Last weekend during Bikefest I stopped off at a new statue unveiled last October to my third cousin (once removed) Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty - as known as "The Vatican Pimpernel". The sculpture is by Valentia Island-based artist Alan Ryan Hall and it depicts O'Flaherty striding across St Peter’s Square in Rome. Though born in North Cork (where my ancestors come from) he was raised in Killarney where his father was steward at Killarney Golf Club.
Cousin Hugh once famously said "God has no country" when asked why he helped thousands of Nazi prisoners of war to escape during World War II in Rome. On the wall behind his statue you can see replicas of the following awards he received:
- Commander of the British Empire (CBE) from the UK
- Medal of Freedom and Silver Palm from the USA
- National Order of Honour and Merit from Haiti
- Bronze Medal of Military Valour from Italy