An impressive memorial was unveiled this week in honour of the legendary Donegal Tunnel Tigers who died overseas.
Situated in the grounds of St. Crona’s Church Dungloe, the bespoke monument has been described as a fitting tribute to the men who were killed as a result of their work on tunnel projects in the UK and further afield.
The names of 77 men feature on the facade. The structure is dedicated to those men who died in work accidents and to the hundreds, if not thousands, more who died of tunnelling-related illnesses.
A local voluntary committee has been working together for over a year to bring the memorial project to completion.
The stunning structure was officially unveiled on Wednesday, with over 1,000 people attending the poignant event. General foreman Pat Boyle was chosen by miners to carry out the official unveiling.
The memorial was created by Kevin McGee of McGee Memorials, with many thoughtful elements added to tell the story of Donegal’s tunnellers.
An archway entrance leads people to a hand-carved granite statue of a Tunnel Tiger. A small tunnel runs underneath, with a cart, a German Jigger and an FL22 that will bring back memories to many workers.
Former Tunnel Tiger and committee member Hugh Rodgers said: “From day one we wanted it to be more than a statue. What we’ve got ties it all together.
“It’s very important to people who worked in the mines and I think it will bring people to Dungloe.
“We are very grateful to the people and to the chapel for offering sites. It is in an ideal place for access and parking. I was just down recently and there were 15 people saying the rosary around it.
“People came from America, Scotland and England to the unveiling. It means a lot to a lot of people.”
On behalf of the committee, Mr Rodgers has thanked everyone who assisted in the project, who helped with research and who helped at the unveiling event. A special thanks was issued to the monument sponsors Demot Kane, Tony McFadden, Tommy Gallagher and Josie Gallagher.