The Thomas Behan Society Kildare, as part of our initiative to honour our county’s fallen ‘Defenders of the Republic’ in the run-up to the Centenary of the 1916 Rising, will be holding a commemoration and wreathlaying ceremony on Sunday the 13th December in Rathangan, Co. Kildare to mark the 93rd anniversary of Comdt. Thomas Behan, Óglaigh na hÉireann.
On 13 December 1922, a detachment of Free State troops set out from the Curragh Camp to raid for arms. At Mooresbridge, about a mile and a half from the camp, they discovered the woman owner of a farmhouse in possession of a loaded revolver. A thorough search of the house uncovered a large dugout hidden under the floor. There were eight IRA Volunteers in the dugout. They had ten rifles and ammunition.
The Volunteers surrendered but after they did a Free State soldier struck one of them, Thomas Behan of Rathangan, with a rifle butt and broke his arm. The republicans were ordered to board a truck. When Behan was unable to do so, because of his broken arm, he was beaten savagely around the head and fell dead. The murder was covered up by the authorities with the usual excuse, ‘shot while trying to escape’.
The seven surviving republicans were taken to the Glasshouse, the military prison in the Curragh. Under powers given them by the Free State government, a military tribunal imposed the death sentence for possession of arms. The Kildare Volunteers were executed by firing squad at the Curragh on the morning of 19 December 1922.
The event will begin at 2.00pm sharp, assembling at the Parish Church in Rathangan, proceeding from there to the graveside of Comdt. Thomas Behan where a wreathlaying and short commemoration will be held in his honour. All are welcome and for more information contact the Thomas Behan Society on their Facebook page or get in touch through this site.