National Day of Commemoration – Sunday 14 July 2019

Throughout Ireland, the National Day of Commemoration, An Lá Comórtha Náisiúnta, took place on Sunday, 14 July 2019. This year the principal event was held at Collins Barracks Dublin, rather than the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Events were also held in Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, Sligo and Galway. The purpose of the commemoration is to remember all those Irish soldiers who lost their lives in war or with the United Nations. The National Day of Commemoration occurs on the Sunday nearest to the 11 July, the anniversary of the date in 1921 when a truce was signed ending the War of Independence.

(Photograph courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch)

The first National Day of Commemoration was held on 13 July 1986 in the Garden of Remembrance during which a commemorative plaque was unveiled by President Patrick Hillery. The ceremony was moved to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in 1987. Due to structural renovations, the 2018 and 2019 events were moved from Kilmainham to Collins Barracks.
Built in 1702 and known as The Barracks and later The Royal Barracks, Collins Barracks was handed over to the Irish Free State in 1922, and was the longest occupied military installation in Europe until 1997, at which stage the Defence Forces handed the Barracks over to the National Museum of Ireland. One of four sites of the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks has a wide range of galleries including the Soldiers and Chiefs Exhibition.

The Commemorative Plaque carries the following inscription: “In honour of all those Irishmen and Irishwomen, who died in past wars, or on service with the United Nations”.
The military and religious ceremony in Dublin were held in the presence of the President, the Taoiseach and other members of the Government of Ireland, members of the Oireachtas, the Council of State, the Diplomatic Corps, the Judiciary, the Defence Forces, next-of-kin of those who died on service with the United Nations, Northern Ireland representatives, a wide cross-section of the community, representatives of Regimental Associations and Veterans’ Associations, and a considerable number of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen. Members of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust CLG, with guest, received invitations for the event.

The ceremony commenced at 1100hrs with the arrival of An tUachtarán Michael D. Higgins and the inspection of a Captain’s Guard of Honour, drawn from the three components of the Defence Forces namely the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps.

Link to Flicker Account – National Day of Commemoration >>

Representatives of the Islamic Cultural Centre, the Jewish Council of Ireland, the Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church of Ireland, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Presbyterian Church, Roman Catholic Church, the Irish Buddhist Union, the Vedic Hindu cultural Centre and the Humanist Association, participated in a multi-faith act of Commemoration, each according to their own tradition.

(Photograph courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch)

Music interludes were provided by Ms Mairéad Buicke – Sololist and the Band of 1 Brigade, under the direction of Captain Brian Prendergast.

(Photograph courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch)

The President laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland. This was followed by a period of one minute’s silence terminated by the firing of a 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer by the
2 Artillery Regiment. Military honours were rendered by a Cadet Guard of Honour, with instrumentalists from the Band of 1 Brigade sounding the Last Post and Reveille.
The ceremony was concluded with the playing of The National Anthem and a fly past flown by PC9s from the Air Corps.


After the ceremony, the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust CLG hosted a luncheon on behalf of the Department of An Taoiseach in the Palatine Room. Reinforcing the cross-border nature of the Trust’s activities, attendees included representatives of the Combined Disbanded Irish Regiments Association, Royal British Legion, Royal Irish Regiment Association, Royal Ulster Rifles Association, the Somme Heritage Centre, the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers Museum, and the RUC Federation.

After the ceremony, the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust CLG hosted a luncheon on behalf of the Department of An Taoiseach in the Palatine Room. Reinforcing the cross-border nature of the Trust’s activities, attendees included representatives of the Combined Disbanded Irish Regiments Association, Royal British Legion, Royal Irish Regiment Association, Royal Ulster Rifles Association, the Somme Heritage Centre, the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers Museum, and the RUC Federation.

(Photograph courtesy of Tom Halligan)

Link to Flicker Account – Annual Lunch >>