PHOTO GALLERY: Ceremony marking the centenary of the handover of Camp Curragh to British forces – Page 1 of 19


Hundreds of serving and retired servicemen and members of the public attended a major ceremony on Monday to mark the centenary of the handover of Camp Curragh from the British Army to the Free State Army. Ireland.
At 10 a.m. on Tuesday 16 May 1922 the camp was handed over to a group of Irish troops commanded by Lieutenant General JJ ‘Ginger’ O’Connell.
Relatives of Lieutenant General O’Connell were present in McDermott Square to witness an itinerary of events reflecting the historic day 100 years ago.
The event began with a formal address in the Main Barracks Square by the General Officer Commanding the Defense Forces Training Center (DFTC), Brigadier General Brendan McGuinness.
At midday the national flag on the water tower was hoisted, followed by the unveiling of plaques on the Curragh Fire Station building to mark the important centenary.
Music was provided by the Army No 1 Band who performed Amhrán na bhFiann before a flyover of two Air Corps aircraft was conducted.
A lone piper then played the ballad, The Curragh of Kildare.
A reception followed for attendees along with an army of army vehicles such as the “Slievenamon” armored car associated with the death of Michael Collins in the Beal na mBlath ambush in August 1922.
A local retired soldier, born in the Curragh camp, said he was delighted to be invited to the centenary ceremony.
Pat Lynch, who turns 97 in July, told the chef: “My dad Pat Lynch Snr was serving in the Curragh after the transfer from the British Army and he had living quarters here.
I was born here in 1925. I looked after the Sliabh na mBan car. I was part of a group of people who helped restore and maintain the vehicle.
I would drive him to military shows over the years.
Pat, who retired in 1990, now lives in Kilcullen.
Pat’s son Noel also revealed that his daughter Emily also had a connection to the car as she painted the lettering on the body.
Noel said, “It’s another generation of the family that is associated with Sliabh na mBan!”
Curragh’s fourth-generation hairdresser Fintan Darling, who was also present with his father Reggie, said it was important to remember the important history of the Curragh camp.

Mr Darling said: ‘My family’s history over many generations is intertwined with the camp and so today is an emotional day for my family as well as a very important day for the Defense Force.’

Defense Force personnel are involved in several local ceremonies nationwide throughout this centennial year, involving Army, Air Corps and Naval Service personnel.
Public officials who attended Monday’s event included Minister of State Martin Heydon, a retired army officer and TD Cathal Berry along with other local politicians.
Pupils and teachers from schools across the Curragh were also invited to attend and watch the proceedings.

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