Patsy Dougan in his passport
By Ray O’Hanlon
Patsy Dougan is no longer resting anonymously in a Bronx cemetery.
This Saturday, September 22, a headstone over his grave in Old St. Raymond’s Cemetery will be officially dedicated – 81 years after Dougan was interred.
The headstone has been placed by family members, a group of volunteers and members of the County Antrim Society.
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As Michael Jackson reported in a recent issue of the Echo, Dougan lived an all too short life that was fascinating even as the circumstances of his death, and subsequent burial, were tragic.
Wrote Jackson: “Having survived the slaughter of the First World War while fighting for the British Army, Patsy joined the Irish during the War of Independence and was once sentenced to death for his role in an ambush in County Cavan. However, he would not meet his end until 16 years later in New York.
“On May 30, 1937, Patsy died of pneumonia and was buried in an unmarked grave at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx – over 3,000 miles away from his family in Belfast.
“The whereabouts of his grave and, indeed, many of the details of Patsy’s life were almost lost to history but for the research of his nephew, Tomás Ó Dubhagáin.
The dedication ceremony for the gravestone, which carries the inscription “Volunteer Patrick Dougan,” will include an oration by Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey.
A statement from the organizers of the headstone dedication said that it was erected “with the help of the Antrim Society of New York, his family, comrades and friends in Ireland and in America including Joe McGuigan, Gabe Megahey, Marian Reynolds, Paddy Dolan, Cormac Murrihy, Sean Mackin and Paul Doris.
Those attending the ceremony are meeting outside St. Raymond’s at 2700 Gifford Avenue at the corner of Balcom Avenue. More from Sean Downes at (212)248-3232.