The 155th anniversary commemorations honouring Admiral William Brown took place on Saturday, March 3, last with remembrance ceremonies taking place in Foxford and also thousands of miles away in his adopted home of Buenos aires, Argentina.
Admiral William Brown is acknowledged and celebrated as ‘the father of Argentina’s Navy.’ Brown who was born in Foxford in 1777 has a city in Argentina called Citidad Admiralte Brown with a population of 600,000 people named after him as well as 1,112 streets, 320 parks and 4 football stadiums.
Revered as a hero of a young Argentina in his adopted homeland, Admiral Brown had his heroic story transcended and retold to Foxford natives by the late JJ O’Hara who founded the Admiral Brown Society and campaigned successfully for his memory to be honoured.
JJ O’Hara’s remarkable work resulted in over 70 Mayo men and women travelling to Argentina in 2007 to pay homage to Admiral Brown. Sadly JJ O’Hara’s untimely death in 2008 robbed the Foxford community of a wonderful ambassador, however the Admiral Brown Society has endeavoured to keep his vision alive.
The ceremony in Foxford commenced with a military march which included the Irish Naval Service and the Irish Army who departed from the Mayfly Hotel and proceeded to Saint Michael’s Church for a special Mass in which Admiral Brown was eulogised by Fr Padraig Costello PP and Fr Herbert Wolf.
The Argentine Ambassador Dr Maria Esther Bondanza was a special guest and she was accompanied by Argentine Naval Attache, Group Captain Alejandro Amoros, and Irish Naval Service Commodor, Mark Mellett.
Speaking about the day Oliver Murphy of the Admiral Brown Society said, “The sermon was lovely and the commemorations went very well. We were delighted to have the Argentine Ambassador Maria Esther Bondanza here. Mayo man Commodore Mark Mellett was also here with 11 members of the Irish Naval Service, and we also had Commandant Mary Carroll and a contingent from the Renmore Barracks.”
Mr Murphy said there was a good community attendance. Honorary president of the Admiral Brown Society Louise O’Hara, daughter of the late JJ O’Hara, was in attendance alongside her mother Bernie O’Hara. Current chairman and brother of the founder Gus O’Hara was also present.
Mr Murphy concluded, ”It’s great that the values and the huge contribution of JJ O’Hara are being reflected now in Foxford. He played a huge role in raising the profile of Admiral Brown and he deserves huge praise for what he achieved. The Admiral Brown Society is now keeping that spirit going.”
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