Cusack Park, Mullingar – References in American Press

The “Gaelic American,” in its issue of 9th February, 1935, published the following:–Taking time from his duties as director of the Welfare Bureau (United Irish Counties) at the Knights of Columbus Hotel, Christopher Murray, for ever so long identified with Irish sports, of some years back, furnishes some new information about Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, which was erected the year before last. Christopher is the proud possessor of a letter from Peadar Cowan, Secretary, Westmeath Board G.A.A., in which the thanks and blessings of the Board are conveyed to him and the local Westmeath Men’s Association for a generous donation to the fund for the building of the new park. “Considering everything,” Christopher says, “Peadar Cowan and the Board report a very good year, and the prospects for the future are indeed very bright. The first big football match of the season will be played in the New Park on February 17th when Connacht & Leinster selections will play the semi-final for the Railway Cup. My old friend, Mr. James J. King, sent along his best regards. Jim is one of the oldest and most practical workers they have, and will not be content until a cinder path is laid round the pitch. A number of people will remember, I am sure,” added Christopher, “that Jim King was a famous athlete in his younger days. He has a husky son who will be a national champion one of these days.”

Quoting from the letter to Chris., Mr. Cowan says:– I was delighted at the splendid publicity given to Cusack Park in the Irish-American Press. The copies which you kindly sent me were indeed a revelation. We can never thank you and your fellow workers enough for all the trouble you went to on our behalf.

As soon as the Board is financially able a stand will be erected to commemorate the poet, Leo Casey. The funds to build the seating place will be derived from the receipts of competitions for a trophy that was recently donated by the town tradesman. From the description of the cup, Christopher loses not time in stating that there is nothing like it in Ireland. Resting on a pedestal of Kilkenny marble, it stands 2 feet high, resembling a monolith or tower, and is constructed of oxidised copper, varying in colour from that of glowing, bright bronze to deep purple. The four faces of the tower are chiseled and chased and enriched with inlaid enamels, silver and gold.

Further References

The “Irish World” of 9th February, 1935, in a column of large captions, says:– “The Westmeath Men’s Association during the past year raised three hundred dollars as a subscription towards defraying the expenses of Cusack Park, Mullingar. This has now been acknowledged by Peadar Cowan, of the Westmeath Co. Board, in a communication to Chris. Murray. Mr. Cowan, in a very interesting letter, convinces the reader that this is to be a hectic year for the Gaels of Westmeath, and pardonable pride in the new park, which, incidentally is the only park in Ireland called after the founder of the Association, permeates all through Mr. Cowan’s communication.

“The town tradesman of Mullingar presented to the Board a beautiful trophy known as “The Mullingar Town Trophy” for annual competition between the four principal football champions. The full proceeds go to the Cusack Park funds, and it is expected that the present debt will be liquidated in a couple of years. Then it is intended to go ahead with the erection of a stand on the grounds to commemorate the Fenian Gael, Leo Casey. Mullingar Town Trophy is distinctly original as a sports trophy in its general conception, in its form, in conveying a sense of restrained athletic power and embodying the thoughts appropriate to its use. It is unique also in respect of the material of which it is made, and in qualities of design and craftsmanship. In its general form the trophy resembles a monolith or tower–a tower of strength–and stands two feet in height. It is constructed of oxidised copper. The teaching also embodied in it is that the spirit of Cuchulan still lives in our modern athletics. On the front side of the tower is an emblematic figure of the athlete with background of waves and crests of the summerday seas, and as in the story of Cuchulan it is stated that he subdued to his purposes two wild horses, one symbolising day and the other night. Athletic power by day and by night is expressed in a panel beneath the figure two horses’ heads, being symbols of the sun and moon, respectively, attached to the harness. Crowning this combined arrangement, above the figure is a symbol if lightnight speed and energy–that of Uranus. The Arms of the four provinces are at around the base of the tower. On the front side is the inscription bearing date of Jubilee Year, October, 1934. Below the inscription is space for engraving the names of the winning teams, and at the foot is introduced a representation of the old water mill of Mullingar.