The Revolutionary Pat Keating of Comeragh

New Booklet on IRA Leader Pat Keating Launches on Friday 30th July

March 2021 marked the 100-year anniversary of the death of local IRA leader Pat Keating during the War of Independence. Fatally wounded in the Burgery Ambush, Keating’s death at only 25 years of age was a blow to the local IRA movementhe had helped build and mould.

Now, on Friday, 30 July, a new booklet commemorating Keating’s life and times will be made available by local history group Kilrossanty Remembers. The 50-plus page booklet, The Revolutionary Pat Keating of Comeragh, can be purchased at Veale’s Supermarket, Leamybrien, and Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, for €10. All money from sales will be donated to the mental health organisation, Suicide or Survive.

The authors behind the booklet, David Prendergast and Katie Dee, initially came together in July 2020 to kick-start a local history blog on their native Kilrossanty during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first essay on the Kilrossanty Remembers blog focused on Pat Keating. He was someone Katie and myself would have been well aware of growing up in Kilrossanty, thanks to the fact that for four years in primary school, we were taught by local historian Sile Murphy who always put an emphasis on the heritage, folklore and history that the parish of Kilrossanty is particularly decorated in,” says Prendergast.

While preparing to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Keating’s death on their blog earlier this year, a supporter of their page, Joe O’Riordan of Abbeyside, reached out to inform them of the Waterford City and Council Decade of Commemorations Community Projects Funding.

“Without Joe, the grant that made this booklet possible could have flown under our radar. We are incredibly grateful to him for thinking of us when he heard of the available funding,” says Dee. “At the time, we were busy preparing lots of varied content to honour the centenary passing of Pat Keating’s death, so it made perfect sense to us then to plan a booklet to commemorate all of his exploits in a print format. Strangely enough, we discovered that we had been successful in getting the grant on 19 March, 100 years to the day that Pat had died.”

The grant that has enabled Kilrossanty Remembers to produce this booklet is from Waterford City and County Council, in association with the Decade of Centenaries Programme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Their mission was to develop a programme of community projects for local groups to mark the Decade of Centenaries.

“We are forever thankful to the Waterford Council for their support in making this booklet a reality,” says Prendergast. “In particular, Joanne Rothwell, Waterford City and County Archivist, has been a wonderful help to us.”

Dee continues this sentiment by pointing to the quality and substance of the booklet produced. “I think anyone that purchases the booklet will see the quality in the design and printing material. For a small local history blog, the fund was an enormous help in allowing us to get the exact quality finish on the booklet that we wanted.”

The story of Pat Keating’s life and death in Ireland’s fight for freedom during its revolutionary years is a substantial tale decorated by continuous incidents of bravery, heroism and cunning wit while on the run from the world’s largest Empire.  The vast amount of information presented in this booklet from witness statements given to the Bureau of Military History is a testament in itself to how central he was to the core of guerrilla operations in Waterford and how highly regarded he was by his fellow soldiers. 100 years on from his death, this booklet is a noteworthy contribution to preserving the legacy of one of Waterford’s best freedom fighters.

The Revolutionary Pat Keating of Comeragh is available from Friday, 30 July in Veale’s Supermarket, Leamybrien, and Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan. The booklet is retailing at €10, and all money will go to the mental health organisation Suicide or Survive.

Enquiries can be made to Kilrossanty Remembers via their blog, kilrossantyremembers.wordpress.com, social media channels, or email kilrossantyremembers@gmail.com.

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