‘Town Crier’ marks 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy

by Alison O'Hanlon
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Thousands of Irish and members of the Irish diaspora were among the Allied units that landed on the Normandy beaches. 

While Ireland remained neutral during World War Two, many Irish living in North America signed up to join Canadian and American regiments. Similarly, many Irish travelled to the United Kingdom to join the war effort to the fight against the tyranny of Nazism. 

Often overlooked, women played an important role in the D-Day landings in crucial non-combat roles such as codebreakers, ship plotters, radar operators and cartographers.

Councillor Jeff Evans, a member of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, and a ‘Town Crier’ from Holyhead, Wales, travelled aboard on the Stena ferry service to Dublin from Holyhead, Wales, on Thursday, 6th June 2024 and when halfway across the Irish Sea read out a specially written D-Day 80 Proclamation to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. 

In doing so, the Town Crier remembered all those Irish men and women who participated in this historic event to help to liberate France and eventually the rest of Europe from Nazi occupation.

Stena Staff with Town Crier on abroad ship

The D-Day landings were an incredible achievement in military planning and logistics with over one hundred and fifty thousand allied troops successfully storming the now famous Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and Omaha beaches in Normandy to get a foothold in France. Codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’, this military operation signalled the beginning of the end of World War Two.  

The planned invasion was initially due to commence on June the 5th 1944, but only for a critical intervention from Blacksod Lighthouse in County Mayo. A weather report, made by a then 21-year-old Maureen Sweeney, predicted bad weather, leading to the landings being postponed by 24 hours. Historians believe that this weather report was crucial to the success of the D-Day landings the following day.

Richard Cruise, Dún Laoghaire based maritime and railway enthusiast, welcomed Councillor Jeff Evans at Dublin Port and commented that ‘The 80th anniversary provides an opportunity to remember the selfless sacrifice and courage of all those men and women, many of whom were Irish, involved in the D-Day landings, including the many who gave so much to secure the freedoms we all enjoy today. We remember them all!’.

The Town Crier, Councillor Jeff Evans, arrived in Dublin Port on the Stena ferry from Holyhead as was photographed with Stena staff. The Town Crier returned to Holyhead by Stena ferry and once again read out the special commissioned proclamation.

On the evening of the 6th June, ‘Beacons’ and ‘Lamp Lights of Peace’ were lit across the world as part of the remembrance ceremonies with the international tribute being read.

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