Commemorative Blue Plaques
Background, Process for Approval, Approval Criteria and Application Form
The Mid Clare Brigade
Prior to 1919, the Irish Volunteers in Clare comprised one Brigade – the Clare Brigade that was subdivided into a number of Battalions. In December 1918, as hostilities escalated, Clare was restructured and subdivided into three Brigades: East Clare, West Clare and Mid Clare Brigades. During this time the volunteers became known as the Irish Republican Army. Initially the Mid Clare Brigade was made up of 5 battalions, designated the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th battalions, and a Brigade headquarters. In early 1921, there was a further reorganisation of resources and this also involved the formation of a 6th Battalion - by splitting of the former 5th battalion into two separate battalions.
The operational area of the Brigade included the whole of central and North West Clare stretching on the Atlantic seaboard, from Spanish Point to Ballyvaughan. The Brigades eastern boundary was a line drawn from the Galway border between the parishes of Ballinruan and Killenana to west of Quin village and onto Latoon Bridge north of Newmarket on Fergus. The southern boundary extended from Latoon across the river Shannon to Ballcorrig Bridge, and from there following a line south of Lissycasey and onward to Spanish Point.
The Mid Clare Brigade was one of the most active and renowned brigades of the IRA.
The Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee
The Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee was founded in 2010. It is a community and family committee commemorating the Mid Clare Brigade, Irish Republican Army, and the immense efforts and sacrifices, our forbearers, the Volunteers and Cumman na mBan members made during the national struggle in the lead up to and during the War of Independence. It is non-political and not allied to either side of the Civil War divide. Since its foundation, the Committee has organised a number of major events, including the commemoration of the Rineen and Moanreal ambushes at their 90th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the immensely significant 1917 Hunger Strike.
In addition to commemorations, lectures, talks and school projects the Committee also operates an ongoing research and information gathering programme.
The work and approach of the Committee is consistent with Government policy towards the centenary of commemorations - that events would be community lead and supported. We consult widely concerning our activities, including through hosting periodic public meetings where all views are heard and considered.
In many countries and cities through the world, historic locations or locations with links to historic events or people, are marked with the erection of “blue plaques”. These have their origins in 1866 in London, but have since spread across the world and are to be found in cities such as Paris, Rome, Oslo and in other cities in Australia, Canada, the Philippines, Russia and the United States. They are administered by a range of bodies including local authorities , civic societies, resident's associations and other organisations such as recognised societies. In Ireland, blue plaques are a feature in a number of cities, including Dublin, Limerick and Waterford.
As part of our Centenary commemorative work, the Committee is commissioning a series of commemorative plaques at relevant locations. The plaques will serve as an appropriate means of recognising important events and individuals associated with the Mid-Clare Brigade. They comprise tangible permanent markers for current and future generations. They are immediately recognisable and include the Clare Brigade badge indicating that the marker is approved and erected by the Committee. Importantly, the Blue Plaque design is effective in communicating the right amount of information to the passer-by, with more information about the event or individual made available at http://midclarebrigade.ie - for those who wish to learn more.
About the Plaques
Each plaque is in the style and format of the international recognised “Blue Plaques”. This includes the standard blue colour and white writing and in a standard size of 490mm. Each plaque bears the name “Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee” on the edge of the plaque and the badge of the Clare Brigade. The maximum number of words per plaque is 20, including names and dates, but excluding the wording “Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee” and the badge. This allows the passer-by to read the information in a few moments.
Any individual or group wishing to erect a Blue Plaque, is requested to submit a proposal on a standard form accessible here (hyperlink) to the Officer Board of the Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee. In approving a proposal, accepted objective criteria is applied. If approved, the person or group proposing the plaque would be requested to contribute €500 to the cost of the plaque and associated costs.
Criteria for Approval
To be approved, the plaque should commemorate at least one of the following categories of events or people:
a. Military operations by the Mid Clare Brigade, especially the Mid Clare Brigade Active Service Unit, e.g. ambushes.
b. Other operations, including those by the Crown Forces (e.g. reprisals), that resulted in loss of life, either to IRA Volunteers or civilians. These must be verified as deaths directly related to the War of Independence and not incidental to other unrelated events – where there is doubt in this regard, the plaque will not be approved.
c. Other important events associated with the lead-up to and during the War of Independence/Civil War, e.g. important meetings or other non-combat related operations that were associated directly and significantly with the operations of the Mid Clare Brigade, IRA or Cumann na mBan more generally.
d. The birthplaces or residences of important characters from the War of Independence/Civil War. As a rule of thumb, such individuals would be at a senior rank or role at Battalion or Brigade level (approximate Commandant level), or otherwise have made a very significant and specific contribution. They would include both IRA and Cumann na mBan officers/members.
Applicants will be required to make a written submission using the form in the link provided above. The decision as to approval will be made by a sub-committee of the Officer Board of the Mid-Clare Brigade Committee, which will also include an independent historian who is expert in the period. The decision of this committee will be final.