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Federations' Joint Trip to Dublin - 9 July 2016
by John Hulme

Early on the morning of 9 July the FULS bus stopped outside Kilmainham Gaol and Museum disgorging our band of sleep deprived amateur historians to be met with, by contrast, an eternally effervescent Larry Breen and his team including "JJ", Martina, Dick and Helen. We soon woke up. The visit to the world-famous Gaol where the aftermath Easter Rising events took place was well managed and superbly described by the guide prompted by some excellent questions form our party as we toured the cell blocks. An air of melancholy hangs over the stonebreaker's yard where the executions took place between the 3 and 12 May 1916; I believe all of us from a variety of backgrounds absorbed a greater knowledge and maybe, in some cases, acquired some measured empathy as well for the background events surrounding this tragic episode in the history of Ireland.

Kilmainham Gaol - Cell Block
Kilmainham Gaol - Execution Yard

An excellent lunch was provided and we all had a chance in a relaxing atmosphere to make new friends and greet old ones from the last time we met.

In the afternoon we visited Glasnevin Cemetery to visit some of the graves of some Irish Statesmen including Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins. Later we watched the unveiling of Victoria Cross Commemoration Paving Stones organised by the Department of Arts, Heritage Regional Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs where the stones will now be placed on a permanent basis for visitors. There were governmental, political and military representatives from North and South taking part in this most moving ceremony.

Group at Collins Memorial
Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Ceremony - VC Paving Stones: Northern Flag Bearers

As always time was far too short and we reluctantly parted from our gracious hosts leaving them our grateful thanks for yet another wonderful day. Maybe next time we should consider a two day visit as Dublin and the surrounding areas is a rich treasure house of historic sites and fascinating artefacts.