The inspiration for the monument at the Rath Cross, just north of Ashbourne, comes from a poem written by Thomas Ashe. The poem is called ‘Let me carry your cross for Ireland’ and the monument was erected to remember the events of Friday, 28th of April 1916. Thomas Ashe was, on this day, the commander of the Volunteer Force which laid siege to the R.I.C. Barracks, located just south of the cross.
The names of the two volunteers killed in the encounter, Thomas Raferty and John Crenigan, are inscribed on the monument. Nine others were killed in the ensuing battle.
The last verse of the poem is:
‘Let me carry your cross for Ireland, Lord!
For Ireland weak with tears,
For the aged man of the clouded brow,
And the child of tender years,
For the empty homes of her golden plains,
For the hopes of her future, too
Let me carry your cross for Ireland, Lord!
For the cause of Roisin Dubh.’
An excellent account of the Battle of Ashbourne, by Noel Francis Tier, is available here.