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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Shot dead on his wedding day: Tragic love stories from Ireland's Civil War

John Kennedy married his fiancé during a break in fighting but was killed later that day.

THIS IS JOHN Kennedy. He was a member of the IRA and fought in the War of Independence and then the Civil War on the pro-treaty side.

But his story did not make it into the history books.

In June 1922, he reported for duty on O’Connell Street. At a break in the fighting, he made his way to the Pro-Cathedral and there he married his fiancé and the love of his life Mary.

Source: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

After the ceremony, the soldier went right back into battle and, sadly, was shot through the lung – fatally wounded.

Mary never married again and they are both buried in different sections in Glasnevin Cemetery, where many items belonging to John are in display at the museum.

While theirs is not the well-known romantic tale of Michael Collins and Kitty Keirnan, it lives on through the historians at the cemetery who have been sharing it with visitors over the last week.

Resident historian at the cemetery, Conor Dodd, told TheJournal.ie that there is huge interest in this romantic side of the fighting, particularly when it comes to Michael Collins.

“We’re approaching 100 years and there are still pieces left for him every Valentine’s Day – I don’t know if people have fallen in love with him or what,” he said.

Source: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Collins was due to be married to Kiernan in a double wedding with her sister Maud and a cousin of Collins.

“It’s tragic, on 22 October, two months to the day he was killed, there are photos of her dressed in black on the day that was supposed to be her wedding day.”

Dodd said that in looking at history, we can often forget that these important characters were just normal human beings that had this other side to them.

“Collins seemed to have been inclined to writing the odd romantic poem. He was romantic in many ways I suppose – in the sense of the women in his life and in terms of Ireland as well.”

The cemetery will run one last tour at 2.30pm today if you and your loved one want to hear more of these stories.

Read: Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are battling to lead the 1916 celebrations>

Read: The Rising: Sinn Féin is booking out the Ambassador Theatre for most of 2016>

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