Leinster Leader 17 October 1914
North Kildare Volunteers
Brilliant Display at Naas
New Flag Presented
Speech by Col. Moore
The ceremony of presenting a new flag to the 4th Battalion of the Kildare regiment of the Irish National Volunteers took place on Sunday at Gaelic Field, Naas, and was in every sense a historic event, well calculated to rouse enthusiasm and to give renewed [sic] to the movement in North Kildare. It was also a creditable display reflecting the live spirit of Nationalism abroad, worthy of the great occasion, and carried out in a manner that left nothing to be desired from a spectacular point of view. Over a thousand men, many of whom bore rifles, took part in the display and included many companies from all the surrounding districts of which Naas is centre, Naas, Newbridge, Rathmore, Clane, Sallins, Ballymore, Athgarvan and Kill, and as they arrived on the field accompanied by bands and banners and formed up they presented a fine, orderly and soldierly body of men, whose bearing and military precision in carrying out the subsequent evolutions, were a revelation to many and highly creditable to the instructors who brought them to such a pitch of perfection. Particular mention must be in made of the turn out of the Naas Cuman na Bhan, whose neat and attractive appearance in their nursing uniform were the admiration of the thousands of spectators present. Another feature worthy of mention was the mounted corps under the command of Mr. Edward Kennedy, and whose mounts won general commendation. The arrival of Col. Moore who was accompanied by the Hon. Fitzroy Hemphill, was marked by a general salute and the presenting of arms by the riflemen. The companies were lined up in battalion formation, headed by the massed bands, behind whom, were the mounted men, the next position being occupied by the Cuman na Bhan, and then the different companies, all in the most orderly array. The inspection of the entire force was then commenced by Col. Moore who was accompanied by Capt. Wolfe, the Hon. Fitzroy Hemphill, and the principal instructors, and while it lasted the bands played alternately, and whiled away the time most pleasantly. The presentation of the new flag was then made by Col. Moore, who said it would be an emblem of the Nationality which those present were prepared to defend and which Irishmen for many ages thought it an honour and a duty to protect. The colours were then formally handed over by Col. Moore to Capt. Wolfe, who received them on behalf of the battalion and thanked Col. Moore, in a short speech, befitting the occasion. The flag was then handed to Lieut. J. Hughes, who accompanied by a guard of honour of rifleman, marched back to their position in the centre of the parade. The next part of the days ceremony was a march past by the entire force, and proved to be a grand spectacular display. The saluting base was on the opposite side of the large field to where the battalion was drawn up, and as the bands moved off to the strains of national airs, followed first by the cavalry and then the Cuman na Bhan, who preserved their line magnificently, and evoked the cheers of thousands of on-lookers, and lastly the solid bodies of the different companies in the most orderly array, the sight was truly inspiring. As they gained the opposite side of the field, the spectacle was even more brilliant. The caps, bandoliers, belts and haversacks showing off the men to perfection as they marched past the saluting base in the most regular lines. Swinging around into extended order, they marched back again in the same orderly array, and forming up again in quarter column. They were halted by Col. Moore who said:
Volunteers of North Kildare, I want to congratulate you on the fine turn out you presented today. I want to congratulate you on the new colours presented to you by the ladies of Naas, and of which you ought to be proud. I also want to congratulate the ladies corps on their excellent turn out, their fine appearance and their fine marching, and I want to congratulate you all on the very fine way in which you marched past. You deserve great credit and I am very glad to see you all here, because it is a sign we are all out for the cause of our country and to show we are earnest, sober people and will show both our friends and those who may not be with us that we can sacrifice ourselves a little. Long ago – nearly a year ago now – when we were establishing this movement, what brought us together more than anything else were the hopes and the promise of friendship amongst all classes of Irishmen. We held out our hands to all classes and said: ‘We are going to bring all together’. Now, also I hope we will extend our hands and our good wishes to all people whatever their ideas may be as long as they are good Irishmen. We want no separation, no division. Whatever your ideas may be you are welcome in the Irish Volunteers, and we are glad to see you all. You are lucky here in having Capt. Wolfe to direct the Volunteers in this county. I wish we had men like him in every county in Ireland. I also see here the mounted corps which I hope will progress. There are great difficulties in the way of instructors, but I hope that they will be got over and during the winter we will have classes for our officers and instructors, because our officers and instructors have been called away and we must learn to do things ourselves. That will be the business of the winter months. I wish you all luck and happiness, and when we meet again I hope to see you all as well as you are now, and even further advanced in military discipline (loud cheers).
Capt. Wolfe called for three cheers for Col. Moore which were given lustily. The men then marched back to the town and were dismissed at the town hall. The procession, nearly a quarter of a mile in length being watched with considerable interest by the townspeople as it filed past in orderly ranks.
Re-typed by Jennifer O’Conor