John Devoy Memorial Unveiled in Naas
The unveiling of a new sculptural memorial to Co. Kildare patriot and financier of the 1916 rising, John Devoy, took place in Naas on Sunday the 25th of October 2015. The Mayor of County Kildare, Cllr. Brendan Weld was joined by US Ambassador, Kevin O’Malle in pulling the chord to unveil the life size bronze figure in front of a large crowd gathered at Poplar Square at 2.00 p.m.
The unveiling was also attended by elected public representatives from across the political spectrum, representatives of the John Devoy Memorial Committees of New York and Naas, members of the Kildare County Council Decade of Commemorations Committee, Kill Local History Group, and Naas Local History Group who funded the plinth for the memorial.
A large crowd of locals also turned out on a dull drizzly Sunday to witness the unveiling which was MC’d by Marian Higgins, Kildare County Librarian. Marian introduced speeches from the Mayor of County Kildare, Cllr. Brendan Weld, the US Ambassador, Kevin O’Malley, as well as members of the New York delegation. Music was provided by St. Conleth’s Pipe Band.
Seamus Curran and the John Devoy Memorial Committee
The John Devoy Memorial Committee was founded in Naas by local man Seamus Curran in 2008. The Committee struggled to attract funding in the recession period that followed and the County Kildare Association of New York offered help. The New York John Devoy Memorial Committee was established as a subcommittee of the County Kildare Association and quickly raised $45,000 to erect the statue. The location for the monument was chosen by the Naas and New York Committees with the agreement of Kildare County Council.
Created by sculptor Jarlath Daly, the life-size statue of John Devoy was erected near to St. Anne’s Building, where Devoy once worked, and across the street from Our Lady and St. David’s Catholic Church, where Devoy was condemned from the pulpit in 1865 by the Parish Priest of the time, Fr. Hughes, for his political activities in the name of Irish freedom.
The project will no doubt revive interest in this great hero who was largely forgotten by history, except in the Naas area where his memory was kept alive in an earlier sculptural memorial erected on the site of his birth place between Johnstown and Kill on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. The new memorial unveiled on the threshold of the 100th anniversary in the heart of the county town will, no doubt, ensure his memory will be kept alive for another century.