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‘Stranding’ stone of Humbert’s first footstep

News

Descendant of the famous French general will officiate at ceremony in Kilcummin

Áine Ryan

THE first stone that General Jean Joseph Ambale Humbert stepped on to when he landed on Kilcummin beach on August 22, 1798, will feature at a re-dedication ceremony at 1pm on Saturday next, July 30. The ceremony will be part of 2016 celebrations, ‘In Humbert’s Footsteps’, the award-winning series of re-enactment events marking the so-called ‘Year of the French’, now an annual part of the Kilcummin calendar.   
Among the guests-of-honour will be Aude Schifferling, a descendant of the famous general, who will read the proclamation read when the French arrived on the remote Co Mayo strand.
She is understood to be the first Humbert descendant to visit Co Mayo since 1877. The Canadian Ambassador, Kevin Vickers, will also attend the festivities.   
According to organiser and local historian, Stephen Dunford, contemporary eye-witness accounts of the French landing in 1798 identified the first stone stepped on to by Humbert. Folklore sources states that the stone was moved to the nearby townland of Banagher on the centenary of the French landing. Its return was facilitated by Derek Kerrigan and his family.
Next Saturday’s celebrations include a living history 1798 military camp, skirmishing French soldiers, English Redcoats and Irish pikemen and women.