The Lost Chalice:
Harrowing war-time diaries of Donegal priest led
to poignant discovery When acclaimed musician
Tracey McRory discovered her great-uncle's World
War One journals, little did she realise the journey
it would take her on, as she tells Ivan Little.
Tracey McRory will attend the Mayo Commemoration Day,
marking the 100th aniniversary of world war one, this will
take place in the Mayo Peace Park, Castlebar, at 2.30 pm
on Sunday the 3rd of August 2014.
Tracey, will play the legendry & timeless song "Danny Boy".
Other story Links.
Musician Tracey McRory will complete a remarkable journey in to the unknown as she plays an emotional Remembrance Sunday tribute on one of the very battlefields in Europe where her great-uncle, an army chaplain, was an unsung war hero and whose chalice she found after a transatlantic search.
Father James McRory, who came from Inishowen in Donegal, was shot and wounded in October 1917 as he ministered to soldiers amid the horrors of the trenches at the Battle of Passchendaele on the Western Front, and Tracey never imagined just how amazing a voyage of discovery she was embarking on as she started to research the story of the relative she barely knew existed.
It is a search which began quietly and without fuss in her home county and moved to Belfast and Belgium before its final, completely unforeseen, climax thousands of miles away in America, with the chance unearthing of the chalice – a stunning link to Father James, who had enlisted as a chaplain with the Connaught Rangers, an Irish regiment in the British Army.
In February the small chalice was returned to Tracey after it had been in the possession of another priest in the USA.
James McRory, was born in 1881 in north Donegal and was raised only a mile from the historic Dunree Fort.
It's an area which is still home to all-Ireland champion fiddler Tracey.
Fr James attended the local Desertegney National School and later went on to St Columb's College in Londonderry.
It was in the city that he honed his skills as a footballer, getting special dispensation from his school to play for the local Derry Celtic team.
But his real goal was to become a priest. And after training in Ireland, he was ordained in Rome in 1909, with his first parish in Croy in Glasgow.
With the outbreak of war in 1914, Fr James enlisted as a chaplain with the Connaught Rangers, one of three local priests to do so. Father William Devine from Castlederg and Fr Hugh Smith from Moville were his contemporaries.
The horrors of war had a searing impact on James McRory who kept an astonishing 800-page diary about his experiences – which is now in the Public Record Office in Belfast.
Tracey McRory had no knowledge of the diary or her granduncle's wartime exploits until a few years back when, while researching another subject, she happened upon an article in a Derry diocesan magazine about him.