We had a most enjoyable evening last July, when a large crowd accompanied Professor Rynne on a Lecture Tour of the Athenry Medieval Ruins, which will always be a great attraction to the tourist and the stranger. A great past is visible through the Abbey Ruins. As I listened to Professor Rynne, and viewed the impressive, towering tombs of the De Berminghams and Clanrickardes, I could not help thinking that all those great Norman Lords left nothing but a trail of misery to the people of Ireland.
It was easy achieve power, fame and wealth at the expense of others, but death is the great leveller. “The paths of glory lead but to the grave”. All around us were the simple grave-slabs of our own – Lardners, Kellys, Morrisseys, Hanlys and, in the outer Abbey, hundreds of nameless graves. It was those who peopled this town and parish in generations gone by – good, righteous, christian people who knew no wrong, but who suffered great hardships in their time. Their bones are cradled in this old Abbey; their roots have spread to the farthest ends of the Earth; they have left their imprint on the ﬁve vast continents and laid the solid foundation stones of the great Irish Catholic ethos. I could not attempt to write Local History without remembering them. They were the greats of this parish, and with all the people of their time made up ‘greats’ of Ireland. Their kind will not pass this way again.
From the book – “Athenry, History from 1780, Folklore and Recollections” by Aggie Qualter, March 1989
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Written by Aggie Qualter
Published here 09 May 2022 and originally published March 1989
Page 36 of Athenry History
James (Jim) Barrett’s fight for Irish freedom
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