James (Jim) Larkin Director and President

Jim Larkin

“To be forgotten is to die twice” – Paul Ricoeur

My name is James (Jim) Larkin.

I have served in the Irish Defence Forces for nearly 38 (thirty-eight) years.  My family have also served 85  years in total.

After serving on the Irish Border between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland in the mid 70’s (seventies) to the 80’s (eighties).  I was posted overseas to serve with the United Nations in 1978/79.  I also served again in the late 90’s (nineties) in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina.  Since retiring from the Irish Defence Forces in 2013 my health declined, and I was close to death.

After I retired from the Irish Army, I relaunched the O.N.E (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women) in Galway.  It had been dormant for 20 (twenty) years.  I was the Chairman and President for the Galway Branch.  The main reason I reactivated this organisation was because I attended the funeral of an old colleague (who had served for more than 31 (thirty-one) years.  I noticed his blue beret of the United Nations and black beret of the Irish Defence Forces placed on his coffin, but no Irish Flag or Army personnel attended.  I followed up on this and was not happy with the outcome.  That is why I re-launched the O.N.E. in Galway.  I try to help ex-soldiers and their families around Galway.  I spent more than 31 (thirty-one) years serving in a Field Military Police Company (in the Irish Defence Forces).  At the moment I am a member of the Retired Military Police Association.

Memorial Wall:

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 The Great War finally ended.  It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history and claimed the lives of an estimated 1,204 (one thousand two hundred and four) men from Galway.

During the time I was Chairman of the O.N.E (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women) I visited Saint Nicholas Church in Galway City.  I saw a Monument there, recognising the men from Galway who fell in The Great War (World War I) I spoke with the Dean of the Church.  I asked him if I could lay a wreath on the 11th November 2017 (11/11/2017) on behalf of the Irish Army Veterans in Galway.  He was pleased for that to happen.  I was the first Irish Army Veteran in Galway to lay a wreath acknowledging the Galway men who died in World War I (1914-1918).  I looked at the Monument and saw 30-50 names on the Cross, so I decided to investigate further.  I went into the Galway City Museum and met a very helpful lady, Helen Bermingham.  She gave me a list of 754 (seven hundred and fifty-four) names of men from Galway who had fallen.  This started me down the road to research as much as possible, how many men from Galway had died in World War I.

There is nothing in Galway to remember the poor souls who fell.  I formed a Committee to assist me in establishing all the names of the Galway men who died in The Great War (World War I), home to the county of their birth.  The Committee Secretary, Grainne Kelly came up with this quote “To be forgotten is to die twice” (Paul Ricoeur).  These words tell a story in Galway History.


I started to look for a site in Galway City to erect a Memorial Wall to honour these men.   A member of Galway City Council showed the Committee  a site.  In order to investigate further about the Galway Men who died I needed the help of an historian.  I met with William Henry (Historian and Author).  I found his books and after reading them I was shocked to discover the number of Military dead was over 1,204 (one thousand, two hundred and four).  William Henry and Jacqueline O’Brien met me, and I discovered they had many years of research into this part of Galway History.  I explained to them that I was trying to erect a Memorial Wall with all the names of the Galway Men who died in World War I.  I was pleased when William Henry agreed to come on board to help me with this project.

I checked out other projects throughout Ireland.  Michael Feeney, an old Army colleague of mine established THE PEACE PARK in Castlebar, Co Mayo.  I discussed with him what my project was all about, and he told me how I should go about it.  Another place I went to was Kilkenny where I spoke to Donald Croghan and the Committee.  I also met up with Committees from Waterford, Wexford, Sligo, Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ennis in Co Clare, Limerick, Cork and Dublin.  It was then it dawned on me that Galway is the second largest County in Ireland, yet we have nothing to commemorate the Galway men who died in The Great War (World War I).  I asked around in Galway and was informed there was a Monument to the Galway dead of World War I.  I found it beside the County Buildings.  I was shocked.  It was not specifically for those who served and died in The Great War.   It is covered by a bush.  This is supposed to represent the 1,204 (one thousand, Two hundred and Four) men from Galway who died in The Great War (World War I).  It was called “the war to end all wars”.

In 2017 I started to look for a site in Galway City where I could erect a wall to include all the 1,204 (one thousand, Two hundred and Four) names and all their information.  I tried to have it erected for the 100-year Anniversary of World War I in 2018.  However it proved very difficult to get a suitable site. As a result the committee fell apart. The person who assisted me greatly at that time was Catherine Gagneux from the French Embassy.  We had the idea to put all the names of the Galway men on five banners.  The banners were completed with the assistance of William Henry.  They went on display in Saint Nicholas Church.  This proved to be very successful.

I had to start all over again.  It meant rebuilding the Committee, with the help of Dolores Brogan-Curran who offered to come on board.  Seamus Philbin  stayed with us.  Dolores brought  Robert Madden, on board.  Catherine Gagneux had also stayed with us.   We approached another City Council Member.  He brought, Dolores and  I to a site in the Claddagh.  There we spoke to locals and they were in agreement to build it in the Claddagh.  This site has fallen through due to Planning Permission being refused in the Claddagh Basin.


Virtual Website and Database:

Dolores Brogan-Curran and I discussed setting up a Website for the project.  Dolores suggested it should be a Virtual Memorial site and after she spoke with  Robert Madden. Robert agreed to design  the database and website.  Dolores and I  had a meeting with Operations Manager John Gill  from  N.U.I.G. (National University of Ireland, Galway).  They offered to help us with the Website which would include all the details of 1,204 (one thousand, two hundred and Four ) men who died in World War I. However due to the Covid 19 lockdown that was postponed.

The aim of our  Virtual Website and Database is to reach out to Irish people throughout the world and the descendants of the men who fell in The Great War from Galway.  Hopefully, this could assist us completing the list of names for the wall.  Their names are on walls throughout the world yet they are not in the County of their birth.   Galway men have fought, not only in the British Army, Navy and Air Force but have also fought with the following armies:  Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, United States and South African.  Whatever their motives for enlisting, we believe these men fought and died, and deserve to be remembered and honoured by the County of their birth.