From an article that appeared in the Derry People in April 25th 1919

Easter Sunday in Gweedore;  Sinn Féin Demonstration

Surpassing in enthusiasm and numbers even the largest of the fateful gatherings during the Plan of Campaign in Gweedore a great Sinn Féin demonstration was held in Derrybeg on Easter Sunday. Bunbeg cross-roads was the trysting place, and there at 10.30 the Local Volunteers and Cumann na mBan,

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Gweedore and Rosses Cumann na mBan companies (c) Vincent O’Donnell

 

headed by the Father MacFadden S.F. Band,met the Mullaghduff, Annagry, and Ranafast Volunteers with their bands and banners.

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The Father MacFadden Band Derrybeg in 1927

An immense procession, almost a mile long, was formed, and headed by the Annagry band, proceeded to St Mary’s Church, Derrybeg, for Mass. The accommodation in the spacious church was severely taxed, though the energetic and popular curate, Father Carr, did much to relieve the congestion.

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Annagry Band just after the troubles (c) Óglaigh na Rosann

 

After Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the huge procession formed up once more, and bearing aloft the beautiful banner of Father MacFadden, encircled the church, while the narrow glen rang with the music of bagpipe and fife. Among the elder members of the congregation many an eye was dimmed with tears as it fell for the first time on the life-like image of their beloved patriot priest. In memory he was with them again at the historic church, Pictures of the Flood of 1880 rose before their minds.

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Tim Rodgers from Bunaman, volunteer and member of the Mullaghduff Sinn Féin Band during War of Independence (c) Irish News Archive

Passing from the chapel yard the Mullaghduff band led the vast procession to Derrybeg, where a meeting was held, with Father O’Donnell presiding. The chairman extended to the Rosses contingents a hearty céad mile fáilthe to Gweedore.

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The Bun a Leaca Band with a banner commemorating Fr. O’Donnell (c) Story of Gweedore

He congratulated the Sinn Féin organisation of Gweedore and the Rosses on their fine display in honour of men on the purity of whose motives and the nobility of whose aims even their worse enemies dare not cast a doubt. He exhorted them to remain faithful to the ideals of Tone, Emmet and Pearse, and said the long-watched day of Irish Independence was already breaking. Mr O’Boyle Rutland, dwelt on the willful destruction of Irish trade and commerce and the falling away of the Irish population by one half in the last half century of English rule. He wished to know from their political opponents why, if it was right to glory in the fighting of Emmet and Tone, if ’98 and ’67 were hallowed, it was not right to fight in these our days, and he dwelt on the different treatment accorded to the Ulster rebels and to the “mere” Irish” rebels. Messrs. Gallagher, Crolly; MacNulty, Gortahork; P. Sharkey, Annagry; E. O’Boyle and P. O’Boyle,Gweedore, also addressed the meeting.

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Mullaghduff Sinn Féin Band during the War of Independence (C) Vincent O’Donnell

The procession formed again about five o’clock and visited in turn the residence of the three parish priests, where the bands discoursed selections of Irish airs. The Rosses contingents then headed for home. They were escorted on their way as far as Knockastolar by the Father MacFadden Club and Cumann na mBan.

A letter of apology was read from Father O’Flanagan, who said he was delighted with the invitation from Gweedore, but a prior engagement forbade him to visit that historic spot.

with kind permission from Irish Newspaper Archive

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