The Chair of the Fianna Fáil Coiste 1916 Commemoration Committee Éamon Ó Cuív TD has today launched a unique collection of memorabilia relating to the Easter Rising.
The exhibition is on display at the Fianna Fáil stand at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois and will remain open to the public until Thursday evening. Some 80 items of historical interest relating to the life of Captain John Hitzen, the officer who accepted the surrender of Commandant Éamon deValéra and who would later become an honorary member of the old IRA, will be on display.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “As the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising approaches the papers and memorabilia of Captain Edo John Hitzen (July 1886 – July 1979), the officer who accepted the surrender of Commandant Éamon deValéra, will be on display at the Ploughing Championships. The items have been made available to Fianna Fáil by the great grandniece of the Captain, Anne Hearsey.
“Captain Hitzen and Éamon deValéra had a remarkable friendship which began in the most peculiar manner imaginable. Captain Hitzen was the officer in charge who accepted the surrender of deValéra at Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital on Grand Canal Street in Dublin following the Easter Rising. He would later develop a close relationship with deValéra following the end of the War of Independence and the Civil War and was even made an honorary member of the Old IRA.
“Captain Hitzen and deValéra continued to correspond with one another throughout their later lives, even when diplomatic relations between Ireland and Great Britain remained strained during the ‘Economic War’. On April 3rd 1948 Captain Hitzen, along with his wife and daughter, were the guest of E and M Companies of the 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Old IRA. It was on this occasion that Captain Hitzen returned the Flag of Truce under which deValéra surrendered the Boland’s Mill garrison.
“Over 80 items of historical interest relating to this remarkable friendship will be on display at the Fianna Fáil stand throughout the Ploughing Championships next week. Everyone is invited to attend and I look forward to explaining the history behind these unique items at the event.”