Not many people know that one of the seven founder members of the Gaelic Athletic Association was a serving RIC officer. The following is an extract from a
press release issued by the GAA on the 19th November 2009. At a ceremony in Deansgrange a new headstone was unveiled to D.I. MacCarthy.
As part of the final stages of the GAA's 125 Year Celebrations events organised to honour the founding fathers of the Association took place today (19 November 2009) at Deansgrange and Glasnevin Cemeteries in Dublin.
A new headstone was unveiled at Deansgrange at the final resting place of Thomas St George McCarthy. This ceremony was attended by representatives of both an Garda Siochána and the PSNI as an acknowledgement of McCarthy's membership of the RIC.
Afterwards a wreath was placed at the grave of Michael Cusack and a refurbished headstone for John Wyse Power was also unveiled.
Yesterday's events mean that all resting places of the seven founding fathers of the Association are marked and completes a project established as part of the Association's 125 Celebrations.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Criostóir Ó Cuana lauded the vision of the Association's fathers and singled out John Arnold and Jarlath Burns for their work in tracing the resting places of all those present at the first meeting in Thurles on November 1 1884 and the work they have overseen on those graves that required attention.
He said: "It is fitting that we should pay homage to those men to led the way 125 years ago and these events were arranged as a token of our deep appreciation for the early work, graft and passion of the founding members of the Association all of those years ago. Without their invaluable input we would not have the wonderful, voluntary, vibrant Association that we are so proud of today and that illuminates so many lives across the island and around the globe.
"I would also like to acknowledge and pay special tribute to the members of the PSNI who travelled to Dublin to join us for these events. Their presence was welcome and offers up another indication of the changed times that we live in. I thank them for the work that they do in promoting our games within their ranks."
These events follow the re-dedication of the grave of John McKay and the unveiling of a new headstone at St Mary's Cemetery in London two weeks ago.
McCarthy, born in Bansha, Co Tipperary, attended the first meeting in 1884 while he was stationed in Templemore as a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. He had joined the RIC in 1882, having studied successfully for his entrance exams at Michael Cusack's Dublin Academy. Thomas St. George McCarthy subsequently served as an RIC Officer in Derry, Tyrone, Louth, Kildare, Limerick, Mayo and Longford. He married Mary Lucy Lynch and had a daughter Kathleen - an Abbey Actress - and a son George, who died in Canada in 1978. Having retired from the RIC in 1912 Thomas St. George McCarthy lived in Dublin. Though not directly involved in latter years in the GAA he was a frequent attendee at games in Croke Park. He was also a keen rugby follower having played for Ireland in 1882.
Thomas St George McCarthy died in 1943 and was buried in Deansgrange Cemetery in an unmarked grave. In 1959 Fr. William Ryan PP Orristown, Co. Meath bought the grave, possibly because he was a friend of McCarthy's sister Clara Geraldine Mary who was a nun in Kells until her death in 1956. When Rule 21of the GAA Rulebook was removed earlier this decade, a trophy named in honour of Thomas St. George McCarthy was put up for inter Garda/PSNI Competition. For 66 years the grave of this Tipperary man remained unmarked. This was rectified today in the presence of representatives An Garda Siochána and the PSNI at Deansgrange Ceremony.
Michael Cusack, one of the pioneering figures in the early years of the Association, was a teacher from Carron in Co. Clare born in 1847. He was one of the driving forces behind the move to set up an Association for the Promotion and Preservation of Gaelic Games and Athletics. He died in 1906.
John Wyse Power was born at Knockhouse near Waterford City in 1859. He was a journalist working with the Leinster
Leader at the time of the 1884 Thurles meeting. He lived in Dublin for many years where he was Chairman of the Dublin Co. Board. He was a Fenian and a great
lover of the Irish Language. John Wyse Power died in 1926.
Photographs of the ceremony
And also the Irish historian and author Turtle Bunbury has written an excellent and detailed history of the man - link to his website from here