Over 200 people attended a Spring School in the Villa Rose Hotel in Ballybofey on 11th March to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the execution of the Drumboe Martyrs on 14th March 1923.
Speaking after the event, chairperson of the organising committee, Maria Doherty said: “I am delighted that over 200 people joined us to participate in a very important day of rich discussion, exploration and commemoration of the civil war and the execution of the Drumboe Martyrs.
“We were delighted to have a large contingent up to 70 members of the extended families of the Drumboe Martyrs here with us at this very special event to mark the 100th Anniversary of the execution.”
Donegal TDs, Deputy Pearse Doherty and Pádraig MacLochlainn and councillors Gerry MacMonagle, Albert Doherty, Michael McMahon, Ciaran Brogan, Donal Coyle, Liam Doherty and chair of Mid-Ulster Council, Cllr Cora Corry also attended.
During the sessions, attendees heard of the untold impact of the civil war on women in presentations from Professor Linda Connolly of Maynooth University and Dr Mary McAuliffe of UCD.
Helen Meehan, a local historian and former president of the Donegal Historical Society, outlined the role of Cumann na mBan in Donegal during the war of independence and the civil war.
Film maker and author Hillary Dully gave a fascinating overview of the anti-treaty position, taken by Cumann na mBan, through the archive of Máire Comerford who was part of the garrison at the four courts when the civil war broke out.
Professor Breandan MacSuibhne of University Galway, Dr Fearghal MacBloscaidh of St Mary’s Belfast and Dr Tomás MacSuibhne focused on the politics of the civil war, the activities of the Drumboe Martyrs and the context of their execution.
Keynote speaker, Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania, gave a detailed presentation of research on public opinion on a United Ireland and the strategic implications for a future referendum on Irish Unity.
Donegal County Museum provided a pop up exhibition on the theme of Drumboe 100 and curator, Judith McCarthy chaired the afternoon session of the Spring School.
Catríona Sloan Doherty gave a poignant and elegant reading of the last letters of the four men to their mothers before the execution and also closed the proceedings with a beautiful rendition of the song ‘the Woods of Drumboe’, accompanied by her sister Bríd on the guitar.
The Spring School proceedings are available to view on a specific Facebook page ‘Drumboe Martyrs 100th Anniversary Spring School’ for those who were unable to attend and would like to view the proceedings.