By coincidence, New Ross Municipal council met on November 11: Veterans Day in the US (for Veterans of Foreign Wars rather than the War of Independence and Civil War), and Remembrance Day in Britain, and I was reminded of our Wild Geese – old and newer ones.
Generations of Irish have fled historical, social and economic tribulations at home by following the flight path of ‘The Wild Geese’ abroad. This has often been at great personal and family sacrifice, collectively showing great physical bravery, all-too-human vulnerability, and sometimes remarkable moral courage.
From the Irish Brigades of Continental Europe to the San Patricio Brigade of Mexico; from both sides of the US Civil War to the International Brigade of the Spanish Civil War, and of course both World Wars. These were struggles of personal commitment, or international political catastrophes that devoured entire generations of the young, and also include modern missions of mercy with the United Nations.
In acknowledgement of this, I asked New Ross Municipal council if we could commemorate and remember this legacy, in a dignified way, of all of these extended Wild Geese inclusively and broadly – in a way that is not dependent on or derivative of, any one state or war.
Not only the US, but of course The Mexican San Patricio Brigade for example, are honoured in the Dunbrody Emigrant Ship and adjoining Irish America Hall of fame. So I believe New Ross’s Emigrant Flame would be a suitable place, considering the huge amount of Irish that emigrated and through either conviction or necessity wound up following “the pipes a-calling.”
I am glad to say this is now being pursued with broad support.
~ Cllr Oisín O’Connell