Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society Unveiling of Memorial to Coincide with 50th Anniversary

Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society Unveiling of Memorial to Coincide with 50th Anniversary

28 January 2013

Each Patron was presented with a limited edition Maquette of the Sculpture, created by Valentia Sculpture Alan Hall-Ryan.   Each Patron made a donation of at least €1,000 each, bringing the eventual unveiling of a permanent to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty closer.  In fact as announced by the Society Chairman, Jerry O’Grady, it is expected that the Memorial will be unveiled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Monsignor’s death on 30th October 2013.

As most people are aware, this great humanitarian and Kerry man, through his work and the work of his colleagues in the Rome Escape Line, saved over 6,500 people during the Nazi occupation of Rome towards the end of WW2. 

The new patrons included:-

Accepted by Eileen O'Riordan-McHale representing the family of the late Fr Kenneth O'Riordan RIP (Killarney), Deirdre Waldron & Greg Canty of Fuzion PR & Marketing (Cork), Margaret Hegarty accepting on behalf of her husband Michael Hegarty (Killarney), Fr Pat Horgan (Killarney), Brother Sean on behalf of the Franciscan Order (Killarney), and Isobel O'Regan (Cork). Maquettes were also accepted on behalf of The Sisters of the Little Company of Mary (Killarney & Dublin), Fr Jim Kennelly (Boherbue Co. Cork), who were unable to attend.

The Memorial Society also presented Maquettes to two local individuals as Honorary Patrons in recognition of the tremendous support they have given the Memorial Society in promoting the project locally, regionally and nationally since 2008. These were accepted by Catheriona Cahill and Eve Kelliher, on behalf of Cormac Casey, (Killarney Advertiser / KC Print) and also to photographer Don MacMonagle, (MacMonagle Photography).

 Jerry stated at the event, “All funding so far has been raised through individual donations and fundraising events - No public money has been forthcoming to date.  However, applications have been made for Grant Aid Support to Government Departments and Agencies and the EU - it is hoped that they will find it possible to offer some support to bring the project to completion by October”.

He went on to say, “We still have a shortfall to complete the project in time for the 50th anniversary of the Monsignor’s death, but we are confident we are going to get there.  To help with the shortfall we will continue to actively invite additional Patrons & Friends and we are planning a fundraiser in honour of the 105th anniversary of the Monsignor’s birth on the 28th February. We are now within touching distance of completing what will be one of the most dramatic and inspirational Memorial Sculptures in Ireland and we would also like to take this opportunity to place a call out to individuals and organisations who are interested in supporting the fundraising to look at becoming a patron or friend of the memorial society so we can reach our goal by October.  When completed, the on-going Memorial Society activities and the Sculpture will greatly enhance the story of Killarney from a Heritage and Cultural viewpoint and will certainly generate additional tourism revenue over future years.”


There will be a whole series of Anniversaries marked during 2013 such as the 50th Anniversary of the broadcasting of the BBC This is Your Life programme dedicated to The Rome Escape Line with Lt. Col Sam Derry and Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty and, the 30th Anniversary of the release of the movie The Scarlet and the Black.  As part of the 2013 Gathering, the Society is planning a very special event on 4th July, American Independence Day. Killarney will celebrate the WW2 1944 Liberation of Rome by US Forces and the role played by Monsignor O’Flaherty in ensuring that many thousands of allied escapees were still alive to witness the liberation.  The celebration will include some representations on the streets of what took place on that day and will also include a celebration of Italian Food & Wine as well as the Big Band Swing Music of the era at a special dinner dance that night.  In October / November, the Memorial Programme will be extended to a weeklong series of events, exhibitions and tours to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Monsignor’s death on the 30th October.

For further information on becoming a Patron or Friend of the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society visit