Éamonn Ceannt of Ballymoe
A commemorative garden was dedicated in September 2016 in Ballymoe, County Galway to mark the 135th anniversary of the birth of 1916 Proclamation Signatory Éamonn Ceannt
Éamonn Ceannt, a native of Ballymoe, Co. Galway, was one of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, which declared the Irish Republic. During the 1916 Rising, he was Commandant of the 4th Battalion Irish Volunteers at the South Dublin Union.
This garden, which is planted with native trees and shrubs, was officially unveiled on 21 September 2016. A deciduous shrub, genista hispanica (Spanish gorse or furze) is planted in the Éamonn Ceannt plot at the back of the garden. An ‘s’-shaped limestone wall runs through the centre of the garden. At the end nearest to the entrance to the garden is a deciduous mountain ash tree – symbolising Ceannt’s birth in Ballymoe on 21 September 1881. This produces yellow berries in the autumn, as the green leaves change to red/orange.
The tree at the far end of the wall is a May bush, so named because it flowers in May. This represents his death by execution at Kilmainham Gaol on 8 May 1916, aged 34.
The National Library of Ireland holds a collection of Ceannt’s papers, including his final message to his wife, Áine, many of which have been digitised. The Irish Traditional Music Archive holds a copy of the lyrics he penned to be sung to the tunes of Josef Hayden’s Deutchland Uber Alles, called Ireland Overall. An athlete who played rugby and hurling as well as a musician, Ceannt led a team of athletes to the Jubilee Celebration of Pope Pius X in 1908, where he would also be called on to play the uilleann pipes for the Pontiff.
Further reading: “Éamonn Ceannt – his life and times” by Mary Gallagher in Centenary Reflections on the 1916 Rising: Galway County Perspectives, Marie Mannion, ed., Galway County Council, Galway, Ireland, 2016