On 14 October 1920 Vice Brig. Seán Treacy of the Third Tipperary Brigade IRA was killed in action battling crown forces in Talbot Street, Dublin. His mortal remains were interred in his family’s plot in Kilfeacle Cemetery. The graveside oration on that occasion was delivered by one of his closest comrades in arms, Commdt Con Moloney of the Fourth Battalion, Third Tipp Brigade. Treacy’s was the largest funeral ever seen in Tipperary. By the time the first mourners reached the cemetery the rearmost hadn’t yet left Solohead church.
A year later his good friend, Brig. Gen. Dinny Lacey, OC Third Tipp Brigade IRA gathered all eight Battalions of the Brigade, some 3,600 Officers and Volunteers, in Kilfeacle in his memory to honour him. That was the first Kilfeacle Commemoration. It was organized by “The Toughest” in memory of “The Greatest”.
For the next forty years or so his former comrades in arms gathered there annually to honour him. But, as to be expected, time and the grim reaper took their toll on the survivors. So around the golden jubilee of the Easter Rising in 1966 the living Brigade members brought their sons, daughters and nieces and nephews on board to continue their tradition of remembering and honouring. Later they were joined by other patriotic minded people who had similar ideals and philosophy. Thus next October we will hold the ninety sixth annual commemoration in Kilfeacle. The tradition lives.
This Commemoration Committee is unique in a number of ways. It’s the only such Commemoration Committee dedicated to a single Brigade anywhere in the country. In other brigade areas ad hoc committees get together for a specific or to erect a single monument. Once they achieve their objective they disband. This Committee has continued in existence since October 1921. That makes it the oldest such committee in existence. It really is the Premier County’s Premier Commemoration Committee.
It is a voluntary, non-sectarian, non-party-political organization. It honours equally pro and anti-treaty Volunteers and definitely makes no distinction between them. It receives no public funding and depends totally on its annual church gate collection to fund its activities. It holds at least five commemorations every year. This special year it will hold twelve. Over the years it has erected and continues to maintain almost seventy Republican plots, monuments, headstones, plaques and markers. Again, that is far more than is to be found in any other Brigade’s area of operations.
Shortly before he faced a firing squad in the stonebreakers’ yard in Kilmainham Gaol Patrick Pierce wrote,
“People will say hard things of us now, but later on they will praise us. We shall be remembered by posterity and blessed by unborn generations.”
This Committee is fiercely dedicated to that praising, remembering and blessing. It is absolutely determined to preserve evergreen the memory of the members of the Third Tipperary Brigade IRA who fought, suffered and died so that we might be free. There can be no greater objective.