FR. GRIFFIN MONUMENT
Fr. Michael Griffin was an Irish Catholic priest who was killed during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. He was abducted by British forces from his home in Galway city and his body was found a week later in a bog near Barna, a village west of the city. He had been shot through the head and his body was badly decomposed.
Fr. Griffin was suspected of being involved in the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and of having information about the killing of a British officer by the IRA. He was interrogated and tortured by the British, but he refused to reveal anything, even under the threat of death. He remained faithful to his priestly vows and to the cause of Irish freedom.
His death caused outrage and grief among the people of Galway and beyond. He was seen as a martyr and a hero by many Irish nationalists. His funeral was attended by thousands of people, including Éamon de Valera, the leader of Sinn Féin and later the president of Ireland. His grave in Loughrea became a place of pilgrimage and prayer.
In 1935, this monument was erected in his memory at Cloch Sgoilte, the place where his body was found. The monument consists of a Celtic cross with a bronze portrait of Fr. Griffin and reliefs depicting scenes from his life and death. The inscription reads: “Erected by the people of Galway city and county to commemorate Fr Michael Griffin who would not break the seal of confession”. The monument is a testament to Fr. Griffin’s courage, loyalty and sacrifice.
The monument is also a reminder of Ireland’s troubled past and its struggle for independence from Britain. It is one of many nationalist monuments that dot the Irish countryside, commemorating the heroes and martyrs of various rebellions and wars. The monument reflects the political and religious sentiments of its time, when Ireland was divided by civil war and partition.
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