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Commemorative Plaque for Archbishop Croke's Ancestral Home in Tralee
15th April, 2011
All were welcome to the unveiling of a wall plaque commemorating Archbishop Croke's ancestral Kerry home on Saturday April 16th 2011. The unveiling took place in The Square Tralee and was jointly organised by the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, Kerry County Committee and Tralee Town Council. Fáilte roimh cách.
Archbishop Croke's successor and Patron of the GAA, Dr. Dermot Clifford performed the ceremony outside Ger Hogan's Store, The Square; a premises once owned by the Thompson and Croke families. Young Thomas William Croke spent many a summer vacation there. In fact, his parents William and Isabella (neé Plummer) first lived in Tralee where their eldest two children were born. They moved to Ballyclough in North Cork to manage the Deane-Freeman Estate. Their third child Thomas William was born in Castlecor and baptised in Kilbrin Church in storied Duhallow.
Upon the sudden death of William in 1834 the Croke family were in dire straits as Isabella and their eight children were without a home. Fr. Thomas Croke, her brother-in-law and PP of Charleville, undertook responsibility for both their welfare and education. Teenager Thomas William Croke studied for the priesthood on the Continent in the Irish Colleges of Paris and Rome. A gifted sportsman, he excelled in his studies but sold his Roman academic awards of silver and gold for Irish Famine Relief in 1847, the year he was ordained priest.
As pastor and Bishop he strode across the Irish, European and New Zealand stages as a force to be reckoned with. Archbishop Croke of Cashel's response of the 18th of December 1884 to Michael Cusack agreeing to become Patron of the newly founded GAA is a document of universal import and is hailed as the GAA's "Magna Carta". Fellow Patron and Land League leader Michael Davitt, wrote that Dr. Croke's "patronage was a tower of strength to the organisation from its infancy".
"Sampla do chách d'uaisleacht agus neart" is the legend on the Liberty Square Croke monument in Thurles and on the Tralee plaque - an example to all of nobility and strength.
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