The 1882 Naas Banner.
a note by
Photo: Mario Corrigan 28 May 2003by kind permission of Declan Kirrane Naas UDC
From the Leinster Express and the Kildare Observer newspapers it appears that this banner was commissioned by the Naas Town Commission for the unveiling ceremony in Dublin of the O’Connell Statue on the 15 August 1882. The Chairman, Mr. S. J. Brown and a deputation were invited to attend. Mr. Brown it seems contacted the artist Mr. Watson of Sackville-street, Dublin regarding the banner. The estimate for the work was £15 and the banner to be made of poplin or tabinet with the coat of arms of the town and the motto on one side and a portrait of Lord Edward FitzGerald on the other. The commissioners unanimously accepted the design and the order made to have it ready as soon as possible, a telegram sent to Mr. Watson to this effect. This was reported in the paper of 12 August so it was very close to the time. However nearly every deputation carried a banner and I presume M. Watson would have been in demand and therefore had templates to work from.
A subscription list was opened to cover the cost of the banner, new uniforms for the band etc., the cost of the banner being the immediate priority.
The really interesting thing is that the portrait of Lord Edward was on the reverse side and the coat of arms and motto on the front. It was carried on the day of the unveiling ceremony
On the day the band wore a green uniform with yellow and gold trim and their banner was also green and gold.
Deputations from Naas, Athy, Newbridge, Kildare and Rathangan and from Maynooth were present. All carried banners (with different portraits). Where are they now?
The Leinster Leader of 16 May 1914 carried a report from Monasterevin on the creation of a ‘banner committee’ to restore the great banner of Monasterevin that was carried on that day in 1882 at the unveiling of the monument.
When I examined the banner in the UDC Offices in 2003 it was so delicately poised that I refused to turn it around to take other photographs. I had hoped to bring the banner to Kildare Town for the unveiling of the bust of Lord Edward FitzGerald in June 2003 on Market Square Kildare but once I saw the condition of the banner this of course was not an option.
Of late a similar banner was uncovered in Kildare Town which I believe to have been created for the same occasion following a subsequent examination of the newspaper accounts. While the banner is in very poor condition it appears to have the original poles etc. attached. It is almost certainly by the same craftsman. It is in private possession.
Note on the banner by conservator Cliodhna Devitt which identified the date and made the discovery of the newspaper article possible. This was done at the request of Brigid Loughlin, Co. Heritage Officer.
The 1882 banner.
The painter’s inscription is on Face A showing the image of LORD EDWARD FITZGERALD. It is located below the ‘g’ of ‘go brat’. I think it is painted in a gold coloured paint.
The inscription is a follows: HWatson Des.e et pinx.t
Sackville St. DUBLIN
The text on Face A is as follows: GOD SAVE IRELAND
EIRE GO BRAT
Face B shows the snake of Naas in a shield surmounted by a crown.
The text on Face B is as follows: NAAS OF THE KINGS
PRUDENS UT SERPENS.
An interesting note on the origin of the Naas Lord Edward FitzGerald Banner.