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Col Clancy takes the salute at 104 years

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  • Col Clancy takes the salute at 104 years

    SEAN Clancy, the Clonlara man who was in Dublin Castle in 1922 when Michael Collins accepted the hand-over of power from the British administration, celebrates his 104th birthday this Thursday.
    But Mr Clancy who later rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Irish Army says this particular birthday is "not that important".
    "I had my 100th a few years ago and that was an important occasion alright," he said.
    Thursday, he reckons "is going to be very quiet. I already had a celebration. I was down in my own native home (of Clonlara) on Saturday and we had a big celebration that day when neighbours and people I knew in my younger days were there."
    Now living in a nursing home in Dublin, Col Clancy continues to keep up with events both nationally and in his native county of Clare and is a devoted newspaper reader.
    Men who have played prominent roles in Irish society also come to visit him, among them former taoisigh Liam Cosgrave, Charlie Huaghey and John Bruton.
    But he has never been tempted to write an account of his long and eventful life.
    "I haven't the strength of the pen to bother my head with it," he said.
    Besides, "I met so many prominent men who probably gave greater service than I did and they didn't write memoirs. I feel the same. I would only be annoying people," he said.
    However, when pressed, he will admit to being proud of having served his country.
    "Anybody who would serve their country should be proud," he said.
    The young Sean Clancy joined the Volunteers in East Clare in 1918 before moving to Dublin and the Dublin Brigade in 1919.
    And he has a very clear memory of January 16, 1922, the day the seat of British rule in Ireland was ceremoniously handed over to Michael Collins, then head of the Provisional Government.
    "We got instructions to attend at the castle on the occasion of the ceremony. I remember when we entered the castle that morning. The place was full of British troops. The bands were playing, the British flags were flying.
    "In due course, an old dilapidated taxi arrive and in it was Michael Collins and one other. As he alighted from the taxi, Collins was approached by a British official dressed in a morning suit. He was a very well-built, good-looking man and he had a watch chain across his chest.
    "As Collins alighted, the official said: 'Mr Collins you are seven minutes late. You kept the Lord Lieutenant waiting.' Collins hesitated and looked at him: 'You people are here 700 years. What bloody difference will seven minutes make now when you are leaving.' The reply the official gave to Collins is not recorded."
    Col Clancy, who enlisted in the National Army in May 1922, recalls Michael Collins as an "exceptional man, a marvellous leader."
    "I was lucky to meet him a few times but I won't say I knew him," he said.
    The Civil War, he said, was difficult when comrade turned on former comrade but he believes it had to be done as the majority had supported the Treaty.
    Mr Clancy received his first Army commission in 1924 and remained in the Army until 1959. During his career he served in Limerick, Castlebar, GHQ Dublin, Mullingar, and Cathal Brugha Barracks and Griffith Barracks in Dublin.
    He met his wife, Agnes Creigh of Castlebar "way back in the 20s" and they had five children, all of whom are still alive - Brendan and John (both born in Limerick), Fintan, Máire and Donal. Agnes died 18 years ago.
    "I have 13 grandchildren who are all well and happy and 20 great-grandchildren who are all happy in themselves also and I am very pleased with them all," he said.
    Following his retirement, Mr Clancy worked in a management position for a while and also in a volunteer capacity for Fine Gael.
    Mr Clancy admires the nation we have become over the past 80 years.
    "I give credit to all parties,. The country has developed in a marvellous way. There is great credit due to the people of all parties who built it," he said.
    Of his own great age, he said: "The Lord has been very good and kind to me. I never had any serious illness in my life."
    But he also hopes he will be granted some little bit more time in this world.

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  • #2
    One word, Legend.
    To close with and kill the enemy in all weather conditions, night and day and over any terrain


    • #3
      no better way to describe him, lets hope he stays healthy and happy
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.