Carmel and Sheila O’Meara of Lissernane, Lorrha, placed the wreath, which was generously arranged by the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Gary Gray, at the Martin O’Meara VC memorial. The sisters are the closest neighbours to Martin O’Meara’s home in Lissernane and are not related to him. Photograph: Rose Mannion

Anzac Day marked in Lorrha

Anzac Day (April 25th) marked the anniversary of the WWI campaign that led to major casualties for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli in 1915. In Lorrha recently the day was marked at short notice by a very low key and brief wreath laying ceremony in the warm spring sunshine.

In anticipation that the social distancing regulations would be resolved, a new date for the visit to Lorrha of the Victoria Cross awarded to Lorrha native Martin O’Meara was set for Saturday, April 17th. This was agreed between Lorrha representatives and the Australian Embassy to Ireland. This was the weekend before ANZAC Day after which the Victoria Cross, which is on loan to the National Museum of Ireland, would return to its permanent home in the National Museum of Western Australia in Fremantle. However, like many other events, this arrangement has been postponed to some future date.

Indeed the annual ANZAC Commemoration Ceremony in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin was also cancelled. Instead, the Australian and New Zealand Ambassadors to Ireland placed a wreath at the residence of the New Zealand Ambassador, Mr Brad Burgess. However, in recnogition of the Lorrha contribution to the ANZACs in the Great War, the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Gary Gray generously arranged for a wreath to be given to the parish of Lorrha and Dorrha to be placed at the Memorial in Lorrha village. In compliance with regulations it was a very small and private occasion. Carmel and Sheila O’Meara of Lissernane, Lorrha placed the wreath at the memorial The sisters are the closest neighbours to Martin O’Meara’s home in Lissernane and are not related to him. Their sister Mary Stephens recited the citation that was reported in the London Gazette, describing the heroic actions by Private Martin O’Meara for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. A second wreath, donated by the parish to acknowledge the other people from Lorrha who died in the Great War and other conflicts, was also placed at the monument. All memorial events were kept small this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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