Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Che statue for Galway from where his greatgrandmother Ana Lynch hailed

Posted in Ana Lynch greatgrandmother of Che Guevara hailed from Galway, Che statue for Galway? by sheelanagigcomedienne on May 24, 2012

An image of what the monument would look like.

This is the proposed statue of Che Guevara for Galway that caused  a hullabaloo.

Will they allow it? We’ll have to wait and see as they decide whether it will be good for trade/tourism in these hard times or will they let the Irish American lobby over-rule.

 ‘Che’ statue on Salthill Prom sparks outcry

March 2, 2012 – 8:15am

Project is slammed for having potential to damage Galway around the world

By Dermot Keys

Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara has become a 20th century icon but plans for his Galway heritage to be celebrated with a five-metre high monument on the Salthill Promenade is already sparking an outcry.

The project is still in the planning stage but the decision to honour Guevara’s Galway connections with a monument has previously received the unanimous approval of Galway City Council. The Argentine revolutionary’s Irish ancestry can be traced back to Galway through his paternal greatgrandmother, Ana Isabel Lynch.


Che with his parents

This week, however, businessman Declan Ganley described the plan as having the potential to “damage the reputation of Galway around the world”. And US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Chairperson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also called for the proposed monument to be rejected.

The commemorative sculpture will be entirely funded by the Cuban and Argentine Embassies and a design by Simon McGuiness will now go before the Galway City Council’s Working Group for approval.

Simon McGuinness told the Galway City Tribune that the image is a “total homage” to Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic 1968 Che poster, which was based upon a photograph by Alberto Korda.



Che Guevara’s Irish Roots  By Brian Rohan

Last summer in Bolivia, government authorities scoured the countryside in search of a skeleton with no hands. Eventually, the corpse was found and its identity verified It was Che Guevara, the Latin American revolutionary who was “disappeared” in October, 1967.

The discovery, on a remote mountainside outside Vallegrande — helped solve questions surrounding the death of the enigmatic Guevara. After a failed peasant revolt, Guevara had been surrounded and killed by government forces, who amputated Che’s hands as proof of his death. The body was buried secretly, in an unmarked grave, in the hopes of not creating a martyr. Of course, the attempt failed. In the 20 years since his death, Guevara’s long-haired and fiery image has become world-famous among everyone from armed revolutionaries to rock-and-roll bands looking to sell T-shirts. Still, much of Che Guevara’s life remains a mystery.

One little-known fact about Ernesto Guevara (“Che” was a childhood nickname) is that he was of Irish heritage. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1928, the first child of Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna. Ernesto Guevara Lynch’s mother, Ana Isabel Lynch, with whom Che’s family lived for years and to whom Che grew especially close, was a descendant of immigrants who had sailed to Argentina from County Galway, Ireland.

As a white-skinned Argentinean descended from local nobility on his mother’s side, Che lived among the more privileged ranks of his country’s class- and race-conscious society. The family plantation was lost after a series of poor investments made by Che’s father, and the family was forced to move into a fifth-floor apartment with Ana Isabel Lynch. It was in these years that Che grew close to Grandma Lynch.

Che rugby

Che the rugby player

In time, Che rebelled against the class structures of Latin American society, and sought to lead the continent’s poor in a Marxist revolt against both domestic dictators and capitalist imperialism. He became world-famous as the right-hand man to a young Fidel Castro, in the improbable overthrow of Cuba’s Batista regime.

Guevara, a starry-eyed, impetuous spirit, grew tired of post-revolution life and thought little of Castro’s offer of a position in Cuban government. He wanted to return to the continent, where he saw ideal conditions for a peasant revolt in the mountains of Bolivia. Before leaving the island, Guevara discarded a wristwatch given him by Castro in favor of an old gold one belonging to his father, a family heirloom passed on from Grandma Lynch. Guevara would later be killed while wearing that watch in Bolivia.


_billycameron. Galway cllr

Galway labour Cllr Billy Cameron

Billy Cameron, a colorful local politician here, never expected to set off an international incident. “It’s ruined my life over here for awhile,” he says cheerfully of his Yank foes.

Things got ugly after Cameron, a Labour Party member of the Galway City Council, proposed putting up a memorial to honor that famous son of Hibernia, Che Guevara, or “our Che,” as Cameron fondly refers to the Argentinian Marxist revolutionary.

Che made only a brief stop in Ireland in the ’60s, visiting a pub in the West Clare seaside town of Kilkee one night after his flight from Moscow to Cuba stopped for refueling at Shannon airport and then got stuck in fog.

Che was interviewed in 1964 when he had that stopover

Cameron has been pushing the idea that “Dr. Che Guevara Lynch,” as his Irish supporters dubbed him, counts as a Galwegian because he’s descended from the Lynches and Blakes, two of the 14 original tribes of Galway, well-to-do merchant families who once ruled the city. “Patrick Lynch immigrated to Argentina in the mid-1700s and settled in Buenos Aires,” Cameron notes. “Che is part of the Irish diaspora, I would say.

lynchs castle

Lynch’s Castle Galway the seat of Che’s Irish forbears Ana Isabel and Patricio Lynch.

Cameron agrees: “I’m sure Che studied guerrilla tactics of the I.R.A., the same way the Mau Mau in Kenya did.” He thinks the memorial would draw tourists from Latin and South America.

The council voted last year to honor Che. Cameron says he got pledges of funding from the Cuban and Argentine embassies in Dublin. The architect Simon McGuiness and the Dublin artist Jim FitzPatrick designed a plan for a three-dimensional, interactive work of art that would be “a total homage” to “man, image and ideal,” according to McGuiness, featuring three glass panes in different colors of Che’s iconic image.

One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. Viva Che!!!  The controversy caused the outgoing Mayor of Galway and others to back away, claiming they didn’t realize an actual monument was being planned. “What did they think they were voting for, an egg and spoon race?” laughed Dermot Keys, a reporter for The Connacht Tribune.

The lefty Cameron argues that “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her buddies down South, lunatic fringe Republicans with a Miami-Cuban agenda, should not be allowed to dictate what happens in Galway politics.”

He calls Che a magnetic brand who launched a million T-shirts and mugs — not to mention a passel of biographies, the glamour of “Evita” and movies produced by Robert Redford and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Cameron hopes the city council takes the memorial matter up soon. Meanwhile, he sees the totalitarian rainbow. “The ultimate fruit of all this is that Che will be known as having the Irish blood and the Galway connection,” he says. “And that is an achievement in itself.”

FitzPatrick, remarkably, was the teenage barman in Kilkee who served Che an Irish whiskey that night. The guerrilla leader told FitzPatrick that his ancestors were Lynches from Galway and that he admired the Irish revolutionaries who had helped Ireland “shake off the shackles of empire.”

Jim Fitzpatrick

Artist Jim Fitzpatrick adapted the Korda photo of Che who he met as a young barman in Kilkee

Fascinated, FitzPatrick went on to become the artist who made the Alberto Korda photo of Che in his black beret famous by creating his own stylized psychedelic-tinged posters in the late ’60s.

The Ivy League joined the brawl. Carlos Eire, a Yale professor of Cuban and Irish descent, wrote a letter, printed in The Galway Advertiser, condemning the “monstrous project” and suggesting it would be “only fair” to put up a monument to Oliver Cromwell next to Che

Maureen O’Hara met him when she was filming Our Man In Havana.

Maureen O h

Maureen O’ Hara in The Quiet Man a film in which my uncle Billy was a jockey.

“When we arrived in Havana on April 15, 1959, Cuba was a country experiencing revolutionary change. Only four months before, Fidel Castro and his supporters had toppled Fulgenco Batista … Che Guevara was often at the Capri Hotel. Che would talk about Ireland and all the guerilla warfare that had taken place there. He knew every battle in Ireland and all of its history. And I finally asked, “Che, you know so much about Ireland and talk constantly about it. How do you know so much?” He said, “Well, my grandmother’s name was Lynch and I learned everything I know about Ireland at her knee.” He was Che Guevara Lynch! That famous cap he wore was an Irish rebel’s cap. I spent a great deal of time with Che Guevara while I was in Havana. Today he is a symbol for freedom fighters wherever they are in the world and I think he is a good one”.

—O’Hara on filming  Our Man in Havana in Havana and meeting Che Guevara.




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