Decade of Centenaries

The County Longford Decade of Centenaries Programme

The Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023 was a programme of annual commemorations of the major local and national events that occurred from 1912 to 1923.

Those momentous years witnessed the progression of the Irish Revolution, culminating in the independence of our state. In the latter half of the decade, we concentrated on the War of Independence (1919-21), the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) and the Civil War (1922-23). Marking the centenaries aimed to:

  • promote knowledge and understanding of local events through the promotion of archives and other sources, encouraging research and holding talks and workshops;
  • encourage community engagement from all sectors and age groups in the county;
  • focus on the education sector, with projects aimed at schools;
  • be inclusive and sensitive in relation to different cultural, political and religious traditions, and viewpoints;
  • promote creativity as a means of exploring our history and its complexity.

In County Longford, several commemorations and projects were organised. They were developed in consultation with stakeholders represented on our Decade of Centenaries Working Group. They were: County Longford Historical Society, the Clonfin Commemoration Committee, Granard Area Historical Society, Ballinalee Community Development and the County Longford GAA.

Many of the projects and events were filmed and can be viewed on the YouTube channel of Longford County Library, Archives, Arts and Heritage Services.

Two of the creative projects commemorated the centenary of the Clonfin ambush, 2 February 1921.

Clonfin documentary by Harp Media

In September 2021, Harp Media, a local film company owned by Patrick McGivney and Robert Higgins, took-on the making of a documentary about the Clonfin ambush. The documentary tells the story of the Clonfin ambush through a combination of interviews, the use of images and archival footage, and dramatic reconstructions. Professor Marie Coleman of Queen’s University Belfast, an expert on County Longford in the revolutionary period, was the historical adviser on the project. The other contributors were Sr Maeve Brady, Bernard Sexton, Dr Mel Farrell and Professor Diarmaid Ferriter.

The premiere took place in Granard Community Library on 26 April 2022, with Longford County Council's then Cathaoirleach, Cllr Peggy Nolan, officiating. The film is now available on YouTube.

The sculpture ‘The Circle of Courage’ by Gary Robinson

Unveiled at the site of the Clonfin ambush on 27 March 2022, this sculpture was chosen as the result of an open call in 2021.  It was prepared in response to an account of the ambush, as written by Dr Mel Farrell. It consists of a series of open circles, making up a larger, unfinished sphere. The material used is Corten steel which naturally rusts over time, creating a protective coat. Stones from the homesteads of each of the twenty-one Volunteers involved in the ambush are incorporated into the piece, which is another unique feature. The steel work was completed by Justin Neary and his team at Custom Metal Fabrications, Longford, and Frank Hartman from Core Components also worked on some of the detail. The Longford County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Peggy Nolan, officiated at the unveiling ceremony. Special pieces were also presented to representatives of the families of the Volunteers who took part.