War of Independence Medal On Display At Newry And Mourne Museum

Newry and Mourne Museum will be displaying a number of items for the Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising as part of their ‘All Politics is Local’ exhibition until 4 September 2016.

The Irish Medal
An Irish War of Independence medal. 

The items on display include an Irish War of Independence Medal, a prison door card from the Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast and a historical photograph featuring individuals who attended the 50 Year Anniversary Commemorations of the Rising that were held in Newry in 1966. These items originally belonged to Thomas Kelly, who was Chairman of Newry Urban District Council from 1958 until 1962 and have been generously loaned to Newry and Mourne Museum by Dr Tom Kelly, grandson of Thomas Kelly and former Chairman of Newry City Centre Partnership.

Kelly was awarded his War of Independence medal, sometimes called the ‘Black and Tan’ medal, in 1941. The prison door card was hung on the door of his cell in Crumlin Road Gaol and the 50 Year Anniversary Commemorations photograph includes Roddy Connolly, son of James Connolly, who was behind the emergence of the Irish Socialist Republican and executed as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising.

Born in Newry in 1903, Thomas Kelly was a volunteer in the War of Independence and was arrested in May 1921. He was sentenced to 15 years in Crumlin Road Gaol for possession of firearms but had an early release in late 1922. He went on to be a prominent trade unionist in Northern Ireland and was the first Irish Labour Councillor to be elected in local government. He passed away in 1969.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Mickey Ruane said, “On behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, I would like to thank Dr Tom Kelly for loaning these fascinating artefacts to the Museum for display. They will help to show how local people played an important role in such a crucial period in Irish history. These items will be popular with many visitors over the coming summer months and will make a very topical addition to the Museum’s ‘All Politics is Local’ exhibition.”

For further information please contact Newry and Mourne Museum by telephone on 028 3031 3182 or by email museum@newryandmourne.gov.uk.

Newry and Mourne Museum is open to the public seven days a week with admission free of charge. For opening hours, information on events and exhibitions, other services and bookings please phone 028 3031 3178 or visit: