Jas. Neill, William Regan.

Deceased members were – Matthew Maguire, Oliver Ryan, Lieut. E. O’Kelly.

Members of Committee

The committee consisted of – W. A. Tynan (Chairman); M. G. Nolan, Vice-Chairman; S. McCormack, Secretary; W. Mahon, W. Miley, J. Hickey, C. Tynan, T. Dunne, R. Harris, T. Boylan, W. Byrne, J. Buckley, T. Donnellan, and C. Ryan, Droichead Nua.

The ballroom was beautifully decorated for the occasion and in a really congenial, social atmosphere the entire proceedings were thoroughly enjoyable.

Vocal items were rendered by Mr. Cregan, Dublin, and Mr. Prendergast, Athy, and they were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Flynn (violin and piano), and Miss Donnelly, violin. Mrs. Donnelly also supplied the music for the ceili which followed.

The catering was carried out by Mrs. Lawlor, and was very favourably commented on all sides.









To commemorate our 900th article on EHISTORY - An account of the ceremonial dinner in Lawlor’s Hotel Naas in the Leinster Leader of 30 April 1949, which was organised to pay tribute to the Kildare men who took part in the 1916 Rising.

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