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On Sunday May 1st 2016 Mícheál Ó Doibhilín and Liz Gillis travelled to Dungannon as guests of the Tom Clarke 1916 Club and of the Tom Clarke GAA Club for the unveiling of a statue of Tom Clarke.

This is only the second statue of Tom in the country (the other is in Limerick) so we were delighted to have the opportunity to be present at this great occasion.

People travelled from all over the country and we met many great friends there.

The ceremony began at 2.30 pm with a large parade of fife and drum bands, a pipe band, a flag of each county, the Tom Clarke GAA Club football team (which delayed its afternoon game to be in attendance), and an honour colour party, as well as delegates and banners from other clubs around the country.

The ceremony itself began with a passionate reading of the Proclamation (in English, as it was written, although much of the ensuing ceremony was in Irish, something we would do well to emulate in our official ceremonies).

This was followed by a reading of the names of fallen local volunteers accompanied by a lament on the tin whistle.

Next Lurgan local Councillor Barry Monteith recounted Tom Clarke's life and death, before the statue was unveiled.

There was a moment of shock as everyone took in what appeared - a magnificent, lifelike Tom Clarke - as real as if he was among us, depicted with pen in hand in that glorious moment after he had signed the proclamation.

Following a spirited rendition of our national Anthem in Irish, the Ballad of Tom Clarke was sung (see here)  and then we could get to the statue to look closer at it, photograph it and have our pictures taken with it.

Our heartfelt congratulations go to all involved in having this statue erected, the Tom Clarke 1916 Society, The Tom Clarke GAA Club, the sculptor and all who contributed.

Ar fheabhas ar fad.

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