On a brisk Monday morning (7th March) Ms Margaret Doyle, Mr Colm Maloney and three representatives from Poetry, Conor Galvin, Brian Murphy and Sean McCrohan, travelled to Croke Park to the National Flag Post-Primary Presentation ceremony, organised by the Thomas Francis Meagher foundation as a part of the 1916 centenary commemorations. The 7th March was chosen as it coincided with the day that Thomas Francis Meagher (OC 1839), the man who brought the tricolour to Ireland from France, first flew the flag at 33 The Mall in Waterford for seven days and nights in 1814.
Upon the arrival of An Uachtarán Michael D Higgins, a presidential Guard of Honour made its way onto the Pitch at Croke Park and stood at attention before being inspected. Following this An Uachtarán addressed the 6,000 strong crowd, which consisted mainly of young people, and urged them to strive to live out in their everyday lives the ideals for which the Irish tricolour stands: peace, unity and freedom. He reflected on how the 1916 Rising can be described as a stunningly ambitious act of imagination and he challenged all in attendance to imagine what we can make Ireland in the future.
When Meagher first brought the Tricolour back to Ireland, he gave the following explanation as to the meaning of its three constituent colors:
The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the “orange” and the “green” and I trust that beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood…
The ceremony was concluded with a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann by the the Band of An Garda Síochána. At this point the ceremony ended, but before we departed we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have a photo taken with a member of the Irish Defence Forces Officer Commandant Stephen Mac Eoin.
The day had struck a chord with the members of the Clongowes community as it emphasised the great place in Irish history our school holds, with well known names such as John Redmond, Thomas Francis Meagher, Jeremiah ‘Ginger’ O’Connell and Michael Joseph O’Rahilly coming to mind as men who graced these halls. It was a proud day to be Irish, united and at peace and – most of all – part of the Clongowes community which played such a role in the foundation of the State through the sacrifice of its past pupils that set history in motion.
Conor Galvin, Brian Murphy, Sean McCrohan