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Remembered Today:

Mark Hone

'Last Absolution of the Munsters'

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Ronan McGreevy

As a matter of interest, does anybody know the total number of Munsters who were killed at Rue Du Bois. According to this thread there were 59 killed and something like 170 missing. Were they all confirmed dead? Regards, Ronan

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Numanoid817

The man in the foreground of the picture is Captain Filgate (this is according to the Filgate Family who still reside in Co. Louth). He was in fact on horseback during the absolution but the artist did not depict this . I'm assuming this was due to room on the canvas. RSM Ring is the man standing on the left hand side of the painting and Lt.Col. Rickard and Father Gleeson are on horseback. I will stand on this very spot on Friday 8th of May and also at the position of the Battle at 0530hrs on 9th May to coincide with the centenary. Much like in Etreux last August, i know the hairs will stand on the back of my neck when i have the honour of playing The Last Post and Revielle at this very poignant and historical moment. My Great Grandfather was a 2nd Munster for most of his Army life but he was lucky enough to be captured at Etreux some months before the Battle of Aubers Ridge. This practically insured his safety for the remainder of the war.

Adrian - RMF Association

post-75833-0-91380100-1430928656_thumb.j

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Harper

From this article in the Irish Times on 4 April 2015 it appears that the inscribed copy of the print mentioned in #843 above will be auctioned in May.

The estimate is 3-5,000 Euro. I'll be interested to see the hammer price.

Harper

The picture sold for 4,000 Euro on Saturday.

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Don

Father Francis Gleeson and 'Blessing of the Munsters' Centenary Commemoration

Cross of Sacrifice, Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin

Friday 8th May 2015

Order of events

12.45: Assemble at Cross of Sacrifice

12.55: Colour parties parade and take position

13.00: Welcome. John Green, Glasnevin Trust

13.05: Extracts from Fr Gleeson's Diary 8/9/10 May 1915 (read by Paddy Gleeson, Tour Guide)

13.10 Letter from Fr Gleeson to the Mother of Private Christy Barry who was killed in action 9 May 1915 (read by Fr Gleeson's Nephew Paul Gleason, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA)

13.15: Prayers led by Msgr. Eoin Thynne, Head Chaplain Defence Forces Ireland, representing Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

13.20: Laying of wreaths, called by George McCullough

13.25: Moments Silence. Last Post and Reveille

13.30: Conclusion of ceremony and thanks. Those present proceed to grave of Father Gleeson where his family will lay a single wreath.

Invitation to museum for reception where Noelle Dowling, Dublin Diocesan Archivist, will talk briefly about Father Gleeson and his diaries.

All welcome.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Father Francis Gleeson from Templemore, County Tipperary (1884 - 1959)

Fr Francis Gleeson was a Military Chaplain to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers in the First World War. He is one of my favourite people for the reasons briefly touched upon below.

A Man of Action: “Jovial Fr Gleeson of the Munsters, when all the officers were killed or wounded at the first battle of Ypres, had stripped off his black (chaplain’s) badges and, taking command of the survivors, (he) held the line.” (Robert Graves’ 1929 Book ‘Goodbye to All That')

A Terrible Day: On Saturday 8th May 1915, the Munsters halted at a wayside shrine near Rue de Bois. Fr Gleeson, on horseback, facing A Company and wearing his stole, gave them a General Absolution. The famous war illustrator Fortunina Matania later captured the scene in a famous painting. On Sunday 9 May, at 5.30 am, the Battle of Aubers Ridge commenced. Some 22 officers and 570 soldiers went into battle - only 3 officers and 200 soldiers survived - in all, some 390 men were dead in less than 2 hours.

A Terrible Night: Father Gleeson, who was aged 30 at that time, comforted those he could and administered the Last Rites. He described the scene as follows in his war diary; “Spent all night trying to console, aid and remove the wounded. It was ghastly to see them lying there in cold cheerless outhouses, on bare stretchers, with no blanket to cover their freezing limbs. I shall never forget that young officer with the shattered left arm, nor poor Barrowdale of the Welsh who was a great organist and played for me in Essars. Heartbreaking to see him dying there - wasting away. Hundreds lying out in cold air all night at Windy Corner. No ambulances coming. They came at last - at daylight.” (Fr Gleeson’s War Diary - Dublin Diocesan Archives).

"I’ve stood many times at Fr Gleeson’s grave in Glasnevin Cemetery - sometimes with nephew Paul Gleason from Pennsylvania and members of his family. Sometimes I’ve started to recite the particular diary extract just cited above but I’ve never managed to finish it. Standing at his grave the words from his war diary are simply too much."

Fr Francis Gleeson - A brave priest and soldier - may he Rest In Peace.

Paragraph provided by: Glasnevin Cemetery Tour Guide Paddy Gleeson from Templemore, County Tipperary.

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michel knockaert

Hello all !

now I can die, even if I have all the time for, my job on earth is done...

Since a week, last may 8th at 8 pm, exactly a century after the last absolution of the Munsters, a mémorial is erected at "la rue du bois" wherethe event took place.

Michel

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Mark Hone

We plan to be seeing it with you in October, Michel.

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John Finney

Hi Harper / Hi all....

I was the one who consigned the signed print to auction... If you remember ( in post 843) I researched everything for friends of mine who owned the print.

They bought it a few years ago in a car boot sale in Lincolnshire, England. ( for £25 ). After my research they left it to me to consign the print to auction.

After making a million enquiries,,,,I decidied that the best place for it to go, would be back to Ireland,

So,,, after chatting with Michael Parsons of the Irish times, and Mr Ian whyte of "whytes" ... I decided to let Whytes auctioneers of Dublin Auction the Print.

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/fine-art-antiques/sacred-irish-first-world-war-memento-found-in-car-boot-sale-in-england-1.2162623

The auction ( their `History, literature & collectibles` auction ) date was set to be the 18th April , but I was then informed the date had been postponed by a few weeks...........so,,, I was HOPING and Praying, that the new date would be either Friday 8th May ( absolution date ),,,, or,,,, Sat 9th May ( Battle date ),,,and so it was..... luckily,,,,, the auction date was reset to Saturday 9th May. Exactly 100 years to the day, of the Battle..... wow !!

http://whytes.auctioneersvault.com/catalogues/20150509/20150509.html#186

Approx 1 week before the auction,, I was reading that Father Gleesons diary was being digitised and going online,,, the article mentioned that a small ceremony was to take place to mark the event and that some members of Father Gleesons family were to be present.

I immediately sent an email to the Diocese, asking them if they would kindly forward my details to a family member,,,, sure enough they did,,, and within a few hours I recieved an email from Mr Damien Phelan, who is Father Gleesons Great grand Nephew. He mentioned that a few family members would be attending a ceremony at Father Gleesosn graveside in Glasnevin cemetery on Friday 8th, to commemorate the Absolution, and that Father Gleesons closest living relative, his Nephew Paul (89) , would be present also.

he also mentioned he would inform other family members about the Auction on the 9th.

Auction Day...... we could see before the auction that there had been a bid on the internet at 1500 euro`s... but then the auction started,,,,, 2 bidders on internet and 1 bidder on the auction house floor,,,,,, when it reached 2700 euro`s, the internet bidders gave in and it looked like the floor bidder was going to take it at 2700,,,, about 1/4 second before the hammer fell,,,,, a NEW floor bidder came in at 2800,,, so now 2 floor bidders against each other....,and so it went,,,, 3000,,,,, 3200 .. 3400 .... 3600 .... 3800 .... 4000 . Bingo !!!!!! Sold at 4000 Euro`s................ and .... just as I was hoping,,,,, and just to add the Icing to the cake,,,,, Sold to a Member of Father Gleesons family,,,, Brilliant !!

Sadly, During all my research, I never found out who Father Gleeson actually presented the Print to , on the 7th April 1919, as his diaries didn`t cover that period.

I am sure the buyer wont mind me saying,,, But the new proud owner of the Print is now Mr John Gleeson, a publican ... and the Print now proudly hangs in his Pub .."Gleesons" of Booterstown , Dublin.

I am so pleased that our Print, Is now back where it belongs... In Ireland, ,and as a bonus,, with his family.

Happy ending for everyone. Thank you...........John.

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/fine-art-antiques/maud-gonne-s-harp-is-a-top-seller-1.2212794

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ianw

John - thanks for the full story. As you say a magnificent outcome. I will certainly go see the picture in its new home and raise a glass to it when next in Dublin - hopefully later this year - and buy John Glesson a drink if he fancies!

But the remembrance of those that fell on 9th May 1915 should be foremost in our minds of course.

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John Finney

of course.

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Neil Mackenzie

Visited the site in June thanks to this thread and the memorial board is in place and looking good.

Michael - It seems to have been erected by the local commune but I presume it was down to your work - well done!

Neilpost-719-0-91626400-1436084766_thumb.jpg

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michel knockaert

Hello Neil !

Yes that was my work, a long and so interesting work.

Michel

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gordon92

I have just discovered this thread, and I stand astonished. I congratulate and commend all of you who committed so much time and energy in researching this most fascinating and poignant of topics. I spent several happy hours reading all 35 pages of this thread. Many thanks to everyone.

Mike

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MikeyH

Another work by Fortunino Matania,

Way back in the 60's I used to admire a large format reproduction of a painting at the Floral Hall in Southport. This featured an audience leaving the venue after an evening performance in the early 1930's.

On a recent visit to the town I found that the image was available as a postcard, greeting card, print, fridge magnet and on a mug, so obviously a popular subject. To my surprise the artist was Fortunino Matania, who of course is better known for the 'Last Absolution of the Munsters'.

It must have been a commission from the Borough of Southport and was originally used as can be seen from the caption as a poster 'For a Holiday in Wintertime'.

Mike.

post-106539-0-25614800-1445021350_thumb.

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Fattyowls

Mike, I've looked at that picture so many times as I get up to Southport regularly but I'd never made the connection with Matania, and the Last Absolution. I think the original is currently hanging in the Atkinson Library and Arts Centre on Lord Street; I'll check the next time I'm up there. The cinema depicted is at the South end of Lord St although it is no longer used for it's original purpose it is a handsome art deco building.

Thanks for posting.

Pete.

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michel knockaert

Thank you very much Mike for sharing.

Matania was rally a fantastic artist !!!

Michel

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MikeyH

Mike, I've looked at that picture so many times as I get up to Southport regularly but I'd never made the connection with Matania, and the Last Absolution. I think the original is currently hanging in the Atkinson Library and Arts Centre on Lord Street; I'll check the next time I'm up there. The cinema depicted is at the South end of Lord St although it is no longer used for it's original purpose it is a handsome art deco building.

Thanks for posting.

Pete.

Pete,

I assumed that the scene depicted the Floral Hall, as the mural I remembered was there. The shop at the Atkinson has a range of items featuring the painting, as mentioned.

Regards,

Mike.

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Fattyowls

Mike, now you have got me thinking, I'll have to go up and see if I can confirm my assumption that it is the cinema - if it is a then and now might be a good plan, although I don't want to take the thread too far off topic.

Pete.

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MikeyH

Pete,

According to the National Railway Museum website, the scene depicted is the Garrick Theatre on the corner of Lord Street and Kingsway, maybe this became a cinema later?

The 2 crests shown are the Southport coat of arms and the L.M.S. Railway co. logo.

Mike.

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davellis

This may be of interest, quite a price. http://whytes.ie/Irish-Art/i2ArchivesResult.asp?Search=Last+Absolution

There are two prints on this page, one signed by Father Gleeson, sadly beyond my budget.

 

I bought a similar old but unsigned print for £75 in memory of James Leahy.

Edited by davellis

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