The Irish Connection of Anselmus

In June 2019 we were at the solemn presentation of the Hugh O’Flaherty Award in Killarney, Ireland; we were there at the invitation of the Memorial Society Committee.

What preceded.
In April 2016 we, family of Anselmus Musters, made a trip to Rome to visit a number of people and places who could help us with information about him. One of the places we visited there was Campo Santo Teutonico where a tile was recently unveiled in honour of Mgr. Hugh O’Flaherty.
From that moment on we got in touch with the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society in Killarney. We exchanged information back and forth and we also had the intention to meet with the board and members. This was not successful, but in 2018 we learned that on 4 June 2019 the commemoration of 75 years of liberation from Rome would take place. Although the remembrance was all about peacekeeping missions from the Irish army, we indicated that we would like to be there and make a connection with our uncle Anselmus who worked with Hugh O’Flaherty in the Rome Escape Line.
In February 2019, we received a message from Jerry O’Grady, committee chairman, that we were very welcome to attend the Hugh O’Flaherty Award ceremony and that we would discuss how Killarney could be introduced to Anselmus and his role in the Rome Escape Line.
So it happened that in May 2019 we received an invitation to be present at the ceremony and at the reception that would precede.

Off to Ireland
The announcement

An announcement in the paper

                                 and in the street 

It was very special. First, the reception: with people in high positions in the government, the army and dignitaries of the Irish Catholic Church. For example, Minister of Defence Paul Kehoe was present for the presentation. They met at the reception for a snack and a drink while in front of St. Mary’s Church a band was playing. We spoke with several people and Senator Paul Coghlan, also a member of the Memorial Society Committee, who acted like ‘a spider in the network’, made sure that we did not miss a thing at the big table. It was nice that we had already met the senator the day before with chairman Jerry O’Grady. He made it easy for us and he filled our glasses on time as a good host.

They both are (in the middle) on this picture welcoming the military officers

With interest from residents of Killarney and tourists, we all went to church for the official ceremony. The church was entirely set up for Hugh O’Flaherty, the Award and the Irish peacekeeping missions.
In his introductory speech, Jerry O’Grady expressed his welcome to all present people and also to us, family of Anselmus, one of the heroes of the Rome Escape Line.
The official Award Ceremony was preceded by a performance of “GOD HAS NO LAND”, a “one-man” play about the work of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty in occupied Rome during the war. It is written, produced and performed by Donie Courtney.


After this act the presentation of the Hugh O’Flaherty Award 2019 followed. Some pictures:

The regional media
The regional media paid attention to the ceremony the next morning.
Of course, we went looking for the local newspaper next morning to look at their report: Kerry’s eye, a local newspaper:

There were also reports on the Internet about the presentation of the O’Flaherty Award:

Exhibition in the library.
An exhibition was organized in the library of Killarney in the week of the presentation of the Hugh O’Flaherty Award. Chairman O’Grady had invited us to bring texts and photographs about Anselmus and to see together what could be added to the exhibition. The exhibition that we had set up in 2018 with John van Dooren and the local history circle in Ossendrecht (Netherlands) was of particular use to us. Chairman Jerry O’Grady received an explanation from Jac Raaijmakers, and we have left many documents in Killarney; they are added to a special panel about Anselmus and to the Society’s archive.



You will find Hugh O’Flaherty in many places
We discovered during our stay in Killarney that you are reminded of Hugh O’Flaherty in many places in the city.


Not only in Killarney,  also in Cahersiveen, where O’Flaherty was buried in 1963, are numerous places that remind him.

Museum  Church and churchyard

In the pub