IT was an Easter Monday to remember at Rockhill House as some 230 current and retired members of the Irish Defence Forces gathered at their former garrison to enjoy a first glimpse of its revival.
The day was co-ordinated by Irish Army Col Declan O’Carroll (Rtd), and organised by owners, the Molloy family, in recognition of the proud military history of Rockhill. The Molloys were keen that the soldiers who served there should be the first to see how their former base is being transformed.
Events commenced at 10.30am with Mass celebrated in the new Orangerie by Army Chaplain Father Alan Ward. Fr Ward travelled from Finner Camp as part of a significant delegation of serving Army staff in attendance at the event.
Commandant John Martin of the 28th Batallion made an address that paid tribute to the camaraderie of the soldiers and former soldiers who endured the best and worst of times together in Letterkenny and that praised the vision, courage and work of the Molloy family in bringing life back to a place that was on its way down.
He said: “It gives me great pleasure to be here as acting OC, 28th battalion, to say a few words. I think we’re beginning to get a measure of the affection that we have as old soldiers, and maybe moderately young soldiers, for this particular location – and the relief that we all feel that it is being put to good use and that it is not being allowed to fall apart. That is something that we’re really pleased about and your presence here is a vote of confidence in the work that is being carried out.”
Following Commandant Martin’s speech, there were words of thanks from Rockhill General Manager Donal Cox before group photographs were taken and refreshments served.