HISTORY, culture, sport and memory were combined in Sixmilebridge last weekend, when both Scariff and Smith O’Brien’s intermediate hurlers wore black armbands to mark the centenary of the Scariff Martyrs, who were murdered by British Crown Forces on Killaloe Bridge in November 1920. The idea was proposed by the East Clare Memorial Committee, as part of their Scariff Martyrs 100 programme of commemorative events. The group have been commemorating the Scariff Martyrs, Alphie Rodgers, Michael ‘Brud’ McMahon, Martin Gildea and Michael Egan for many decades and are currently finalising plans for the 100th anniversary. According to the historian, Tomás Mac Conmara, who is part of the Memorial Committee, the unique encounter between Scariff and Killaloe, both areas so closely related to the story, presented a unique opportunity.
“Our aim is to create as much awareness as possible of the Scariff Martyr’s story and its context in the War of Independence,” Dr MacConmara said. “It was unique that Killaloe and Scariff faced each other this year given the connection between both places and the Scariff Martyrs. We approached both clubs and were really delighted with their positivity towards the idea. The County Board deserve credit also as it was very short notice, but they were able to accommodate the request at the last minute so that the gesture could go ahead. We have been really heartened with the positive response we received online from both here and from as far away as Canada and Australia and it bodes well for the commemoration ahead.”
Adding to the unique nature of the occasion, Mark Rodgers, who scored a decisive goal for Scariff, is the great grand-nephew of Alphie Rodgers, one of the Scariff Martyrs. The committee are in the advanced stages of a reconstructed commemoration programme which had to be changed dramatically due to Covid-19 and will announce details shortly. Anyone wishing to find out more can visit the Scariff Martyrs 100 Group on Facebook. A Go Fund Me account has also been set up at Scariff Martyrs 100 for anyone wishing to donate.