The town of Monasterevin was named for the monastery that St. Abban founded in County Kildare, close to the confines of the Pale (the English-controlled early Dublin area) which made it vulnerable to attack. In 908 Cormac Mac Culinan, King of Munster was defeated trying to defend it. In the 7th century monks from Munster were brought there by St. Emin/Evin, and a monastery was founded again in the 12th century by The King of Offaly. Its abbot was a member of the Irish parliament.
The town was one of the sites of battles during the 1798 uprisings. This beautiful statue commemorates the tragic hanging of Father Edward Prendergast for the crime of celebrating Catholic mass.
Somber Lady Liberty, one hand to her heart, the other resting atop the symbol of Gaelic Ireland, the harp, stands in front of an ornately carved Celtic High Cross. A trusty and loyal dog/mascot at her side looks intently up at her. On each side of the cross the words “Unity,” “Courage,” and “Freedom” are carved into a sash that flows gently ribbon-like around an upright staff.
The monument is inscribed: (Front) “Erected By The Nationalists Of Monasterevan And Surrounding Districts. To The Memory Of Fr. Prendergast Who Was Hanged Here in 1798 For The Performance Of His Clerical Duties Towards The Insurgents. And In Memory Of The Heros Who Fought And Fell For Freedom In That Sad But Glorious Period.” (Side) “All All Are Gone. But Still Lives On The Fame Of Those Who Died. But True Men Like You Men Remember Them With Pride.” (Side) “Far Dearer The Grave Or The Prison Illumed By One Patriot Name Than The Trophies Of All Who Have Risen On Liberty’s Ruin To Fame.”
Lewis, Samuel, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1st edition, 1837, 3 Vols), Archive CD Books, Ireland, Unit 1, Trinity Enterprise Center, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.
©2011 Sinéad Ní Mheachair (Janet Maher)