The Fingal Old IRA Commemorative Society 1916-1921, a special commemoration event in Swords over the weekend (Sunday 3rd Dec) at St. Colmcille’s Parish Church and graveyard. Mass was celebrated for the repose of the soul of Swords man Joseph Lawless who died in 1917. This was followed by a parade to and ceremony at the graveside of the Easter Week veteran.
A large number of the extended Norton family were present along with a considerable crowd of supporters. Two pipers John Lamb and Christy Russell lead the parade from the church to the grave of this former Swords resident. Ian Daly a grand nephew of Joseph carried the National Flag the Fingal Old IRA Commemorative Society.
Cathal Boland conducted the ceremony and called different strands of the Norton Family to lay wreaths on the grave of their hero relative. Cathal gave a summary of the bravery which Joseph displayed and of the hardship he endured. A party of Fingal volunteers had under the leadership of Richard Coleman gone in response to Commandant Connolly’s call for reinforcements to Dublin City. They, including Joseph, fought in the Mendicity Institution under the command Seán Heuston. On surrender they were Court Marshalled and sentenced to death. They were imprisoned in Kilmainham. in single cells with no furniture and given a single blanket. Other conditions were equally poor. Later Joseph’s sentence was commuted to three years imprisonment. He was released in June ’17 having served the sentence in English jails with conditions little better than those experienced in Ireland.
Joseph was in poor health on his release and died in November 1917. His burial was attended by a crowd of 1500. Leading figures attending were men with whom he’d served time with in Lewes jail. Amongst these were WT Cosgrave and Harry Boland.
Piper John Lamb played a pipers lament. The bugler Sid Kearns sounded the last Post and Reveillé as Peter Gaffney attended to the Flag. Christy Russell played the National Anthem.