Remembering the 'Men of Iron' of 1911
The men and women of the 1911 Lock Out were remembered recently when the annual wreath-laying took place at the Lock Out Gate in The Faythe.
Those gathered also remembered the sculptor of the gate, Peter Hodnett, who passed away in July 2014. Mr Hodnett had designed and sculpted the 'Men of Iron' Lock Out Gate, as well as the 'Eternal Flame' sculpture in New Ross. Members of Mr Hodnett's family were special guests at this year's ceremony.
The event commemorates the leaders of the 1911 Lock Out, along with the 700 men and their families who were affected by the Lock Out in 1911. It lasted six months and saw workers locked out of three Wexford town foundries, The Star, Doyle's and Pierce's after they were prohibited from joining a union.
Helen Corish Wylde, whose grandfather Richard Corish was one of the leaders of the Lock Out, said that the event takes place every year to 'commemorate the men and their families who suffered undue hardship and deprivation.'
The event was attended by the Mayor of Wexford Cllr Jim Moore, Minister of State Paul Kehoe, local county councillors, District Manager Angie Laffan and members of the Lock Out Committee, including Chairman Cllr Davy Hynes who spoke briefly about the legacy of the Lock Out.
Laying a wreath at the site, Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Jim Moore remarked upon how the issues that came to light during the Lock Out were still relevant to this day, pointing out that there were still many who did not have a voice in society.
'Times are different but the challenges are still the same and what happened in 1911 still resonates to this day. It's up to us to represent those who don't have a voice.'
Cllr Moore said that he was delighted to be able to pay tribute to Mr Hodnett, saying that he remembered being in school with the sculptor and noted that, at that time, his talents lay in metalwork classes.
He felt it was apt that Peter, who he knew as Peadar, had designed and crafted the Lock Out gate which commemorated an event that affected so many who were employed in the metalwork industry in Wexford in the early 1900s.
He added that ironwork was something that Wexford had a unique talent for at that time and many of the county's emigrants set up such businesses in the USA and other parts of the world. Cllr Moore remarked that he had visited the site of one such business in Savannah, Georgia the previous week and stood at the gates of Kehoe's Ironwork yard.
'No more than Pierce's Foundry, Kehoe's is long gone now but the gates are still there and standing at those, and then at the Lock Out gate, does show how heritage and history are intertwined; it's a small world.'