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Around Irleand: Clare’s Civil War heroes

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

They were men of Clare. But they fought for justice overseas as part of the American Civil War. Now they will be honored at a new exhibit recently established at Shannon Airport, where thousands of newly arrived tourists will be able to pay tribute.

According to the Clare Champion, the exhibition, which was opened by Jean Kennedy Smith, the American ambassador to Ireland, focuses on the bravery of the famous Irish Brigade at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. The exhibition was presented by U.S. INS inspector Rick Gilmore and Aer Lingus mechanic Tom Mangan.

The Antietam battle was one of the turning points in the Civil War, when the union forces halted the confederate invasion of the North. Mangan, who has researched the subject extensively, said there were many County Clare men in New York’s 69rd Regiment.

Speaking at the opening, Ambassador Kennedy Smith said that the valor of the Irish fighting in the war had made a lasting impression on her brother President Kennedy. Many of those men were recent immigrants to America and felt a special duty to reuniting their adopted homeland.

“We honor our gallant Irish brothers who fought that day for the cause of justice and freedom,” Kennedy Smith said.

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Call for privacy

The parents of a Roscommon youth who committed suicide apparently because he was bullied for years have asked for privacy after the case generated huge press coverage.

According to the Roscommon Herald, Tom and Sonja Connolly were “astounded” by the amount of media interest in the death of their 20-year-old son, Kenneth.

Concerned over possible backlash, the couple said that they didn’t want to spark a “witch-hunt,” with people taking the law into their own hands to seek out retribution on bullies.

Kenneth Connolly committed suicide after covering up the suffering he endured from years of bullying. He did not confide in his family until years afterward because he wanted to spare them the pain.

His parents are now encouraging the government to take action against bullies so that others do not have to suffer in silence like their son. At an inquest into her son’s death, Sonja Connolly said that Kenneth had suffered racial, physical and verbal abuse, and lost interest in his pastimes from when he was 17 years old.

Keep it down

An unemployed singer was told by a Tralee District judge to halt his night-time warbling after Gardai caught him belting out a few tunes in a residential area.

The Kerry’s Eye newspaper reports that Tom Walsh, 35, of Tralee, was stopped by a Garda after he was spotted – or rather heard – singing out loud just after midnight.

When the garda asked him to stop, he complied at first, but continued his tunes just down the street.

“The defendant was unemployed for a long time,” Walsh’s attorney told the judge, adding that he had last performed nearby the court house. The judge dismissed the case, and asked the jobless crooner to keep his singing under wraps at night.

Chips ahoy!

When the chips go down, just reach for a machete.

That’s what a Dunmore man did, a Tuam judge heard recently, according to the Connacht Tribune.

Gardai told the court that the man had been hit with a chip in a restaurant and went off to his car to retrieve a machete, saying he would not take abuse from anyone.

An argument developed at the Supermac’s restaurant after the man had been hit on the head with a chip. He returned with a 22-inch long blade hidden under his coat, the court heard.

But the man’s defense attorney said his client had no intention of using the blade, which he had for his work dealing with vermin and foxes. The man was fined _300 for possession of an article with a blade.

Taste of their own medicine

Two Gardai were locked up for 24 hours recently and forced to survive on a meager diet of only bread and water, The Clare Champion reported.

Their crime? Aiding and abetting the local People in Need charity organization, the paper reported.

Sgt. Kevin Moynihan and Juvenile Liaison Officer Tom Crowe were arrested and locked up at Ennis Garda Station as part of as part of the RTE Telethon People in Need fund-raising drive. The two spent a recent Tuesday through Wednesday locked up “without luxuries.”

According to Sgt. Gerry Barry, the county’s crime prevention officer, the two were not given any preferential treatment and were not allowed out from the 12-by-12-foot cell for any reason.

“It was a little strange staying in one of our own cells alright,” said Moynihan. “I missed the fry in the morning, but was delighted to have done it for the People in Need.”

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