Annual Ceremony of Remembrance and Wreath Laying – 2023

Posted on: July 10, 2023

Annual Ceremony of Remembrance and Wreath Laying – 08 July 2023

The Royal British Legion, Republic of Ireland District, supported by the Irish Government, hosted its Annual Ceremony of Remembrance and Wreath Laying at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin, on Saturday 08 July 2023.  Representation from all parts and traditions of the island of Ireland is a key feature of the ceremony.

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the Irish National War Memorial Gardens are dedicated to the memory of Irish soldiers who died in the 1914 – 1918 War.   For the Annual Ceremony of Remembrance and Wreath Laying, the eight volume Irish National War Memorial Records, normally located in the Bookrooms, were laid on the Stone of Remembrance.  These Books of Remembrance consisting of almost 3,200 pages, with illustrations by Henry Clarke, and completed in 1923, record and honour 49,400 Irishmen who died in the First World War.

The ceremony’s Presiding Officers were Vice-Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone (Retd) KCBE, National President, Royal British Legion, Lieutenant-Colonel Ken Martin (Retd), President Royal British Legion (Republic of Ireland District), and Major Philip Morrison (Retd) MBE BEM, President Royal British Legion (Northern Ireland District).

Reverend Peter Rutherford, Chaplain to the Royal British Legion, (Republic of Ireland District) and formally Assistant Chaplain General HM Forces, and Reverend Fr Bernard McCay-Morrissey Chaplain to the Defence Forces, were the Officiating Clergy.  Mr Denis McKee was the Parade Marshal.

The flags of the three Irish divisions which fought in the Battle of the Somme:  the 10th (Irish), the 16th (Irish) and the 36th (Ulster) were flown at the Great Cross.  The Irish Flag, the UK Flag, and the National and District Standards of the Royal British Legion were on parade.  During the ceremony, the Royal British Legion Branches from Ireland and Branches from Northern Ireland, paraded their Standards.

Major Brian Duffy MBE (Retd), District Chairman of the Royal British Legion (Republic of Ireland District), gave the Welcoming Address. The ceremony was held in the presence of government and civic leaders, members of the Oireachtas, the Diplomatic Corps, representatives of the Defence Forces, Royal British Legion Branches, Regimental Associations and Veterans Associations, and a considerable number of relatives of those who served in World War 1 and the Second World War.

The Chairman of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust was represented by Lieutenant-Colonel Eamon Fogarty (Retd).

Under the direction of Major Brian Duffy MBE (Retd) and Mr Sam Hudson Chairman Royal British Legion (Northern Ireland District), the Lords Mayor, Ministers, Ambassadors, Defence Forces, Royal British Legion, Regimental and Veterans Associations, civil organisations and relatives laid wreaths at the War Stone.

Those who laid wreaths included,  The Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste, The Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Ryan Murphy, the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, BAndbridge and Craignavan Alderman Margaret Tinsley, the Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Kieran McCarthy, the Mayor of Waterford Councillor Joe Conway, Minister Jennifer Carroll McNeill TD, representing An Taoiseach and the Government of Ireland, Senator Gerald Craughwell representing Seanad Éireann, The Hon, Christopher Brooke DL representing HM Lord Lieutenant for the County of Antrim, Colonel Mark Sheridan QVRM DL, representing HM Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast.  Ambassadors, Royal British Legion Officers, Brigadier-General Rossa Mulcahy representing the Chief of Staff, Irish Defence Forces, Mr Danny Kinahan Veterans Commissioner for Northern Ireland, Brigadier-General Paul Pakenham (Retd) Irish National War Memorial Trust, and Mrs Carol Walker MBE Somme Association.

Music, including the Last Post, the Rouse and the National Anthem, was provided by the Band of the 1 Brigade under the direction of Captain Tom Kelly, with Pipers and the Band of the 2 Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment under its Bandmaster WO1 Richard Douglas MBE.

Vocalists from The Brook Singers led by Duncan Brickenden, accompanied by the combined military bands, led in the signing of “O Lord My God, How Great Thou Art”, and “Eternal Father, Strong to Serve”, and sung “The Marching Song of the Irish Brigade” the lyrics of which were discovered in a 16th (Irish) Division trench after the Battle of Ginchy, September 1916.  The Piper’s Lament was rendered by Company Sergeant Kevin Dunkan, Senior Pipe Instructor, Defence Forces School of Music.

The Lesson was read by Mr Danny Kinahan, Veterans’ Commissioner for Northern Ireland. The Exhortation and The Dedication were delivered by Vice-Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone (Retd) KCBE, National President, The Royal British Legion.

When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today”

Photographs courtesy of the Royal British Legion (Republic of Ireland District).


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