“Even the olives were bleeding” was the appropriate title of the commemorative event in Limerick during the second week of September 2014. These were the now-famous dying words of Irish poet and International Brigader Charlie Donnelly (1914-1937), who died from mortal wounds sustained during the battle of Jarama in Spain on 27th February 1937.
Six Limerick men volunteered to fight with the XV International Brigade against fascism during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). They were Frank Ryan, Paddy Brady, Gerard Doyle, Emmet Ryan, Joe Ryan and Jim Woulfe.
Following the culmination of over two years work by the Limerick International Brigade Memorial Trust (LIBMT) a memorial was unveiled on Sunday 14th September in honour of these men.
The unveiling was the centrepoint of a series of events between the 12th and 14th September. There was a fantastic assortment of activity, a film, lectures, historical tours and music, which was highlighted with a concert on Saturday with LIBMT patron and folk legend Andy Irvine.
There were several speakers at the unveiling, including Mike McNamara, president of Limerick Trades Council, Kevin Sheanan, vice chairman of LIBMT, and Jack O’Connor, SIPTU general president and patron of the LIBMT.
The unveiling of the memorial was done by Charlotte Ryan Wetton, grandniece of Frank Ryan. A wreath was laid by Sarah Bennett, sister of Joe Ryan. The memorial is solid sandstone and was designed by Simon Donnelly.