Thomas Francis Meagher is a name well known in Waterford City. A celebrated revolutionary who made his mark on Ireland and also across the waters in America. Most people pass by his statue, on horseback, at the Tower Hotel every day, probably without being aware of what may be his most significant legacy to Ireland.
In 1848, at 33 The Mall, Waterford City, Thomas Francis Meagher flew a flag from the building. A flag that represented his views of Ireland’s political state and his desire to see peace prevail upon the land. That flag bore the colours green, white, and orange – colours to which Meagher aligned the Irish catholics (the green), protestants (the orange), and everlasting peace between the two (the white). This vision went without official recognition until eventually in 1937, the tricolour was formally adopted as Ireland’s national standard.
Today, a symbol of the Irish people, all over the world, the tricolour is proudly flown at sporting events, international festivals and anywhere that Irish people go. To many internationals, it symbolises neutrality, friendliness and the “craic” of the Irish. It is fitting that Meagher’s vision for peace, symbolised in the flag, should prevail across the globe as a welcomed and friendly nation.
In honour of the events of 1848, when the now official tricolour of Ireland was first flown in Waterford City, a celebration is planned for March 5th and 6th. On March 5th, following a Mayoral reception of guests, a Leviathan political theatre event will take place at the Theatre Royal – tickets available from the website. The first Leviathan event in the area, this promises to be a great evening of good-humoured and topical discussion on the subject matter of “the impact of flags and emblems on politics and nationhood”. On March 6th, from 12:45pm, The Mall will play host to a reenactment of the tricolour’s first unveiling. Thomas Francis Meagher (portrayed by an actor) will march up The Mall carrying the tricolour which will then be flown from the centre pole outside the Waterford Crystal showrooms. In attendance will be the Irish navy who will observe protocol while the flag is hoisted and also high profile guests of honour from the U.S., France and Canada. The Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Loyola Hearne will address the public and accompanying speeches from the Mayor of Waterford City, Mary Roche, and also Mayor of St. Herblain M. Charles Gautier will set the stage.
A presentation of a replica of Meagher’s famous Club ’82 jacket to representatives of the New York 69th Infantry Regiment will take place against the backdrop of music from The Barrack St Brass Band and local soprano, Donna Roche whom will give a recital in Christ Church Cathedral from 12pm and whom will also sing our national anthem during the flag raising ceremony. Craic agus ceol is expected to follow in the nearby pubs and a great family day out is to be had.
This promises to be a very special event that will attract many people to the city and raise Waterford’s profile on the international stage.
Full details of the event can be obtained from the official website http://www.1848tricolour.com/