As part of the 1916 Centenary Commemorations each scout group in the country was being presented with a Tricolour and a copy of the Proclamation of Independence by members of the armed forces. In Fingal Scout County it was decided to do this at dawn on 20th March in Newbridge Demense in Donabate, Co. Dublin. In order to get as many scouts there as possible for that early in the morning, it was decided that we should camp over night.
The Beavers decided not to attend en mass as it was going to be very cold. We most likely would have had enough tents if all members of #89thBremore wanted to attend, but in the end only a couple of hardy Beavers did attend so that they could be with their parents and big brothers.
The scouts and cubs were dropped off in the car park at 7pm. It was starting to get dark so the gear had to be unloaded quickly so that the tents could at least start to go up while there was s bit of light. That didn’t last too long and we ended up pitching the tents in the dark.
Since it was the centenary of cub scouting as well, one of the bus was chosen to receive the flag and proclamation from the Chief Scout and Lord Mayor of Fingal. Alex Denver is our County Cub rep so he went with Brendan for rehearsal of the ceremony that was going to take place at dawn. By the time they got back most of the cubs were heading for bed, but the scouts wanted to stay up and go to the playground, which was left open for the night. Meanwhile, the scouters present sat by their tents and cooked some sausages and had tea and biscuits.It was a pleasant way to spend a cold night.
By midnight though, it was time for everyone to go to bed. It took a while to settle down. There were some who wanted to stay up all night and some who wanted to sleep, but they were in the same tents. The girls wanted to “visit” the boys but were told that this was not allowed. It didn’t stop them trying though. Let’s just say it was a long night.
@ 5:45am everyone was roused from the little sleep they got by David Clarke, our County Chairperson, clanging a billy with a ladle. It was the worst sound in the world. The scouts and cubs were dragged bleary eyed from their tents. They had to wear their uniform. Some of them slept in it to make it easier when they got up. We assembled on grass in front of Newbridge House. The Chief Scout had arrived and we were ready to begin. Some local politicians and newspapers were there too. We stood and listened to the Proclamation of Independence being read by 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Stott from the Reserve Defence Forces, 2nd Cavalry Squadron. He then presented a Tricolour to the Chief Scout and there was a moment of pause for reflection before we made our way to the flag poles beside the house where the flag was raised while Amhran na bhFiann was played by a lone piper.
Each group was then presented with their own Tricolour and a copy of the Proclamation of Independence by the Chief Scout, Christ McCann and the Lord Mayor of Fingal Cllr. David O Connor. When each group had been presented, we all gathered on the steps of the house for a group photo and some individual group photos if that makes sense.
When all of the photos had been taken we made our way back to the campsite and had some breakfast, which was provided by the county. Each group was also presented with a Commemorative Necherchief in the Fingal colours of Yellow and Black with a camp badge on the back. Each participant on the camp also received a badge for their uniform presented by our Group Leader Brendan.
By 8am we were breaking camp and packing up. It’s never as much fun packing away as it is setting up a camp, but at least the weather was dry and it actually wasn’t as cold as it was supposed to be.
The whole event was very special. Probably more special than we all realise. This was truly a once in a lifetime event and the significance of it might be lost until the next one comes around in another 100 years when our great grand children ask their parents what we did to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of our nation.