'Lorrha people in the Great War' book launch, 26th November, Birr Library



Book Launch will take place in Birr Library at 10.30am on Saturday, 26th November. 

As space is limited, persons wishing to attend should contact Ger at phone number 087 9170849 or emailing to gerryo@gerardomeara.com


Lorrha people in the Great War


John Goodman, Chairman, Leinster Regiment Ireland, to launch ‘Lorrha People in the Great War’, a new book by Gerard O’Meara


Just a week after the valour of Lorrha born Martin O’Meara VC was honoured with the placement of a plaque in Glasnevin Cemetery, Gerard O’Meara’s new book will be launched in Lorrha.


While the book is titled ‘Lorrha People in the Great War’ it gives details of Lorrha people who served in other conflicts including the Peninsular War, the War of Independence and the Second World War.  The Peninsular War includes an account of Ensign Charles Walsh from Walshpark who saved the colours at the Battle of Albuera in 1811.  Only sixteen years old, his bravery was acknowledged at a sitting in the House of Commons.  Another who served in the Peninsular War was Colonel Michael Head of Cloughjordan who led the 13th Light Dragoons with distinction at the Battle of Campo Mayor.  His son, William Henry Head, subsequently purchased the Walsh estate in Derrylahan/Walshpark.  Other than the Navy, Lorrha people or people with Lorrha connections served in all theatres of the Great War.  Many made the ultimate sacrifice and are at rest in Gallipoli, Salonica, France and Belgium as well as one person who was interred in his home parish having succumbed in a London hospital to his wounds.  The book records for posterity, the stories of soldiers and families who are no longer in the parish – Lavelle, Craughwell, Byrne, Head, Butler-Stoney, McAfee, Kenna, Sheppard, Willington, Hemsworth, Somerville, Finney etc.  Even so, Ger has managed to trace many of their descendants.  While some are still in Ireland he has contacted people in England, America, New Zealand and Australia.  All those have given enthusiastic co-operation to the work.  This includes family history, anecdotes and most important of all, photographs.  The book is lavishly illustrated with some photographs dating back to the 1890’s.  Indeed, some families had a treasure trove of photographs, all of which are appearing in print for the first time.  A few families were surprised to hear that a granduncle they had never heard of had served during the war.  One Birr family has since paid tribute to their granduncle in the Pas de Calais who has no known grave and was otherwise lost to history.  Lorrha soldiers served with the American and New Zealand Forces, the Irish Regiments (esp. the Leinster Regiment and the Irish Guards) as well as many English and Scottish Regiments.  The book gives the life story of all those soldiers (and some civilians) affected by the conflict.  It is as much a personal, family, local and parish history.  It is an invaluable record of a catastrophic period of history that affected virtually every family in Lorrha and throughout Tipperary and Ireland. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the military history of Ireland and given the proximity of Crinkle Barracks to Birr, there are frequent references to Birr and to Crinkle Barracks.


Many people from Lorrha or with Lorrha connections served with the Leinster Regiment – Michael Meara, Mikey Watson and Mick Larkin enlisted at a very early stage in Birr.  Robert Sheppard of Seffin Birr was working as a postman in Lorrha when he enlisted in the Irish Guards.  Timothy Sullivan of Crinkle and his sons Jack and Teddy also served with the Leinsters.  Others include Patrick and Dan Hamilton of Tullamore, Philip Kenna of Lorrha and Garret Lavelle of Carrigahorig.  Jack Bergin along with his friend John Glennon, both of Redwood, Lorrha  joined the Irish Guards in Birr.  Both survived the conflict.  John ‘Sean’ Glennon later served with the IRA before establishing the Sean Glennon & Sons, Wholesalers in Birr.  Quartermaster General, Felix Cronin of Lorrha, accepted the surrender of Crinkle Barracks from the Crown forces in 1922.  Given that so many people from Lorrha served with the Leinster Regiment, John Goodman, Chairman, Leinster Regiment Ireland has agreed to launch the book.  


The launch has been arranged for Birr Library.  It is timed for 10.30am on Saturday, 26th November.  As space is limited persons wishing to attend should contact Ger at phone number 087 9170849 or emailing to gerryo@gerardomeara.com.  The book will be available for sale at the launch.  It will also be available in the local shops in good time for Christmas or by contacting Ger at his email address.