The names of the 24 men on the South Armagh Roll of Honour, stretching from 1970 until recent years, have been inscribed upon the marble monument, which has the picturesque backdrop of the Slieve Gullion Mountain. Also included in the memorial garden is a bronze depiction of ancient Irish warrior Cú Chulainn, who has been reputed to have a strong connection to South Armagh and Slieve Gullion in particular.
A number of marching bands, various banners from Sinn Fein cumainn from throughout Ireland as well as hundreds of Republicans formed up just outside the village of Mullaghbawn before proceeding to the Tí chulainn centre for the unveiling ceremony.
As Republicans converged at the Tí chulainn centre a jovial atmosphere was in the air as musicians welcomed the throngs of people to the monument. There the proceedings commenced with the unveiling of the monument by two leading Republicans from the South Armagh area, and who were imprisoned for their role in the struggle. There were also a number of wreaths laid from the Republican Movement, various Sinn Féin cumainn as well as a lily for each of the names on the monument, laid by young people from the area. The Roll of Honour was also read aloud by Megan Fearon of South Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin.
Deputy first minister, Martin McGuiness gave the main oration in which he spoke of the importance of remembering Ireland patriot dead. He also said that as Republicans gathered in South Armagh it was not in a solemn mood but one of confidence and pride, which celebrated the lives of each of the volunteers listed on the memorial.
Following the main oration musicians once again took centre stage with a number of ballads and laments accompanied by presentations to the families of the South Armagh patriot dead by Conor Murphy M.P. Amhran na bhFiann then sounded to draw proceedings to a close.
Present at the commemoration was a strong contingent of Ógra Shinn Féin members from throughout Ireland. Speaking following the commemoration, Barry McNally of Ógra Shinn Féin said:
“The impressive memorial unveiled today is a fitting tribute to the 24 names on the South Armagh Roll of Honour. Although there are various memorials throughout South Armagh to volunteers killed over the years this is the first of its kind in the area where all 24 names are inscribed together. The huge attendance at the parade today shows the respect that is shown for the fallen volunteers of the Irish Republican Army and their families.
“The strength of Irish Republicanism is without question in this part of Ireland and this is evident on a daily basis, with widespread support for the republican project being driven forward by Sinn Féin and the continual growth of Sinn Féin in the South Armagh area.
“In the time ahead we must continue to grow and advance to Irish Reunification, for which these volunteers as well as hundreds of other died to achieve. It is then that we can truly honour the memory of all our patriot dead.