This exhibition has been prepared by Irish Veterans, a Registered Charity established to research and commemorate the global military experience of the Irish and Irish diaspora.
Irish Veterans was borne out of the efforts of Dubliner Declan Hughes to identify those Irish-born who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. At the beginning of his work only one Irish individual was known; this figure has now risen to thirty-two. Declan’s work resulted in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund sending their ½ scale travelling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall to Ireland, where An Taoiseach laid a wreath in memory of the Irish. The Charity, founded following this event, has benefited from the efforts of industrious Board Members such as the late Brendan Dodd and late John Hawkins, Ron Howko and Mike and Libby Coyne. In recent years it has benefitted from the vision of James Sikora, a Corkman and US Army veteran, who has been working towards the establishment of an international-standard Irish Veterans Heritage Centre to be located in Kinsale. This Medal of Honor exhibition is a small step towards that goal.
This exhibition is the latest in a series of events Irish Veterans have undertaken to explore the global Irish military diaspora. In 2015 Irish Veterans Chapter #1 was dedicated at The White House, Kinsale, and named for Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Medal of Honor recipient. The Chapter was opened in the presence of His Excellency Kevin O’Malley, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and members of Michael’s family, including his parents Dan and Maureen. A number of additional Chapters are now being launched in the United States. Among the many other initiatives of Irish Veterans has been a series of talks, such as the discussion of Irish contributions to D-Day attended by His Excellency Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Ireland.