Ninety-four years ago this week – Capture and execution of I.R.A. Volunteers.

By Joe Healy

Ninety-four years ago this week – Capture and execution of I.R.A. Volunteers.
On the morning of January 28, 1921, in an area known as Godfrey’s Cross, located about 20km. west of Cork city and roughly half way between the villages of Coachford and Dripsey, an IRA ambush party of men from the 6th Battalion Cork No. 1 Brigade lay in wait for a convoy of British troops that regularly used this road when travelling between Ballincollig Barracks and Macroom.
News that the IRA was preparing for action soon became common knowledge amongst the local population. One resident of the area, who lived just outside the village of Coachford at Leemont House, was Mrs Mary Lindsay, a woman with strong Loyalist convictions. Upon hearing of the IRA’s preparations, she travelled to the military barracks at Ballincollig and informed the British authorities of what she knew. (Mrs Lindsay and her servant James Clarke were later executed by the IRA as a result).
The barracks in Ballincollig was occupied by troops from the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. Their commanding officer, Colonel Dowling, decided to launch an attack against the IRA. At around 3.30p.m. a column of British troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Garret Evans left the barracks for Dripsey village. At Dripsey the troops dismounted from their lorries, divided into five groups and set out to surround the ambush party. The IRA had scouts posted and one of these saw the approaching troops and alerted his comrades. The officer in charge of the ambush ordered a withdrawal, but firing soon broke out. Eight members of the IRA (five of whom were wounded) and two civilians were captured and brought to Ballincollig barracks. Two of the more seriously wounded IRA men were subsequently moved to the military hospital in Victoria Barracks. The others were later transferred to the military detention barracks in Cork where they awaited trial by military court.
On 8th. February the trial of eight of the ten men captured at Dripsey opened in the gymnasium of the military detention barracks (two others – Captain James Barrett and Volunteer Denis Murphy – were still being detained in the military hospital). The defendants were; Volunteers Thomas O’Brien, Patrick O’Mahoney, Timothy McCarthy, John Lyons, Jeremiah O’Callaghan and Daniel O’Callaghan, Eugene Langtry (civilian) and Denis Sheehan (civilian).
The military court consisted of a colonel and two majors of the British army. When the trial opened, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. The proceedings lasted two days. Volunteer Jeremiah O’Callaghan together with Eugene Langtry and Denis Sheehan, both of whom had no connection with the IRA, were found not guilty and released. The remaining defendants were found guilty and sentenced to death.
Of the two men still detained in the military hospital, Captain James Barrett died while still a prisoner on 22 March 1922. Volunteer Denis Murphy stood trial in Victoria Barracks on 9 March. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but this sentence was later commuted to one of 25 years’ imprisonment.
Early on the morning of 28 February, a large crowd gathered outside the gates of the military detention barracks where the widow of Tomas MacCurtain had erected an altar to pray for those who were about to die. At eight o’clock a volley of shots rang out from inside the barrack walls. As the crowds outside the barracks slowly began to disperse more firing was heard at eight fifteen and at half-past eight. Rather than execute the men all at once, the military authorities had decided to execute them at intervals of fifteen minutes.
On the night of the executions the IRA launched a number of attacks against British forces at different locations throughout Cork city, which resulted in six British soldiers being killed and four being wounded.
* Picture shows the road between Dripsey and Coachford where IRA volunteers had lain in wait to ambush a convoy of British troops based at Ballincollig barracks.

Cork IRA dripsey ambush

Cork IRA dripsey ambush

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The grave of Sean Morrissey IRA The grave of Vol Declan Horton IRA

By Declan Carr:

Knockboy Graveyard Waterford
The grave of Sean Morrissey IRA —

Sean Morrissey IRA  Knockboy Graveyard Waterford


By Declan carr:

The grave of Vol Declan Horton IRA

Ardmore St. Declan’s Oratory graveyard


The grave of Vol Declan Horton IRA


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Plunkett Column

Can you please give me some information on plunkett column picture 1923 the lady sitting front left I believe to be my grand aunt maggie jordan dublin. Were can i get a better pic of the image. Diarmuid Gannon.

Plunkett Column 1923


Margaret jordan 1925




dan breen letter

Letter dr alice barry too margaret jordan
Doctor barry 8 herbert place, peamont hospital, 28 pembroke street dublin.


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At Fourmilewater Co Waterford

By Declan Carr:

At Fourmilewater Co Waterford

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Emily M. Weddall Cumman na nBan

Emily M. Weddall  Cumman na nBan

emily m weddall

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Jim Keane West Cork IRA

west cork ira

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IRA TIPPERARY A company battalion Clancy Brothers

By Tommy Conlon:

It’s just outside Drangan village . Pat in uniform was caught by the Tans making his way into the village and was summarily executed on the roadside where he caught by a single shot to the head, less than 6 months later Martin was killed in action when his column engaged the Tans in an ambush.

Tipperary IRA clancy brothers

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The “Irish Bulletin”

A new publication by  Aubane, the ‘Irish Bulletin# Vol. 1. It is available in paperback and hardback, at 36 and 55 Euro respectively. Every library should have a copy!



The “Irish Bulletin” was the official newspaper of the Irish Government during the War of Independence. Its aim was the provide those outside Ireland with the Government’s case and the facts of the war that it had to wage. This information could not otherwise be obtained because of the suppression of all other outlets by the British authorities that put the Irish Government‘s case. It was produced with minimal resources and under constant threat of suppression. It was therefore an undergrounds publication despite being the paper of a legitimate government.


It was unadorned with any other content except straightforward factual and irrefutable information.  This is what made its reputation and  because of that it became one of the most powerful weapons in the war that eventually proved successful.


It deserves an honoured place in Irish history yet it has never been republished and it is hardly referred to by our contemporary historians – and when it is – it is almost inevitably in disparaging terms.

This is the first volume of the paper reproduced as faithfully as possible to the original. Other volumes will follow.


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Fifth Battalion (Engineers) Council as at July 1921

By Eamon Murphy:

Fifth Battalion (Engineers) Council as at July 1921.

Back (L-R): Lieutenants E. Whelan, C. McCarthy, P. Purfield and M. Kerr.
Second Row (L-R): Lieutenants H. Kenny, J. O’Connell, E. Cullen, E. Kelly, J. Murphy and M. Kelly.
Front (L-R): Lieutenant J.O’Hara, Captains S. J. O’Reilly, J. Ryan, T. McMahon, Garry Holohan and T. Keegan.
Inset: Captain M. Cremen.  Photo taken in 1938

Dublin IRA Eng

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Dundalk area 1916 veterans, photo taken in 1966.

By Eamon Murphy:

Dundalk area 1916 veterans, photo taken in 1966.Capuchin 1967 annual.

Dundalk IRA


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Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band 1914-2014 Centenary

Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band 1 – 4

Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band Centenary Project  By Jim Lane







doc20140314095357_001doc20140314095338_001Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story is honoured to have been able to host this article on this the Centenary year of the Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band, over the coming weeks and Months there will be more Photographs unveiled and if you the reader have any photos of the Band get in touch!

Many thanks to all who took part.

See below the Youtube videos that are referenced in the article



“No.2 in Centenary Year Series of remembering our Band with pride”  By Jim Lane.





” No.3 in Centenary Year  Series of Remembering our Band with pride”

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Once again many thanks to Jim Lane for putting together this invaluable piece of Republican Pipe Band history, without this project our history would be simply lost to time and the names of the fallen heroes and those men and women that struggled for Ireland would be forgotten.

We ask that if you have any photos, memorabilia or anything you think of importance to the Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band Centenary year project then get in touch.



“No.4 in Centenary Year  Series  of remembering our band with pride” By Jim Lane.

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Deceased member Joe O’Mahony Irish Volunteer

Deceased member Joe O’Mahony IVCO.

It is with deep regret we announce the death of one of our Limerick members, ex Captain Joe O’Mahony,Óglaigh na hÉireann, DFI and ONET Patrick Sarsfield Branch,Limerick. Our sympathy  to Joe’s family and friends.

The Committee IVCO.



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Happy Christmas 2014 Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation

The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation wish all our members,supporters and Friends a happy and peaceful Christmas. We also remember our deceased members.









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By Frank Murphy:

There are many stories told of the courage and bravery of the men and women of this country going back for centuries, the martyrs and patriots who lay down their lives for the cause, their stories recalled and recounted in song, and by the open fires throughout the country as the peat turf glowed to warm our homes, and the oil lamp burned in the corner. But coming up to the centenary of 1916 it is very important that we also remember one particular group of men, who lay down their lives every day of their working lives, as they pounded with the hammer on the anvil to set the sparks flying as they turned the pike heads so Ireland could be free and up until after the war of independence these great men plied their trade in whatever was deemed necessary to make and shape the weapons of their era.
There are so, so many stories to be told about such great men particularly the Wexford men, the Carlow men, the Wicklow men and the Waterford men, and countless others from all over Ireland and their deeds, but I will tell of but one of these great men who lived and worked no more than 20 miles from where I presently live here in Callan, Co Kilkenny.
The name of this man was the blacksmith Henry Hammond. Henry Hammond was said to be a man in his mid-thirties and with most blacksmiths a fairly robust, well-built man who earned his bread by the sweat of his brow. Born and reared at Coppenagh, Co Kilkenny, half way between the picturesque village of Graignamanagh and the lovely small town of Thomastown, which would be no more than 10 miles from Kilkenny City. A married man with a family, Henry Hammond was well known throughout the length and breadth of Kilkenny, down into Carlow, and also in to Wexford where he plied his trade.
Henry Hammond was a respected man in his locality, even by the gentry of the time, and was afforded a freedom of sorts not generally given to Catholics or someone of his station. Supposed to be a top craftsman on the anvil, and did work for a lot of the estate houses in the vicinity of where he lived, which in turn gave Henry Hammond access to information that would and was to be valuable to the united Irishmen of the time, as he was free to move around from one part of the county to the other, engaging with other blacksmiths as far afield as the counties Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow as he passed valuable information to them which he had gathered up by working for the gentry.
Like all the other great blacksmiths of his era Henry Hammond also forged and turned the pike heads on the grinding stones, as with hundreds more of his kind. When the 1798 rebellion broke out Henry Hammond, like many others of his kind was not to be found wanting, and took up his place at the Battle of New Ross, with 22 year old Captain John Kelly from Killane, in County Wexford, and brave Harvey who also stood and fought side by side. The brave united Irishmen were defeated at Ross, and along with John Kelly from Killane, and many others, Henry Hammond was captured and taken prisoner and transported to Kilkenny Jail where he was tried for treason and was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered.
Not too many men of his time or at any time for that matter get to walk away from the hang man’s noose and the rack, but Henry Hammond was one of these men. As I said prior to this he did much work for the gentry and one of these he did work for was Miss Eleanor Doyle, who was one of the aristocracies of the time in the locality where Henry Hammond lived and worked. I suppose most people of today would find this hard to believe but the aristocracy of that time had the power over life and death, and who lived and who died even if one were to be condemned to death by the so called courts of the time. Miss Eleanor Doyle being one of these people, and because of her station in life, she was afforded, or should I say granted the privilege of having any three people of her choosing reprieved from their death sentence and released. Now this was not a one off thing, Eleanor Doyle and such people had this power granted to them on a yearly basis, in that every year she could have three peoples death sentences commuted, Henry Hammond was one of these people.
On the day of Henry Hammonds release he walked most of the road from Kilkenny to Thomastown; about 4-5 miles from his own home place, where he stopped as any good Irish man would and went into an ale house at the time to drink his fill. As the day progressed the talking and laughter grow more intense and soon Henry with his drinking companions, were singing the rebel songs of their day and passing derogatory remarks about the red coats. The longer and louder it got, the more attention this drew upon them, until that evening the red coats having been tipped off came back and re-arrested Henry Hammond where he was escorted back to Kilkenny Jail. Henry Hammond was publically hung, drawn, and quartered; outside Kilkenny Jail, which was demolished during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and the limestone that built the jail was thereafter used to build the banks of Nolan Park, Gaelic Athletic Association grounds, O’Loughlin Road, Kilkenny.
Henry Hammond’s family originally came with the Norman invasion, but married into Irish blood and settled where they had a good business at Coppenagh, prior to this occurrence. I always make it a point to stop and pay my respects when I pass by what is left of his forge which is but a gable end wall, but I am very grateful that the people of the locality, including descendants of the Hammonds saw fit to erect a nice granite monument at the place of his workshop and forge during the bicentenary celebrations of 1998.
We must always bear in mind as a people, that without the great blacksmiths throughout the length and breadth of this country, we as a people would have fought no war against any occupying force, for the blacksmith was the man who made the pike head, the fork, the slash hook, and the billhook, which were used by the United Irishmen to defeat many a red coat in battle, and also the casings for the mines, bayonets and other such explosive devices that were used up until after the war of independence in this country. To all these great men and their families, and yes to their descendants also, I would like to say a very respectful Thank You, for the great sacrifice that these men made, for some were hung by the forge door for no more than plying their trade as blacksmiths, as the sweat dropped from the brow of others as they hammered on the anvil to shape and form the weapons that defended our people. Respectfully yours, Frank Murphy.

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Protocol for Executions 1916

By JL:

Protocol for Executions 1916




1916 executions

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30 NOVEMBER 2014


I want to thank the Committee for giving me an opportunity to address this commemoration here today. The ambush that occurred here was a pivotal event in the War of Independence and it is a privilege to be involved in a commemoration of such an event. It changed the character of that war because after it all involved realised that this was a real war and the Crown Forces and Whitehall realised for the first time that they were up against a competent army because they were so thoroughly defeated.  Because of that, it was a tremendous psychological boost to the struggle for Independence and this was its lasting impact. It concentrated minds wonderfully. Nothing like it had happened before in that war. Whitehall continued to pretend it was a police matter, a law and order issue, but they knew very well it was a real war which they recognised  in reality but never, ever, admitted officially even when agreeing to a Truce with the IRA.

Anyone who takes an interest in our history will know that there is an ongoing debate about the War of Independence and it is appropriate that this Ambush has been central to this debate.  The Ambush has been the subject of detailed discussion   and every minute and every blow of the Ambush has been analysed, researched, interpreted and misinterpreted ad nauseum. You might say there has been a concerted attempt to ambush Kilmichael and the reputation of Tom Barry but it has been repulsed.

The fact is that the War of Independence has been fought all over again in recent years, without guns this time, fortunately, but a no less significant war because of that. It is just a different kind of war. In the context of this new ‘war’ events such as this commemoration here and similar commemorations elsewhere have a vital importance because they present opportunities for putting the record straight about the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. Opportunities for doing so are few and far between these days. You will very rarely find such opportunities in forums such as the media, in academia, in the educational system and in ‘history books’ and in mainstream political parties.   And when the mainstream politicians commemorate such events they give the distinct impression that they are simply going through the motions. In those forums you will get everything from outright condemnation of the Rising and the War of Independence to an acknowledgment of these events but with all sorts of reservations, qualifications and regrets and a negative tone throughout. The end result is to seek to give us a bad conscience about the whole thing.

One of the latest efforts that is typical but also the most extraordinary is that coming from an ex-Taoiseach, John Bruton. It is mind-boggling to hear an ex-Taoiseach condemning the foundation events and the founding fathers of this state of which he was a leader. I cannot imagine a leader of any other Republic, e.g., that of the France, America, China or wherever where a leader of those countries would say anything similar about their state’s origin. It is unimaginable. And there was a lot more war and bloodshed in establishing these and other states than was the case here. Overwhelmingly popular support here for independence minimised the bloodshed.

But when an ex-Taoiseach feels the need to claim that all this was misguided and campaigns seriously to promote this view, it is necessary to consider what he says and if there is any merit in it. This is necessary also because what he says probably seems very plausible to anyone who has learned their history in recent years.

He says that the Volunteers of 1916 should have trusted in Home Rule as it was on the Statute Book and it would have evolved into a Republic.  And there was therefore no need for war and bloodshed.  Of course, if wishes were horses we would all go for a ride. No sane person wishes for war if there is a viable alternative. So was there a viable alternative in the context of the time? Bruton implies there was and so the Volunteers deliberately chose the road of war. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Well, very briefly, let’s start at a time when the Volunteers of 1916 did trust in Home Rule and it seemed another course was possible. Because there was time when the people of 1916 did trust in Home Rule. Home Rule was of course a very, very limited form of devolved government – for example a lot less than what Scotland has today. It appeared possible to have this in 1912 after nearly 30 years of Parliamentary effort. That mountain of Parliamentary labour had produced a mouse.

In 1912 Pearse shared a platform with Redmond in support of Home Rule. What happened? Pearse changed his mind. Why?  Keynes was once accused of changing his mind and he responded by saying “When circumstances change I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” What changed Pearse’s mind?

What happened? There was a rebellion against the Government’s plans for Home Rule. And this was a real rebellion.  In 1912 the  British and Irish Tories/Unionists organised themselves to set up a provisional government, an alternative government to prevent Home Rule. An illegal army was set up in 1913, the UVF, to prevent by force the government implementing the law it was about to pass, Home Rule.

Tons of arms and ammunition were imported. The Irish Volunteers were set up afterwards to support the government in implementing Home Rule – to assist in implementing the law not to break it as the Ulster Volunteers were planning to do. In 1914 the British Army supported this rebellion when in the Curragh mutiny it would not obey the Government on Home Rule implementation – they refused to enforce the law! And the important thing was that the government allowed all this to happen and conceded all along the line.

But then in 1915 a most important thing happened. Something that is never mentioned these days though it was a crucial event. At the time no UK Parliament could run for more than five years and the last election had been in 1910 so one was constitutionally due in 1915 as the Government’s mandate had run out. But the government decided that an election may not suit them so they did a deal with the Opposition, the Tories/Unionists, to bring them into government and avoid an election. These were the people who had openly and proudly broken the law against the Government over the prospect of Home Rule. Now the lawbreakers were the lawmakers!  It was a parliamentary coup d’état.

The Unionists had their own army, with plenty arms, they had British Army support and now they were in government. They had won and it was absolutely clear that Home Rule or any form of Irish independence was off the agenda.  There was no two ways about it. If that government had its way we would be still be waiting for Home Rule. It was already suspended on the day it was passed on 18th September 1914 and that is where it would remain.

As a result, this new government lost all moral authority in Ireland.  In fact it only had legal authority because the British House of Commons is above the law. Because whatever it is does is legal. It can do whatever it likes and it is automatically legal – this is the essence of the British Constitution.  The beauty of the British Constitution is that it does not exist! Unlike other countries there is no Court or Law that  the Parliament  is accountable to.

But in  his current campaign, John Bruton, tries to obscure this basic fact about a non-elected government being in power in 1916 and  is quoted as saying: “Referring to 256 Irish civilians killed during the Rising, as well as 52 Irish members of the British army, 14 RIC members and three members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, he said: “These Irish men were acting on the orders of a duly constituted Government, elected by a parliament, which had already granted home rule to Ireland, and to which Ireland had democratically elected its own MPs.”  (Irish Times, 2 November 2014). The government was not ‘duly constituted’ and there were no Irish MPs in the Government or elected in support of that government.

Some of the Irish Volunteers were not slow learners when they saw this happening. It was clear that parliamentary democracy had become a sick joke and that the only reality that the government responded to was rebellion.

To use management-speak, rebellion was best practice when it came to political success at the time.

It is true that 1916 had no mandate but the existing government had no mandate either. It was not an elected government. The electoral mandate of the British Parliament, given in 1910, ran out in 1915.  But it decided to carry on without an Election. The Ulster Rebellion had no mandate either except what the Unionists gave themselves. They had set out to break the law and had won and the Irish Volunteers who had been set up to uphold the law had been treated with contempt. There were no mandates all round.

John Redmond committed the Home Rule party to a war of the British Empire on Germany and Turkey.  He did this without an electoral mandate.  He never put it to the Irish electorate that he would take Ireland into Imperial wars if the Empire gave him Home Rule.  But he took Ireland into the Empire’s war in 1914, even though he had not got Home Rule.

The National Volunteers went to war without an Election mandate.  Just like Redmond had done.

These Volunteers could not have got an electoral mandate in the circumstances of 1914.  The Home Rule Party could.  It could have resigned its Parliamentary seats and re-fought them on an Imperial war mandate.  It chose not to do so.  And, after the 1910 mandate ran out in 1915, it continued sitting in Parliament and supporting the Imperial war.

The Volunteers sought an electoral mandate for their 1916 action as soon as they could.  When the British Parliament returned to electoral politics after a three-year gap they fought the Election and they won it.

British-oriented critics say electoral support for 1916 two and a half years after the event is no good.  Democratic authorisation should have been got beforehand. Well, the Home Rule Party which sacrificed about  tens of thousands of Nationalist Irishmen in the Empire’s war didn’t get democratic authorisation before the event — or after it either.

You cannot advertise a military insurrection and look for signatures on a Petition in support of it — not under the Defence of the Realm Act anyway. But the Volunteers fought the General Election when the British Government eventually decided to hold one.  They asked for a democratic mandate to establish an independent Government in Ireland.  And they got it.

The British-oriented criticism then is that Sinn Fein did not in their election programme say that, if they were given a mandate to set up independent government, they would defend it if the British Government made war on it. This is the kind of criticism made by the defeated Home Rulers.  They had supported Britain’s world war for more than four years, saying that it was a war to establish democracy and the rights of small nations throughout the world.  And all the time it was in their minds that Britain would make war on the Irish if they voted for independent government and set it up!

The Irish Volunteers decided that a Rebellion was the only way to get the Government to respond as had been proved by the success of the Unionists.  That is the political and moral case for the 1916 Rebellion. Rebellions by their nature cannot have any electoral mandate. You cannot advertise, announce or vote for a rebellion.

But the rebellion was electorally sanctioned two years later in the overwhelming electoral support for Sinn Fein.   And the Government’s response confirmed that they still had no respect for Irish Democracy. The Mother of Parliaments totally ignored the result and began immediately to suppress the new Dáil by all available means – and not just ignore it.

Now it is important to remember that to add insult to injury this rejection of the 1918 Election result coincided with the end of the war that was supposed to be for ‘the freedom of small nations’. About a quarter of a million Irishmen volunteered and up to 50,000 were killed. But a recent estimate by a retired Irish Army Officer, Tom Burnell, has put the figure at 50% higher, about 75,000. We could assume they also killed as many Germans, Turks, Austrians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, etc. who had done no harm whatever to them or to this country.  On the contrary, the Turks had sent food in  Black ’47 and German scholars had helped create the Gaelic revival.

In fact the Irish in the British Army  are likely to have killed a lot more if the actions of the local winner of the VC, Mick O’Leary from nearby Inchigellagh in the Gearagh is anything to go by.  The citation he got for being awarded the VC from King George V himself at Buckingham Palace in early 1915 explained that he got it because “he rushed to the front and himself killed five Germans who were holding the first barricade, after which he attacked a second barricade, about 60 yards further on, which he captured, after killing three of the enemy and making prisoners of two more.”

Rudyard Kipling wrote the history of O’Leary’s regiment and said about the same event: “Eye-witnesses report that he (O’Leary) did his work quite leisurely and wandered out into the open, visible for any distance around, intent upon killing another German to whom he had taken a dislike.”  That makes it 9 in this one incident alone.

George Bernard Shaw wrote “O’Flaherty VC” based on O’Leary’s escapade.

On February 20, 1915 the “Cork Examiner” interviewed him as he was the man of the moment and he said:  “We captured a machine gun, killed the gunners and took some prisoners. The Huns lost terribly… On the 6th inst. we attacked them again with the bayonet and took all their trenches … When the Irish Guards charge, they do charge, and the Huns knew that too. You would laugh if you saw us chasing them, mowing them down by the hundreds…. We have not yet properly started on them. God help them when we do, for there will be some slaughter” (See “Michael O’Leary, Kuno Meyer and Peadar Ó Laoghaire” by Manus O’Riordan in the Ballingeary Historical Society Journal, 2005)

As they used to say, he was a broth of a boy! As O’Leary did his VC killing in just one sortie one can only imagine how many he killed across four years of war. But the mind simply boggles at the number he and all his 250, 000 compatriots may have killed across that period. No wonder they were flattered as the “Fighting Irish.” But it’s worth giving it some thought to try to imagine how many people were killed in total for  what was believed to be the freedom of Ireland under the slogan  of “the freedom of small nations.” I have not seen any effort to record or acknowledge these numbers among all the remembering that we are being asked to do. How many people allegedly died for Ireland across the world in that war?

And what did he and the other Irish soldiers get for their sacrifices and their mass killing?  Instead of the ‘freedom of small nations’ they got Martial law, the British Army, the Auxiliaries, the Black and Tan thugs and the RIC doing what they had always done but with knobs on.  The Auxiliaries, who were defeated here, were of course officers from the Great War who had fought it allegedly for this ‘freedom of small nations.’ What a peculiar idea of ‘freedom’ they must have had! The Great War was the greatest con job in Irish history as far as Ireland was concerned.

It was this insult that created the mass support for the War of Independence. People were outraged.

The people had sought independence for decades, had been promised independence, had fought and killed for it in WWI and were killed for it by the tens and tens of thousands and they voted for it overwhelmingly and were then treated with contempt. People can only take so much. That is why there was committed support in every corner of the country for the War of Independence.

You need only read the daily paper of the first Dáil, the “Irish Bulletin,” to see the extent and depth of this support. Aubane has begun republishing this and it is the first time this has been done since the original was published during the War itself. I would recommend you to read it.

It was this mass support that ensured the success of Tom Barry here and elsewhere. Barry was a military genius but he could not have won without mass support.

These days we are asked to remember those who fought and died in WWI. And of course it is understandable that people would want to remember their family members and friends who lost their lives. But we must also remember how those people were betrayed and cynically betrayed by the government they fought for.  They were killed twice, physically and politically as their belief in the “freedom of small nations” was treated with contempt. For Ireland the Great War was a Great Fraud.  But this is not what we are encouraged to remember these days.

Those who ask us to remember WWI also want us to forget a lot about it. We are given glib phrases such as that we should appreciate our shared history, our shared experience.   It’s nice to share – it sounds so comforting.  My wife is a Nursery Teacher who encourages children to understand that sharing is caring.

But some things cannot be described exactly as a shared experience. If one of us was mugged on the way home tonight I wonder how the Gardai or the judge would respond if the assailant claimed it was all just a shared experience. Likewise, what would a judge’s reaction be if a rapist claimed that his action was really just a shared sexual experience?  Would it not also be a sick joke to describe the ongoing war that Israel wages on Palestinians as a shared experience? Would anyone who fought at Kilmichael have described it as a shared experience?

This is really a technique to explain away our history rather than explain it and to get us to forget our historical memory.

But amnesia is never a virtue. A people, like a person, who lose their memory is a sad, pathetic sight because if you don’t know where you have come from you are not likely to know where you are going or indeed who you are.

The fact is that the war of independence was not   a war of choice for us. John Bruton would lead you to believe it was. The British threw everything they had to suppress the new democratically elected government – but failed. There was a war for independence only because of the war that was launched against independence.

If the people had accepted the Government’s reaction to the way they voted in the 1918 Election and not responded by defending their legitimately elected Dáil it would have meant they did not take themselves seriously and that they had no self-respect. The defence of the first legitimately elected Dáil by its legitimate army, the IRA, was an assertion and a defence of the people’s self-respect.  That was its raison d’être.

And this commemoration and others like it is an opportunity to honour those people for having had the courage of their convictions, maintaining their own self–respect and thereby getting the respect of people across the world and our respect.  They thereby defined Ireland’s positive role in the world for the past century for which it  is respected everywhere. The people of 1916 and the War of Independence fought for what they were entitled to, were promised, had fought and died for and voted for. In doing so they were as Samuel Ferguson said of Davis “Self-respecting, self-relying, self-advancing.”  They should be honoured without qualification or reservation.

And honouring the Boys of Kilmichael is our way of asserting our own self- respect today because if we ever disown them we would be disowning ourselves and what we are. We would become self-haters. As Michael O’Callgahan said here recently, Kilmichael is our Thermopylae. Its fame will long outlive the participants and all of us and rightly so.

That is why it gives me great pleasure to be here and I thank the Committee again for inviting me and I wish them all the best for the future and I am sure that they will ensure this annual commemoration becomes a bigger and bigger event.


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Michael Collins: what happened?


2014 S M Sigerson

All rights reserved

Michael Collins: what happened?

There will be no compromise and no negotiations with any British Government until Ireland is recognized as an independent republic. 

- Michael Collins 1921


The history of the Volunteers, and its legacy today, turn round the tragedy and controversy of Michael Collins.  What happened to Collins, and the issues around that twist of fate, continue to generate friction and faction among nationalists.  That story bequeathed to subsequent generations a crippling split in the ranks, whose impact can still be felt.


In the critical epoch between 1919 and 1921, Collins’ leadership shifted the independence movement into fast forward; culminating ultimately in what British imperialists had so long sworn unthinkable, and what had been to the 1916 rebels an unreachable star.  The Crown begged truce, seeking negotiations on the issue of independence for Ireland.


It must be emphasized that at no time had the Dáil or the IRA asked for a conference or a truce.

 – Liam Deasy


However this was by no means the end of the struggle.  On the contrary, it was the opening of a terrible and tragic new chapter for Ireland.


Around the negotiating table, Lloyd George and his wily diplomats acheived what all the king’s horses and all the king’s men had failed so miserably to do in five years of protracted warfare.  Within a few months, the Volunteers were completely divided.  Their guns had been turned away from British targets, and aimed at comrades instead.


Shortly afterward, Collins was investigating, among other things, the reported mistreatment of some anti-Treaty prisoners, when he met his own death under suspicious circumstances, which have never been fully explained.


He was swiftly followed to the grave by a who’s-who of that nationalist leadership which had engineered the Empire’s capitulation.  Both canonized and also in some quarters demonized, Collins has sometimes been blamed for what went wrong, and for the bloodbath which took place over his dead body.


The split that rent the nation then is still discernible as a fault line that runs thorugh Irish politics today; nowhere so dramatically as in the current debate on planning for 1916 centenary commemorations.


Those who seek to inform themselves about this history have had to contend with a maze of official stories, wild rumours, hearsay, sealed archives, vicious mud-slinging, and shamelessly fictionalized newspaper accounts.


The death of Collins remains a pivotal and poorly-understoood turning point; which is sure to reward further investigation.


S M Sigerson is the author of “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?”



(S M Sigerson)


Read excerpts at this blog:

Customer reviews:

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Christy Mackey,Michael Bradley,John Clarke,Jeremiah O’Connell,Thomas Mullally,

Christy M ackey IRA
Pic of Christy Mackey,

Enclosed Pic of Christy Mackey, known in Rush Co Dublin as Kit. He was a member of old IRA North Dublin. His years 1899 to 1979. He remained single and lived with his brothers Paddy and Jim and sister Mary Jo who was Postmistress there for many years. They run a butchery in rush village but Kit or Christy had a greenhouse at the back of their house in the Mall. I did temporary relief at the post office in about 1971 and remained a visitor at Mackey’s for several years.
Mary Jo told me that Christy was on the run for a good while. I guess until things got resolved. During my time visiting Christy used have an outside concrete seat which he painted green, white and orange. i never thought to take a photo of it. This pic used hang over his bed. For a time one could get their portrait taken and later get a coloured one. before my last time, I asked Mary Jo if I could get a copy of it because I held a grea affection for him. John Buckley was reared at the Mall and got the dwelling house. I am telling you this in case this pic is not good enough. I found John Buckley to be very agreeable.
Yours sincerely, Ellen Hanna.




Hi I am doing my family tree and in our family history there is a story that my great uncle Michael Bradley rode a horse during the funeral of Michael Collins. (Four Michael’s from the north, east, south and west of Ireland) I was wondering if you could direct me in finding out about this. Was it only soldiers from the free state army who were guards of honour or did volunteers do it to…… I have a photo of him in his uniform but not sure what regiment he was in. Looking forward to hearing from you

roisin burns


I’m looking for information on John Clarke, born 1896 Dromard, Dromore West, Co. Sligo. Joined the IRB in Boston, returned home to fight in 1921. Allegedly was imprisoned in Mountjoy in 1922 or 23. Would love to know if he was arrested at the same time as Tommy Goff, also of Sligo, who was shot by IFS April 23 1923   ,Eileen Markey.


Trying to find out about medal awarded to my Father – Jeremiah O’Connell, Broadford, Co Limerick but living in Tarbert, Co Kerry when medal awarded. I think he was engineer in the West Limerick Brigade. My brother said that our Father told him that he was a judge of the court at time. Where can I find information about this,,,,

Jerry O’Connell



I am wondering if you have contact details for someone within the “Third Tipperary Brigade Old IRA Commemoration Committee”.

I am trying to research my great grandfather Patrick Cleary. We believe he was involved in the Independence movement but in what capacity we do not know.

From his obituary in 1974:
“led the volunteer branch in Clerihan and was responsible for the training of several hundred men. His residence in Ardgeeha was subjected to a number of raids by Black and Tan forces and his house had been the venue for sittings of the Republican courts”

We do not know anything about what he did and would love to get answers to our questions.

Thank you,

Martin Phelan


I was just wondering if you could possible help me in any way. My Great Grandfarther was a member of the Irish Volunteers and i was wondering how would i gop about finding out any more information about that and if their are any records or such. He was a member of North Kildare 2nd, his name Thomas Mullally, from Athgarvan, Kildare.

Many Thanks   Finn

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Tadhg Barry Commemoration

A chairde, a number of events were held today to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of Tadhg Barry.Tadhg Barry was a Gael, Patriot, Trade Unionist, Author, Volunteer and martyred for Ireland after being executed, in cold blood by Crown Forces while being interned in Ballykinlar Internment Camp, on the 15th November 1921. Starting off events was wreath-Laying at the Republican Plot St Finbarr’s Cemetery chaired by Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent and main speaker T.D. Jonathan O Brien. Coinciding with the start of our events The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation held an exhibition of memorabilia from the War of Independence & Civil War period at St Vincent’s Club Complex and showed a DVD of the life & activitiesTadhg Barry. Also on display of Tadhg Barry Trade Union Banner. Also a Junior Hurling Challenge match for the Tadhg Barry Memorial Trophy, St Vincent’s vs Mayfield. St. Vincents won the honour of taking the trophy home to their cabinet for this year. Refreshments rounded of the day at the Club House. I would like to thank all those who organised the event in the Tadhg Barry Memorial Committee, the players from both clubs who gave all in the tribute match and also the lads from the Irish Volunteer Commemorative Organisation for their time & effort. Diarmuid O’Callaghan presented a Proclamation on behalf of the IVCO to Cllr Mick Nugent & TD Jonathan O Brien ……Sinn Fein, which will go on display in St Vincents club.

Tadhg Barry Commemoration

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Paddy Meagher Dublin Brigade IRA 1916 GPO Garrison: CORK Brigade IRA Monument

IVCO The handgun of Paddy Meagher Dublin Brigade IRA 1916 GPO Garrison:
paddy meahger Dublin Brigade IRA 1916 handgun

paddy meagher Dublin Brigade IRA 1916 postcard

paddy meagher Dublin Brigade IRA 1916 postcard

paddy meagher dublin brigade irish volunteers


cork IRA 1 Brigade Monument

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Posted in An Irish Volunteers History 1913-1922, Cork Volunteer Memorials, Individual Accounts Irish Volunteers 1913-1923 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tadhg Barry Commemoration

A chairde there are a number of events planned to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of Tadhg Barry on Sunday November 16th, thus far they are:
11am Wreath-Laying at the Republican Plot St Finbarr’s Cemetery Cork city.
11am-4pm Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation exhibition of memorabilia from the War of Independence & Civil War period at St Vincent’s GAA Club Complex Kilmore rd Cork City and showing of the Tadhg Barry DVD, display of Tadhg Barry Trade Union Banner
12pm Junior Hurling Challenge match for the Tadhg Barry Perpetual Trophy, St Vincent’s vs possibly Delanys or some other local GAA club. not yet confirmed.
1.30pm Refreshments at the Club, I hope you can support these events and honour Tadhg Barry: Gael, Patriot, Trade Unionist, Author, Volunteer, martyred for Ireland on the 15th November 1921.
Organised by the Tadhg Barry Memorial Committee.


Back Row: David Cotter, Seán Murphy, Donal Barrett, Terence MacSwiney and Paddy Trahy. Front Row: Tadhg Barry.McCUTRAIN

TADHG BARRY was to have the ominous distinction as one of the last people killed by the British forces in the revolutionary years. Just some three weeks before the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, he was shot through the heart on November 15th by a British sentry at Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down.
Born to a working-class family in 1880, around 1909 his interest in journalism was becoming recognised. He began to write for the newly-established Cork Accent and later became a staff writer on the Cork Free Press (1910-1916) as a direct competitor to the Redmonite Cork Examiner. Barry specialised in GAA affairs and wrote under the pen-name of ‘An Ciotog’.
Tadhg was to commit himself to the idea of a free Ireland and the ideals of James Connolly. He would be a founding member of and secretary to Sinn Féin in Cork (1906-08) and prominent within the Cork branch of the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union. As a founding member of the Cork corps of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, he became an officer, having had previous experience from training of the Fianna in Cork from 1911 alongside Tomás MacCurtain and Seán O’Hegarty.
Tadgh shared a platform with Connolly in Cork on two separate occasions and was on active service during the 1916 Rising. Barry was selected Cork delegate to the historic October Sinn Féin convention in the Mansion House in 1917.
During this period he kept up his writing and was a regular for his union paper, The Voice of Labour on topics of workers’ rights and the way forward for society. In 1916, he had the first descriptive book on hurling published, Hurling and How to Play It. Barry also wrote poetry and had several collections published, including Songs and Rhymes of a Gaolbird, published shortly after his release from prison in 1917 for delivering a seditious speech (he was released early after a hunger strike).
By early 1918 he had a weekly column with The Southern Star. In May 1918, he was arrested again by British forces as part of Dublin Castle’s so-called ‘German Plot’, which falsely claimed a rising was being planned between Sinn Féin and Germany. Barry was one of the senior republicans picked up across Ireland and the only republican lifted in Cork. Upon his release in 1919 he became full-time branch secretary to the ITGWU in Cork and was to the fore in the farm labourers’ widespread actions for a decent living wage between 1919-1920 and also the docks strike of 1920.
Elected an alderman in the 1920 municipal elections which achieved the first republican Corporation of Cork, he won on a joint ITGWU/Sinn Féin ticket, representing the Sunday’s Well and Blarney Street areas, alongside his comrades Lord Mayor Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney.
1920 also brought new British tactics and the Auxiliaries (Black and Tans) were set loose on Cork City. Both the now ‘republican City Hall’ and the ITGWU offices on Camden Quay were targeted and gutted.
Following the cowardly murder of the Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain, in the family home and the death of Terence MacSwiney on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in London on October 24th, the Corporation gathered at the Courthouse to elect a new lord mayor. Barry and eight other councillors were arrested. He was transported to Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down. Here he was in the company of 2,000 other freedom fighters, including Seán Lemass.
Even though he was incarcerated, he kept busy and spent much of his time teaching fellow detainees Irish. He was noted for flying the red flag over his barracks, to the great annoyance of the British. On November 15th 1921 whilst saying farewell to comrades leaving the camp, Tadhg was slow to walk back and was shot through the heart by a sentry.
Tadhg’s funeral was the largest ever seen in Cork and en-route over 30,000 marched behind his coffin in Dublin. Almost all public bodies in Ireland passed a resolution of sympathy. Cork was closed down and the cortege was led by the Cork IRA with bishops, priests, TDs, lord mayors and representatives from many other cities in attendance. Michael Collins was there too even though he was the chief negotiator for the Irish delegation in the peace talks taking place in London. This incredible mark of respect leads you to understand the importance of Cork’s Tadhg Barry in the political and military struggles in Ireland at the time.

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Information Required October 2014

I have a gran uncle michael obrien born in killeigh tullamore in 1902 approx. Michael and several siblings disappeared after 1911 census
My grandfather Mathew stayed in killeigh. He was interred in the curragh in 1921
I would like to make contact with ellen obrien to discuss further
Also, how or where do I find records of mathew brien in the curragh. He wrote a letter to his mother from rath camp telling her not to fret and to send him razors!
Orla Mulligan
PS I have shared ellen photo on facebook in the hope someone might recognise the people or the place
Michael Holland

Dear ‘admin’,
i’ve just stumbled across the very interesting photo of British troops in Amiens Street station’ posted on your site.
I’m surprised that there is no other information about the scene.
While not an expert on the time, I have a few observations that might help someone reserching that photo.
1. There is a band playing, facing the platform, and a guard of honour in two ranks, presenting arms, at right angles to the band and the platform. The guard of honour may be of as few as 10 men.
2. In the background, facing away and presumably facing in the direction of the exit from the platform area, is what looks like an artillery gun crew towing either a gun limber or a gun covered with a platform in some way.
3. On the left in the middle ground are some civilians, one of whom appears to have his hat held over his chest.
4. In the left foreground is a group of army officers, clearly identifiable by their uniforms, boots, swagger sticks etc. They appear to be facing a train, and some of them are clearly saluting. 5. While most of these officers are wearing khaki shirts, more or less in the centre of the photo two are wearing white collars and the one closest to the train seems to be wearing his medals (or just showing a lot of medal ribbons). He is also wearing a sword.
I would interpret him as a more senior officer and the other are his staff and more junior officers. At least one of these officers seems to have a black armband on.
6. There is a mixed group of civilians in working mens clothing, at least one officer and perhaps some other ranks right beside the train.
If my understanding of the scene is correct
Michael Holland

I attended the excellent display in Cork on Saturday and spoke o one of the organizers and they suggested I make contact with yourselves.

I’m trying to establish if my Grandfather was a member of the IRA Volunteers during the War of Independence/Civil War period.

His name is unusual

Ned of Edmund Guinevan or as per the 1911 Census Ginivan/Ginevan.

He cam from Castletownroche / Shanballymore area of North Cork.

His daughter, my Aunt is convinced he was involved as he was an excellent historian and Irish Language enthusiast, very much a self educated man.

I checked the Military Archives but I did not come across his name.

Would appreciate your help.


John Crowley

Hello I am wondering if you have any photos or information on the Volunteers in county Galway. My grandfather Patrick Joseph Hughes from Ballinamore Bridge near Ballinasloe was involved in the movement and was awarded a medal from the War of Independence. He was buried with military honours but Im not sure what his role or rank was exactly. I would love to find out more about him or the movement in Co. Galway. Many Thanks.
Edel Hughes.
Hello. I’m looking to find which battalions of the Dublin Brigade Old IRA represented which areas in the city. Both my grandparent’s families on my dad’s side were old IRA (Dunne and Downey). They lived in and around Erne St., Macken St., Pearse St,. and Westland Row. Any help appreciated. Le meas, Dave

Hi there,

I am trying to get any information which you may have on my great grandmother Mary Allen who was married to my great grandfather Edward Allen.
I am trying to compile my family tree for my children & am not sure what age Mary was when she was a member of the Irish Citizens Army. I am the granddaughter of her daughter Carmel.
Any information you could give would be greatly appreciated.


Tara O’Connor

Could you fill me in about my dads first cousin George Gilmore. I would love to know what he was like as a person, other than the political person quite a lot is written about him.

I remember meeting him a couple of times when I was very young, and although my dad grew up with him in Howth, my dad didn’t really mention him as he didn’t agree with Georges politics.

I remember going to visit him in his odd little cottage in Howth. So please help me with something about him. even if it includes something of his politics etc.

Also does anyone know why his mother my Great Aunt Fanny was sent to prison for a time, this is something I have struggled to find out without any success.

Please help.


Heather Graham

Worthing,West Sussex,UK

Hello I am trying to do some research on my Grand Father Patrick Joseph Doyle. He lived at 23 Esmonde Street for a number of years and I know he was active in the war of independence we have his medal issues in the 1930s. Any information would be helpful I am sure he would have known James Gleeson
Sean Doyle
Hi, i am writing to you again, i have get some more information since i last wrote to you, it is concerning my father Laurence /Lar / La /Larry Doyle, i will give you a brief catch up as it was some time ago since i wrote to you, daddy was born in 1900 in Charlotte st Dublin, his parents Thomas and Catherine Doyle nee Kenny, they came from Shilleagh in Wicklow, they owned a provision shop in 9 Lower Camden St Dublin and 86 Rathmines from 1888 to 1898, they went bankrupt i believe, after daddy was born i am not sure where they went, they moved at some stage to Wicklow i believe then to Newbridge then to Naas where granny opened tearooms on the Canal, daddy married for the first time in 1925 he lived with his wife Kathleen Tighe in New Roe Naas, they had 2 sons William Thomas born 1926 and Thomas Leo 1927, his wife died September 1927, the new information i have is a Larry Doyle living in Newbridge which i am nearly sure is him, i have a copy of LEWIS GUN SECTION, and Larry Doyle is on it, this is the number 18193,Main St Newbridge 445yy, not sure if the 5 is that or an s, post Naas, single, that would fit with daddy being single and 22 in 1922, please i cannot confirm this i need your help to do this, all that daddy told me was all to do with Naas Newbridge and the Curragh, time is running out for my sister she is not well i am hoping for her this will be sorted soon, thank you very much, i really look forward to hearing back from you, sincerely Trena
I have been trying to find more information on my father’s grandparents Dan McCarthy originally of Knockeen, Castleisland Co. Kerry, and Nora McCarthy (nee Quinn) of Divis St. Belfast.

Dan was arrested in Milltown in Kerry in early 1918, as part of the ‘German Plot’, and sent to Crumlin Road Gaol along with other Sinn Fein members including Austin Stack, Ernest Blyth, Fionnan Lynch, Sean Doran and others. While in Crumlin Road, he took part in the famous revolt of Christmas 1918/19 where the prisoners took over the republican wing of the gaol. Here he also met my great grandmother, who was a local girl and member of the Cumann na mBann who used to visit the prison and transport various goods in and out for the prisoners. Nora was also a notorious potin maker. Nora managed to organise Dan’s exit from the prison somehow, and he settled in Belfast for the rest of his life after marrying Nora.
They both regularly took part in Republican commemorations in Belfast and were members of the National Graves Association. I have some interesting photographs and newspaper clippings of some of these commemorations I would be delighted to share with your site. One in particular of a veteran’s march in Belfast in the 1950s with Dan carrying the Tricolour which I am sure was taken on the same day as a similar photo in your photo gallery.

As far as Nora and Dan’s story goes, that is nearly all the information I have. I would be very eager to learn more as to when Dan might have joined the volunteers, if he was involved any further in the struggle in Kerry, if Nora is on the roll of the CnmB etc. They both received Black and Tan medals complete with ‘comrac’ bar so I am assuming that this means that they both would have been eligible for pensions and that there are records available of this. Dan passed away in 1968, Nora in 1971. Nora also received a survivors medal.
The most interesting part of Dan’s story is that I discovered that an autograph book belonging to him sold at an auction in Dublin in 2011 (see link below). This autograph book was compiled around the time of the prison revolt and contains autographs of the other prisoners, including sketches, poems etc. I am presuming that this book would have been confiscated from him in the gaol, as nobody in the family even knew it existed until it turned up in a google search last year. I would love to locate this book if even to have a look at it. Any help finding it would be hugely appreciated.

Slán, Adam O’Leary.

Adam O’Leary
Two historical figures intrigue me, both from north Galway.

Eva O’Flaherty – apparently a great friend of Sean MacDermott, Dr Lynn,

Maire Comerford, Anita MacMahon & Darrell Figgis et al, who was in

Cumann na mBan in 1914 with Louise Gavan Duffy … I know too that

she was very involved in the prisoner’s fund (I don’t have the exact name of

the organisation but I think it was the one that Kathleen Clarke ran) – have

you ever come acrcoss her – Eva O’Flaherty – in your research ?

Michael J McHugh (possibly used the Irish version of his name) – T. Gay

was his commanding officer, he was also born in north Galway and from what

we know was very involved in printing and in Collins’ Intelligence network – have you ever

come across him either in your research ?

With many thanks for the moment,

MJ Murphy. .

Dorothy Berkeley

Website http://
Message Richard Gough from Inchecore Dublin was a volunteer do have any details for me and is there a medal the family are due ?
In 1915 Three companies of Irish Volunteers were established in the southwest corner of Co. Limerick (my local district) by an Antrim man
His name was Ernest Blythe and as a Gaelic scholar, he had fairly good command of teanga na nGael and often used the Irish version
of his name, Ernám de Blaghd. His Irish teacher was Sinnéad Flanagan, future wife of Éanonn de Valera.

One of the Volunteer Companies he founded was in Tournafulla and the #s 1 and 2 men in that unit were the Sheehan brothers, Dave and Batt.
The Sheehans’ uncle Michael who had immigrated to California and was twice elected Sheriff of Sanmateo County. In Feb., 1921, Sheriff
Sheehan made a trip to Ireland, took with him 2 Thompson machine guns and a quantity of ammo for the Cork City IRA Brigade.

I should also mention that the Captain of the Tournafulla IRA Company was U.S.-born Tommy Leahy. In the spring of 1921 he was captured
by B&Ts, taken to Brosna (Kerry), sent to England, tried and was sentenced to be hanged. Leahy feigned illness, taken to the prison
hospital and his execution was postponed …and he survived until July and was saved by the Truce.
Seán Mac Curtáin
I’m sorry to trouble you, but was wondering whether the organisation would be able to assist me. My Great-grandmother’s (Catherine Flynn) grandfather (William Flynn) was allegedly an Irish Volunteer, Cork brigade and signed up 1914. I was just wondering whether there were any more details available such as his birthdate, parents names and where in Cork he was from?

I would be much obliged if you could please give this some consideration and get back to me with any pertinent information.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email and I look forward to hearing from you.


hi I’m looking for information on ballykinlar great-grandfather was charles mcgauley and he was a prisoner there.I know he got nicknamed cookhouse mcgauley in there.any information would be great.

Hi there,

I was just wondering if you could point me in the right direction to get information on my great grandmother Mary Ann (Molly) Devereaux also known as Mrs. Allen.

She fought in the college of Surgeons I believe.

Many thanks,

Tara O’Connor

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Exhibition at Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary October 18 and 19, 2014

Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation exhibition Thurles October 18 and 19, 2014, Hayes Hotel.

We received a warm welcome from the people of Thurles over the weekend. Many thanks to all those who attended.

We will announce over the next few weeks upcoming events.

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Commandant Vincent Byrne

By Colm Connolly:

In the summary of Commandant Vincent Byrne’s military activities, it is stated that he was a member of the party that assassinated Detective Sergeant Johnny Barton in November, 1919, “but did not fire the shot”.

I was the writer/director of the RTE television documentary, “The Shadow of Béalnabláth” which was first transmitted in 1989. Vinny Byrne was one of those who took part in the programme and helped reconstruct the shooting by him of two undercover officers at a house in Upper Mount Street, Dublin, on Bloody Sunday.

After filming, I dropped Vinny off in O’Connell Street and, during the journey there, asked him how many men exactly he had personally shot as a member of Michael Collins’ Squad.

“Three altogether,” he answered. “Those two in Upper Mount Street and a detective called Barton in College Street.”

Vinny told me that Barton was warned a number of times to keep out of intelligence work against the IRA. But he ignored the threats, so the Squad was ordered to kill him. He was an easy target because he was, apparently, a creature of habit, following a daily route from the G Division office in the police station to, presumably, Dublin Castle.

On the day of his death, Barton had just left Great Brunswick Street police station (now Pearse Street Garda Station) and, as usual, crossed the road and followed the footpath outside the railings of Trinity College, along College Street and towards Dame Street. Vinny, with seven other members of the Squad positioned at different places along the street to act as protection and backup, walked towards the detective on the same footpath.

At a distance of about twelve feet, Vinny and Barton came eye-to-eye. “He suddenly realised what was about to happen,” Vinny told me. “It must have been the expression on my face that said I’d come to plug him.”

Barton frantically tried to pull a handgun from his jacket pocket. Vinny drew his own gun from the waistband of his trousers and shot Barton in the upper stomach.

“He sank down on one knee,” Vinny said, “and he managed then to get out his gun and fire some shots at me. But they were wild and they all missed.”

And what did Vinny do? “I ran like hell,” he said.

Barton was taken to Mercer’s Hospital where he died shortly after arrival. The inquest into his death was told that he died from a gunshot wound to the chest, the bullet passing through his right lung. There was evidence, the inquest heard, that he had been shot in the back. But, if this was true, then he would have died from a gunshot wound to his back and not the chest.

“If Barton had carried his gun in a shoulder holster or the belt of his trousers, I might’ve been shot meself,” Vinny said. “We never carried guns in our pockets on a job because they’d always get caught up when we tried to pull them out.”

As we drove into College Street, Vinny pointed out the spot where he said he had shot Barton. Today, at that place, there is a tall lamp post beside a bus shelter.

Obviously, I can’t substantiate Vinny Byrne’s version of the Johnny Barton shooting, but he was very clear about every detail and I can’t understand why he would claim that particular killing out of all the assassination operations he took part in.

Colm Connolly

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Irish Volunteer Exhibition & Display At Hayes Hotel, Liberty Square, Thurles.

The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation will be holding an exhibition and display at Hayes Hotel, Liberty Square, Thurles,Co Tipperary on Saturday and Sunday October and, 2014.   11 to 5 pm.


The Hotel has strong links not alone to the GAA but also to the IRB.On the 1 November 1884, a group of Irishmen gathered in the Hotel billiard room to formulate a plan and establish an organisation to foster and preserve Ireland’s unique games and athletic pastimes. And so was founded one of the world’s greatest amateur associations, the GAA. The architects and founding members were Michael Cusack of County Clare, Maurice Davin, John K. Bracken, George McCarthy, P.J. Ryan of Tipperary, John Wise-Power, and John McKay.


Exhibition & Display
Hayes Hotel,
Liberty Square,
Co. Tipperary
October 18 and 19,
Saturday and Sunday
11am to 5pm

The Irish Volunteer Commemorative Organisation


Contact Enquiries: 086 2517954 or e mail

Please address all enquiries to 

Contact Enquiries: 086 2517954

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Update to Cork County Gaol, IRA Volunteers Executed Memorial

Many Thanks to

Ailín Mac Conbhuí for sending in the information below,well done Ailín.

Buried in the Republican Plot in U.C.C.
Cornelius Murphy- Ballydavid, Millstreet  1/2/1921

Capt Cornelius Murphy of Millstreet Battalion, Cork No. 2 Brigade is executed in Cork – the first official execution under martial law.  (He was arrested on 4th January and charged with possession of a loaded revolver.)  Patrick Lynch KC had applied for habeas corpus.

O’Donnoghue (1986), pg 129


Patrick O’Mahony-Donoughmore – 28/2/1921


Timothy McCarthy-Donoughmore – 28/2/1921


John Lyons-Aghabullogue – 28/2/1921


Thomas O’Brien-Dripsey – 1901 – 28/2/1921                                                                                                     

Two brothers and a sister, dad is a wool dyer

Seán Allen-Tipperary – 28/2/1921                                                                                              


Daniel O’Callaghan-Dripsey – 28/2/1921

Eldest son, one sister, five brothers dad a farmer

O’Farrell P (1997), pg xvii; O’Donnoghue (1986), pg 157; Sheehan (1990), pg 154 & Hart (1998), pg 99; O’Farrell (1997), pg 102

Six IRA prisoners are shot in Cork.  In retaliation, the IRA shoots twelve unarmed British soldiers in the streets of Cork the following day. Sean Allan was from Bank Place, Tipperary and a member of the Tipperary No. 3 Brigade and the others were captured after the Dripsey ambush.


Patrick Ronayne-Mallow – 28/4/1921
Thomas Mulcahy-Mallow – 28/4/1921

Captured after the Mourne Abbey Ambush. IRA ambush party at Mourne Abbey is surprised by British force – four IRA men are killed and eight captured.

Detail of Mourne Abbey Counter Ambush

Mallow Battalion Column, under Jack Cunningham (with the battalion Commandant, Tadg Byrne, also present) lay in ambush on the Mallow-Cork road at Mourne Abbey but are surrounded by a strong British force.  Three Volunteers were killed (Patrick Flynn, Patrick Dorgan and Eamonn Creedon) and another dies of his wounds (Michael Looney).  Eight Volunteers are taken prisoner and two of them are subsequently executed on the 28th April after a court-martial (Patrick Ronayne and Thomas Mulcahy).

O’Donnoghue (1986), pg 136


Maurice Moore               –           Cobh                 –          1897 -28/4/1921

Maurice Moore was an Irish republican who fought in the Irish War of Independence and was executed in April 1921 after capture in the aftermath of the Clonmult Ambush.                                               Moore was born at Ticknock, Cobh, County Cork in 1897. He was educated at the local Presentation Brothers National School and after school began work as a plumber’s mate at Haulbowline dockyard (then a British naval establishment).                                                                                                    His family had strong republican connections and he joined Irish Volunteers in Cobh in 1916. Three of his brothers were also members and they all subsequently served with the Irish Republican Army as members of the 4th Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade.                                                                                        As a member of the Cobh Company of the IRA Moore took part in the capture of Carrigtwohill Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks which was the first police barracks captured by republicans in the War of Independence. He was later involved in the capture of Cloyne RIC barracks and numerous other actions of the local IRA against British crown forces.

In February 1921 Moore was one of a flying column of over 20 IRA men billeted in an old farmhouse at Clonmult, near Midleton under Commandant Diarmuid Hurley. They were tracked down and surrounded by a company of the Hampshire Regiment of the British Army and RIC, Black and Tans and Auxiliaries. In the ensuing gunfight 12 of the republicans were killed and eight captured, including Maurice Moore.

The group were given a military courtmartial and all were sentenced to death. Seven of them later had their sentences commuted but two, Moore and his lifelong friend Paddy O’Sullivan were executed on 28 April 1921.

Maurice was 24 years old.


1911                                                                                                                                           One of 7 children, one sister, mother died, worked as shop porter. Older brothers farm servants, iron mongerer,younger siblings scholars, dad a labourer.
Patrick O’Sullivan                       –          Cobh     –           1897 – 28/4/1921

Fought at Clonmult, was captured.

1911                                                                                                                                       Patrick was the youngest of seven children of which four brothers survived  and lived with them and his parents at 8.4 thomas st cobh. Father/oldest brother a gardener, other two boiler maker and iron work.



Patrick Casey-Limerick –2/5/1921

Captain Patrick Casey of 5th Battalion, Mid-Limerick Brigade executed in Cork

O’Donnoghue (1986), pg 157


Daniel O’Brien-Liscarroll – 1891 – 16/5/1921

Daniel O’Brien

Knockardbane ,Liscarroll and member of Charleville Battalion, Cork No. 2 Brigade is executed in Cork.  He had been captured on the 11th May at Aughvrin, near Liscarrol.

O’Donnoghue (1986), pg 157;O’Farrell (1997), pg 75


Mother had passed. Brother and sister, son of farmer.

Also of note: O’Leary, Walsh, Harty and Garde were 4 volunteers captured at clonmult who got their sentences communted. (Captain P. Higgins and Volunteer J. O’Leary were wounded, o leary was still recovering and was only not executed as he was still recovering at the time of the truce)



During the period of the killing of these Volunteers General Strickland, the British G.O.C. of the Martial Law area received written warnings from the I.R.A. that if executions went ahead there would be retaliatory acts, as such,  retaliatory attacks for Volunteers including Frank Hurley, Geoffrey Canty and Lt. Con Murphy did not occur as a plan had already been put in place in retaliation for the 28/4 killings.


This occurred on May 14 when every one of the Ten Garrisons in the area was to be attacked by Volunteers. Estimates on casualties vary as the Volunteers estimate of British casualties/deaths tend to be higher than those released by the brits. This occurred on May 14 when every one of the Ten Garrisons in the area was to be attacked by Volunteers. Estimates on casualties vary as the Volunteers estimate of British casualties/deaths tend to be higher than those released by the brits.


Different esitimates of numbers  can be found in Tom Barry pg 547.


Major Compton-Smith, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who was being held hostage by the IRA was shot by the IRA on the same day.  The IRA had told Major General Strickland, Commander of the British 6th Division, that Compton-Smith would be shot if the IRA men were executed 28/4.

O’Donnoghue (1986), pg 157; Breen (1989), pg 162


Also of note:

I’m not entirely certain as to the exact reason why, as he isn’t buried there, Fian but Richard Noonan is also commemorated on the monument. I have little information on him available to hand but can ask a collegaue of mine if you’d like it.

And while on the subject of Cork Fian, in case it is of any interest: There were four Fian from Cork killed during that period, they were:

Fian Patrick Hanley,Fian Richard Noonan, Fian Jmes Pyne, Fian Seamus Courtney

Below is a mural that was completed to mark the centenary of Na Fiann Éireann by members of Ógra Shinn Féin in the Lee Fields (a popular walking area near UCC) on an abandoned structure (formerly the city baths I think). It was painted over by the City Council within a few weeks who failed to paint the rest of the graffiti riden wall.

Na Fianna Cork city





Cork city Na Fianna wall mural 1909 -2009

Seán Ó Caomhánaigh: (Though I believe this would fall outside of the remit of the years your society commemorates)

Shot by Free State Branch men while unarmed, digging an escape tunnel into the gaol
Plaque in Memory of Vol. John Joe Cavaghnagh on the other side of the gates of the old Gaol Gates from the Roll of Honour. Killed in 1940.

The Full complete article can be seen at




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Captain Tim Madigan Limerick IRA Shanagolden

Capt. Tim Madigan Limerick

Captain Tim Madigan Limerick IRA ShanagoldenCapt. Tim Madigan,
Timothy, born 11 Jan 1897, Shanagolden, Co.Limerick,
educ Mungret College, Limerick, 1911-13, as a boarder,
returned to farm at family home, Clashganniff House,
became interested in the Gaelic revival and Irish nationalism,
joined Gaelic League and Sinn Fein,
played Gaelic football for Foynes,
helped form Shanagolden company of Irish Volunteers in May 1914,
they took the MacNeill side (opposed to the WWI effort) in the split with Redmond over WWI,
the Shanagolden volunteers were not however involved in the 1916 Rising and they became inactive for a time,
Tim became Captain (head) of the revived Shanagolden company of Irish Volunteers / IRA in 1917,
IRA Captain in War of Independence,
as the war developed, the RIC decided to abandon smaller police stations,
they abandoned their station in Shanagolden in Mar-Apr 1919 and moved to Foynes,
Tim and other IRA men burned the abandoned RIC station in Shanagolden in May 1919,
he was elected unopposed as Sinn Fein District Councillor for Shanagolden, Rathkeale Rural District Council, May or June 1920,
in June 1920 he joined other IRA men planning an attack on RIC barracks at Sixmilebridge, Co.Clare, but the attack was called off,
as a new District Councillor he attended meeting of Rathkeale Rural District Council, 18 June 1920,
in June-July 1920 he helped guard the British Army commander General Lucas (abducted by the IRA on 26 June 1920) at Balliston House (or Ballysteen House), SE of Shanagolden (see map and old map),
General Lucas later escaped on 29 July 1920,
in Aug 1920 Tim and the Shanagolden IRA men captured and “paraded” two RIC men at Shanagolden,
after this there were repeated Black and Tan raids on his house, Clashganniff House, looking for him,
more than once during raids, Clashganniff House was doused with petrol, and the Black and Tans threatened to burn it,
he attended meeting of Rathkeale Rural District Council, 10 Nov 1920,

shot dead by British forces at his home, Clashganniff House, 28 Dec 1920, age 23 yrs,
while Tim was home for Christmas, William Hall (one of the men “paraded” in Aug 1920) and other RIC men suddenly arrived in Shanagolden on 28 Dec,
they captured Willie, they raided Clashganniff, Tim made a run for it, but was shot in a field,
shot in the back from a distance by a Black and Tan named Barlow,
in the “court of inquiry” William Hall says: “As Timothy Madigan continued to run, we called on him to halt once again and as he paid no attention one more shot was fired at a distance of about 400 yards which caused him to fall.”,
William Hall said he had known Tim Madigan for 17 years,
he was carried into Clashganniff House badly injured, Dr. Agnes Nolan (despite her family’s political differences with Tim) was called for and quickly came, but Tim shortly after died, Dr. Agnes said the bullet had pierced his lungs,
a British military “court of inquiry” was held at Clashganniff House the next day, 29 Dec, where the body was viewed, then released for burial,
buried at Kilbradran,
the Black and Tans watched the funeral, when they left the IRA emerged and fired shots over the coffin.

Tim madigan IRA


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Tom Crofts IRA Cork City

By Joe Healy:

The funeral of Tom Crofts, the first Commanding Officer of Cork city IRA during the Irish War of Independence, at St. Finbarrs Cemetery in March 1971.

tom Crofts IRA cork




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Old IRA monument at Newcastle West, Co.Limerick.


Old IRA monument at Newcastle West, Co.Limerick.
Erected 10 Apr 1955. It is a monument to the West Limerick dead of the War of Independence and both sides of the Civil War.

Limerick IRA

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Kilmichael Ambush Site August 2014

A history surrounding the re development of the Kilmichael ambush site is below,at the very end we have photo’s from Veronique  showing the ambush site as of August 2014,it has been a project that has caused controversy.Historical sites must be treated with respect and proper procedure should be enforced on developers,at all times the developments must be studied critically and at each stage particular stage reports filed.In  It should never be the intention by developers of historical sites to reinterpet the meaning of an original commemorative site. IVCO.


kilmichael ambush site 1

kilmichael ambush site 2

kilmichael ambush site 3

kilmichael ambush site 4


Prospect of Commemorative plaques to the Auxilaries at Kilmichael Ambush site


Seán Kelleher, secretary of the Kilmichael Historical Society, which along with the Kilmichael and Crossbarry Commemoration Committee is behind the development of the site, has denied that the auxiliaries would be commemorated.

There are proposals to have commemorative plaques to the British Auxilaries and believe it or not a replica crossley tender installed at the famous Kilmichael ambusth site in Co Cork. Is this site, where men died in combat (no matter the army of service) to be a gaudy interpetive centre and Disney like theme park ? See below two letters referring to this critical situation. We have been forwarded these letters concerning same as below, if anyone can verify that this is indeed  the actual case  please let us know so we can clear up the matter. ,



Kilmichael ambush site commemoration


Please see also

and  also this article



Seán Kelleher, secretary of the Kilmichael Historical Society, which along with the Kilmichael and Crossbarry Commemoration Committee is behind the development of the site, has denied that the auxiliaries would be commemorated.


Photos by Veronique Crombe AUGUST 2014-


Kilmichael ambush site_1470581425640151355_n






10269455_826053854094231_1696846930738793129_n (1)
























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The grave of the Commander in chief of IRA Kilcrumper cemetery,Co Cork.

Today,August 16,2014,We paid a small visit to the grave  of the Commander in chief of IRA, Kilcrumper cemetery,Co Cork. Photo’s below:

General Liam Lynch


2014-08-16 17.28.03


2014-08-16 17.28.48


2014-08-16 17.28.54

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Justice To Ireland

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Fian Seamus Courtney Passage West, Cork Dedication

The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation held a dedication today August 9, 2014 for Fian Seamus Courtney. IVCO Brian Crowley directed the ceremony. A wreath was laid by member Kevin Cross on behalf of the IVCO.

Many thanks to Joe Healy who gave the oration, Pat Manning who located the grave and proposed the commemoration, and Mick Nugent who laid a wreath on behalf of the Phoenix Society.

Many thanks to all those who took the time to attend this important commemoration.


By Eamon Murphy

Seamus Courtney was born in Cork City in 1897. His father Daniel, a blacksmith, was originally from Passage West. His mother Kate was from the Gortatlea area in Kerry. The Courtney’s lived in a small one bedroomed terraced house in the Hibernian Buildings just off Albert Road in Cork. The Courtney family home was right in the heart of Cork’s Jewish quarter, or ‘Jewtown’ as it was known to the locals, and at its height in 1910 had about 350 Jews living there, a good deal originating from Lithuania, mostly all congregating in or around the Hibernian Buildings. Despite the large Jewish community living around the Hibernian Buildings, a significant proportion of the local families were also Irish Catholics. Many of these were staunch nationalists, including the Courtneys. Others of note were the Smyths, Cotters, Mulcahys, Fitzgerald, and the Riordans; all of whom participated in the upcoming Independence movement in one way or another.

In 1912 when Seamus was fifteen years old, and having only just left school, he joined the Cork branch of the Irish National Boy Scouts, otherwise known as Na Fianna Eireann, which at that early stage held meetings at the Gaelic League headquarters An Dún in Queen Street. The Cork City Fianna branch had only been in existence for about a year but Seamus’ leadership qualities soon became apparent and he quickly rose up through the ranks and became leader of the Cork City Sluagh shortly after he joined. His leadership skills were also recognized beyond Cork City and he was soon in command of the Cork County Fianna by 1914. At that time there were branches throughout the county in places such as Blarney, Cobh, Douglas, Blackrock and Youghal. Courtney also represented Cork on the Munster Fianna Council, which had delegates from Tipperary, Waterford, Limerick and Kerry.

By this stage Seamus also became associated with the Irish Volunteers (IV) which had been founded in late 1913 and while he devoted the greater part of his time organizing, recruiting and training the Fianna, he was also regarded as an experienced and valuable officer by the Volunteer hierarchy in Cork, and he assisted in training of new Volunteer recruits.

At the Munster Fianna Convention held in Limerick in the summer of 1915 Courtney was appointed Commandant or O/C of the entire Munster Fianna organization. He delegated his previous role as head of the Cork Fianna to his able deputy and close friend Sean Healy.

In January 1916 Seamus took part in a week long ‘Officers Course’ held at Irish Volunteers HQ in Sheares Street, Cork City. Following orders received from IV Cork City Battalion O/C Sean O’Sullivan, in the days leading up to the Easter Rising, Seamus Courtney and Sean Healy mobilized about 20 senior Fianna Eireann officers at the Volunteers Hall in Sheares Street. On Easter Sunday morning the Fianna paraded in the Hall and several of them remained at Sheares Street for the rest of the week on standby.

Following the Rising the Fianna and Irish Volunteers were re-organised in Cork. In March 1917 a meeting of Fianna and Volunteer officers at Sheares Street was raided by the police and the names of those present, including Seamus Courtney and Sean Healy of the Fianna, were recorded. A week later, during the night Seamus and Sean were both arrested at their homes. The other officers had been tipped off about the imminent arrests but Courtney and Healy were not told as it was felt that they would not be arrested as they were too young. They were brought to the Bridewell detention centre in the city. They were charged with illegal drilling at the hall in Sheares Street, when they were clearly not doing anything of the sort and, despite their protests, were sentenced to eighteen months hard labour. It was subsequently reduced to three months on account of their age. They were sent to Cork Gaol. They served the full three months in harsh conditions and were released.

The Fianna organized a large welcome reception for Seamus and Sean the night of their release and the following Saturday another function was held where a presentation was made to each of them in the form of specially made inscribed Fianna wallets with ten pounds inside.

Once settled back into the regular routine of work and the movement, Seamus suggested to Sean and the other officers, about the possibility of inviting Countess Markievicz down from Dublin on behalf of the local branch of Fianna Eireann. Markievicz was only recently released from prison herself, and Seamus felt it would be a boost for the movement in Cork, a tribute to her and an honour for the Cork Fianna to have her as a guest in the city. Markievicz accepted the invite and Seamus began making plans for her stay. He booked City Hall for the occasion and arranged a full concert programme complete with a céilidh afterwards. He placed an advert in the local newspaper announcing her visit and arranged a horse drawn open carriage to collect her from the train station. The visit was a tremendous success and the streets were thronged with thousands of Corkonians hoping to catch a glimpse of this famous rebel woman. The concert itself was another triumph and Markievicz received a standing ovation when she took to the stage. Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney were so impressed with Seamus taking the initiative of organising the whole event and his tireless efforts with the Fianna, that they co-opted him onto the Battalion Council of the Irish Volunteers.

In October of that year (1917) another round up of senior Cork Volunteer and Fianna officers took place, this time there was no tip off and in total about 60 senior Republicans, including Seamus, found themselves behind bars. Following sentencing, they all received various terms of hard labour. A meeting of the prisoners was held and it was decided to start a hunger strike. Four days later they were all released under the ‘Cat and Mouse’ act.

Towards the end of spring, 1918, Seamus’ health rapidly deteriorated, due to ill treatment he received, and the hard labour conditions, during his two prison stays and the brief hunger strike. He gave up his job as secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and also found himself unable to devote his time to Fianna activities. He went to stay with his Aunt on their farm near Ballymacelligott in Kerry. It was hoped the fresh air and a well needed rest would help Seamus back to his feet however about five weeks later word was sent to his comrades in Cork that he was in a bad way and was not expected to pull through. He requested to see his old friend Sean Healy and following a visit Sean remarked that he was “shocked at the change in him in such a short time”. Two weeks after Sean’s visit to Kerry, on the 22nd of July 1918, Seamus passed away aged only 21 years old.

Seamus’ coffin was sent from Kerry to Cork by train and was draped with a tricolour by the Kerry Fianna. A huge crowd met the train and followed the Fianna guard of honour through the streets of Cork to the South Parish Church. A large crowd attended his funeral the next day, which was organized by Sean Healy and the Cork Fianna. The burial took place at Passage West.

In the years following Seamus’ sad passing, his resting place was devotedly tended to by two local men, former Fianna members, George Hurley and Charlie Meaney. As time went on and these two men passed away themselves, the grave at Passage West became neglected. Recently the Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organization (IVCO), a national organization but based in Cork, decided that it was now time that Seamus’ grave was once again given the attention and care it deserves. Credit must go to all the local Cork members of the IVCO who have ensured that Seamus and his brave deeds will not be forgotten.

By Eamon Murphy

Posted in An Irish Volunteers History 1913-1922, Commemorative Events & Exhibitions, Cork Volunteer Memorials, Fianna Eireann, Past Exhibitions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Irish volunteer uniform and Mauser rifle on show in the “Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn museum”

Irish volunteer uniform and Mauser rifle on show in the “Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn museum”

Pat O’Hagan on behalf of the Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisaton has loaned an Irish Volunteers uniform and equuipment to Lisburn museum.

Article courtesey of Andersonstown news.




_ILC7443 copy _ILC7446 copyll

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Fian Seamus Courtney Passage West,Cork

On Sunday June, members of the Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation began work on cleaning up the grave and restoring the metal work that depicts the pike, harp of the Irish Volunteers and the sun bursts of Fianna Eireann.

Pat Manning located this grave a while ago and provided the pictures and text,Joe Healy also had some useful contributions and Diarmuid ,Brian and Mick all helped out.Well done to all.

The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation will return to Seamus Courtney’s grave on Saturday, August,2014 at 2.30 pm for a dedication and wreath laying ceremony,please show your support and all are very welcome to attend. Contact Brian Crowley for details or call at 086 2517954

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Howth Commemoration July 26 and July 27, 2014

The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation held two exhibitions at Howth to Commmemorate the Asgard gun running. The exhibitions were on over the course of two days and were well attended.

Thanks to all who attended and a special thanks to Kosta, Padraig and the lads. Thanks also to Derek at “Dublin 1916 Then and Now” for the use of some photos below.

The Exhibition at the Angling Club



The exhibition at the Old Courthouse

Kevin McCann spots an interesting article at The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation Exhibition in Howth yesterday. A New Orleans news paper from 4th May 1916 that tells the story of a different sentence handed down to MacDiarmada. 

Thanks for all the support. Please share and invite your friends to like the 1st movie to tell the story of the Easter Rising.



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Howth gun-running


By Joe Healy

IVCO,Cork,July 23,2014.


Following the establishment of the Irish Volunteers in Dublin on 25 November 1913, leaders of the newly formed organisation set about obtaining arms and equipment for its members, in a bid to finally end Britain’s continuing occupation of Ireland.
With Home Rule for Ireland being regarded as a realistic prospect, the Ulster unionists began importing huge quantities of arms unhindered into the country (by 1914, almost 20,000 Protestant Ulstermen were under arms).
The Howth gun running, which took place on the 26th of July 1914, was essentially a  direct response to the successful landing of a shipment of 35,000 German rifles at Larne for Sir Edward Carson’s Ulster Volunteers the previous April.
The Howth landing was the first military operation in Ireland’s twentieth-century fight for independence and was a significant event in the lead up to the Easter Rising of 1916. It succeeded in putting a large haul of German Mauser M1871 11 mm calibre single shot rifles and ammunition in the hands of the Irish Volunteers. The guns dated from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, but were still functioning. Many were used to great effect in the GPO during the Rising two years later.
The initial plan was conceived and successfully carried out by a group of Anglo-Irish Republican sympathisers, including Erskine Childers, Molly Childers, Sir Roger Casement, Alice Stopford Green and Mary Spring Rice. Molly Childers and Spring Rice raised over £2000 in funds to purchase the arms while the Childers provided their yacht, the Asgard, to run the guns into Ireland.
Childers was a committed supporter of Home Rule and the Larne gun-running had convinced him of the need to counterbalance the situation by carrying out a similar venture on behalf of the Irish Volunteers.
Roger Casement was appointed as the link with the Volunteers’ leadership and Darrell Figgis was co-opted at Casement’s suggestion. At the end of May, Childers and Figgis travelled to the Hamburg arms firm of Moritz Magnus der Jüngere and bought a consignment of 1,500 Mauser Model 1871 rifles and 49,000 rounds of ammunition. On 12 July 1914 the arms were transferred at sea, from a German tugboat to Childers’s yacht Asgard and the Kelpie of Conor O’Brien.
As the movements of Kelpie were being monitored by the authorities, O’Brien transferred his cargo to Sir Thomas Myles in the Chotah off the coast of Wales. This was landed under cover of darkness on 1st August at Kilcoole, about 25 kilometres south of Dublin.
Only 900 of the rifles could be taken by the Asgard, and they completely filled the cabin. With space at such a premium, those on board had to eat and sleep while lying on the guns.
As it made its way to Ireland, the 51-foot  yacht ran into the biggest storm to hit the Irish Sea for a number of years. It was due to Childers’ seamanship and courage that the vessel survived at all and wasn’t swamped by the high seas.
On the morning of July 26, 1914, with the storm behind them, the Asgard sailed into Howth Harbour. The guns and ammunition were quickly unloaded by members of the Irish Volunteers and Na Fianna.
Kerry-born Republican, The O’Rahilly, later described the scene. `Twenty minutes sufficed to discharge her cargo; as many motor-cars flew with the ammunition to pre-arranged caches; and for the first time in a century 1,000 Irishmen with guns on their shoulders marched on Dublin town.”
The Volunteers and Fianna headed back to Dublin in military formation, passing armed policemen in Raheny and bypassing a military blockade in Clontarf.
Meanwhile, Dublin Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Harrel had declared the march ‘an illegal assembly’. The DMP, aided by troops of the 2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers were deployed to halt the Volunteers.
While returning to their barracks in Dublin, after an unsuccessful attempt to confiscate the weapons, a number of the troops opened fire on a hostile crowd of civilians. Three people were killed and thirty-eight others wounded.
At the official inquest into the incident the government’s commission concluded that the actions of the Scottish Borderers were ‘tainted with illegality’. The Borderers were subsequently transferred to the Western Front where they were to suffer many losses.
The Bachelor’s Walk shootings highlighted British double standards, where Unionists were effectively allowed to arm without government interference while Republicans were violently prevented from doing so when they tried to do likewise.
Whenever the exploits of the Howth landing are discussed the first name that usually springs to mind is that of Erskine Childers, who was born in England in 1870. His formative years were spent in Ireland at his aunt’s estate at Glandalough, County Wicklow. after he was effectively orphaned following his father’s death and his mothers confinement to a sanatorium. In 1880, aged ten, he returned to England and began preparatory school.
Nine years later he entered Cambridge University. There he earned a law degree and subsequently entered the British Civil Service as a Committee Clerk in the House of Commons.
Twice he volunteered to serve the country of his birth. In 1898 he enlisted as an artilleryman and served in the Boer War in South Africa. And then at the outbreak of World War One in 1914 – at the age of 44, and married with two children – he enlisted in the Royal Navy, firm in the belief that the Allies would ultimately respect the claims of Irish Nationality. For his naval service during the war, Childers was awarded Britain’s highest military honour, the Distinguished Service Cross.
However, the violent reaction of the British Government to the Easter Rising, particularly the harsh punishments imposed on the participants, including the execution of sixteen of its leaders, shocked Childers. In 1918, a Westminster bill proposing to extend military conscription to Ireland further angered him.
In March 1919, he returned with his family to Ireland and joined his cousin Robert Barton at Glendalough. Barton, a Sinn Fein member, introduced Childers to Michael Collins and also Éamon de Valera. Influenced by these and other nationalists, his Home Rule sympathies hardened into full support for an Irish Republic.
He was made Director of Publicity for the First Irish Parliament and in 1921 he was elected to the Second Dáil as Sinn Féin member for the Kildare/Wicklow constituency. He was appointed Minister for Propaganda and was secretary to the Irish delegation during the negotiations for a treaty with Britain in 1921. Despite attending the negotiations, Childers strongly disagreed with the signing of the Treaty.
One of the traits of Childers personality was that he would often become obsessed with whatever concerned him. It was a characteristic that remained with him throughout his life and may have accounted for the transformation from one who once argued for peaceful Home Rule legislation in 1912, to becoming ‘more Republican in outlook that the Republicans themselves’.
As the chief propagandist of the republican movement during the subsequent Civil War, Childers was hunted relentlessly by Free State Army soldiers. He was arrested at Glendalough House for carrying a gun, which it is said had originally been given to him by Michael Collins.
He was sentenced to death and was executed at Beggars Bush Barracks on November 24th 1922, having first shaken hands with each member of the firing squad.  He was buried in the grounds of the barracks until 1923 when his body was reinterred in the republican plot of Glasnevin Cemetery.
Erskine Childers initially considered the Howth action to be as much a symbolic response to the Larne gun-running as it was an exercise in procuring arms. Was he to know that it would act as a catalyst for the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and ultimately the establishment of an Irish Republic?
Today he is remembered as a writer and sailor, as a soldier of the British Empire who became an Irish Nationalist and as a Republican that could never come to terms with the outcome of the struggle.
In 1961, the Irish government acquired the Asgard and returned it to Wicklow in a re-enactment of the Howth gun-running. Several surviving members of the Volunteers and Na Fianna attended, some with the original Mauser rifles.
It was used for sail training until 1974, when it was dry-docked and installed as part of a National Museum exhibition in Kilmainham Gaol. From 2007 to 2012, a major restoration and conservation programme of the historic yacht was undertaken at the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks, and it is now on permanent display there.

Many thanks to member Joe Healy for a great article.




Posted in An Irish Volunteers History 1913-1922 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment Anniversary “ASGARD” Commemoration.

Upcoming event for your diary – 100th anniversary commemoration of the landing of gun running boat the Asgard at Howth in 1914. Commemoration takes place on the East Pier, Howth, on Saturday 26th July at 3pm,speaker Eoin Ó Broin.

There will be an exhibition by the Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation on Saturday at the Angling Centre, Howth pier from 11 am to 6 pm on the same day,FREE admission.  Event organised by Howth Sinn Fein,with special thanks to Kostas Moutskos and Mick Dowling.

Ballads later in the Angling centre from

.                     All welcome.

asgard commemoration

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Howth Gun Running Centenary Commemoration 1914-2014

An exhibition of artefacts from the Asgard gunrunning of 1914 will take place in the Old Court House, Harbour Rd. Howth on Sat 26th & Sun 27th of July,from to 6 pm. on Saturday and to 4 pm on Sunday.This exhibition will also include artefacts from the Revolution of 1916 & the War of Independence to 1923. The Irish Volunteers Comm Organisation will be hosting the exhibition. Talks given daily by local historians & prominent speakers.FREE admission

Venue: Old Court House, Harbour Rd. Howth.
Date: Sat 26th & Sun 27th of July.
Contact: Pádraig Drummond, 0858353625/

This is a non party political event and all are welcome.

On Saturday 26th of July there will be a talk on the Asgard Gun running and the Bachelors Walk Massacre by Kevin Morley author of “A Descriptive History of the Irish Citizen Army”.

This will be followed by a ballad session from local musicians with headline act from the one and only, Érin go Bragh.

Venue: The Abbey Tavern, Abbey St. Howth.
Date: Sat 26th July
Doors from 8pm.
Full bar with complementary finger food.
Táille €5.

Contact: Pádraig Drummond, 0858353625/ or e mail



howth gun running commemoration

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The attack on The Royal Irish Constabulary Kilmallock Barracks.

The RIC Kilmallock sign will be on display at Irish Volunteers Commemorative events around the country soon. It was captured by IRA Volunteers.

royal irish constabulary kilmallock barracks plate


royal irish constabulary,


Posted in British Forces, RIC, Auxilaries, Black & Tans, Individual Accounts Irish Volunteers 1913-1923, Royal Irish Constabulary & Dublin Metropolitan Police Memorials | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fian Seamus Courtney Passage West,Cork

Fian Seamus Courtney O/C Fianna Eireann,Cork,

he died as the result of the ill effects of a hunger strike while he was in jail for illegal drilling in 1919. ” Seamus Courtney was arrested in 1917 and lodged in Cork jail where he went on hunger strike. This undermined his health and on his release his health broke down completely and he died. He was buried at Passage with full military honours. In 1921, the Fianna were re-organized into Battalions and Brigades along the same lines as the Volunteers.” The first photo is Seamus and the others are the present condition of his grave in Passage West Old Cemetery”,Cork.

Fianna Seamus Courtney

Fianna Seamus Courtney


On Sunday June, members of the Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation began work on cleaning up the grave and restoring the metal work that depicts the pike, harp of the Irish Volunteers and the sun bursts of Fianna Eireann.

Pat Manning located this grave a while ago and provided the pictures and text,Joe Healy also had some useful contributions and Diarmuid ,Brian and Mick all helped out.Well done to all.

The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation will return to Seamus Courtney’s grave on Saturday, August,2014 at 2.30 pm  for a dedication and wreath laying ceremony,please show your support and all are very welcome to attend.

Work in progress:


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Report of the Irish Ceremony at Bannockburn on the 700th Anniversary of the Battle

Report of the Irish Ceremony at Bannockburn on the 700th Anniversary of the Battle

In brilliant sunshine on 21 June a crowd of around a hundred Irish and Scots attended an Irish ceremony to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, when over the two days of 23 and 24 June 1314, under the leadership of King Robert the Bruce; the victorious Scots and their Irish allies inflicted a heavy defeat on a numerically superior English army led by King Edward II in the first War of Scottish Independence.

Dr Mairtin O'Cathain delivering his speech

Dr Mairtin O’Cathain delivering his speech

The ceremony which was held in the Rotunda on the historic battle site was organised by members of the Irish community in Scotland with the endorsement of Irish for Yes and the Alba Branch of the Celtic League.

The historian Stephen Coyle who chaired the proceedings, explained that the purpose of the ceremony was two-fold; an act of remembrance for the Scots and Irish forces killed in the battle, and to highlight the historic ties that exist between the peoples of Scotland and Ireland and which can only grow stronger in an independent Scotland. He then introduced the first speaker Dr Máirtín Ó Catháin, Lecturer in Irish and European History at the Central University of Lancashire. In a very informative address Dr Ó Catháin explained the Irish dimension to the battle including the involvement of the armies of the O’Neills and O’Cathains in what was a magnificent display of Celtic solidarity in the struggle for freedom against the common English foe. In his concluding remarks Dr O’Cathain stated: “Ireland looked to Scotland in 1314 and it looks to it again in 2014. This time there’s no need to send a Bruce but if you send a message – that the writing is on the wall for the so-called Union, you’ll be doing a work not only for Scotland but for Ireland as well. And that is truly the best way to honour those who fought and died for Gaeldom and freedom”.

The next speaker was Caoimhín Ó Cadhla who is a Dublin based member of the Irish Branch of the Celtic League. Mr Ó Cadhla in his opening remarks stated: “We Irish look to your independence campaign with hope as we did 700 years ago. Realise that you are not just fighting for freedom for Scotland but for all the countries that seek their freedom around the world including the other Celtic Nations. This is not just a national issue but an international issue; that being the conflict between self-determination and the forces of imperialism”.

Irish for Yes at Bannockburn

Irish for Yes at Bannockburn

The final speaker was Feargal Dalton who is a Glasgow based Scottish National Party councillor. He first visited Scotland in 1994 to do some mountain climbing in the Highlands.  He stated: “I had learned a bit of Scottish Gàidhlig at school.  But I was struck by the place names on the map and how similar they were to the Irish language.  It was only then I realised how strong the cultural links are between Scotland and Ireland. We stopped in Glasgow on the way home and I was struck by the raw urban friendliness of Glaswegians; they reminded me of my fellow Dublin northsiders. I set about making Glasgow and Scotland my home which they became in 1996 and in the first Holyrood election of 1999 I voted for the SNP.  I bumped into a good friend on the way back from polling station, a friend who is a Scot but with a strong Irish identity. I told him that I had just done my bit in the election by voting for the SNP.  He said, “Oh no, we Irish in Scotland don’t want Independence.  We’d end up like the ones in Belfast.” I was taken aback. This was my first encounter with Unionism in the Irish Community in Scotland.  And it was a Unionism based on fear and fear alone”.

Mr Dalton went on to state: “Some in the Irish community have a lack of appreciation or a deliberate denial of the strong historical links between Scotland and Ireland. Unionists within the Irish community and in general in Scotland often say there is no connection between the Scottish and Irish independence movements.

I suggest they speak to a pupil in Ireland who is studying history. My history book at school had a photograph of James Connolly on the front.  Scotland’s very own Irish patriot.  A man who grew up in abject poverty in the Cowgate in Edinburgh. And he made the link between self-determination and social justice, ‘The cause of Ireland is the cause of labour and the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland.’

A hundred years ago there were unionists who said, “don’t devolve anything to the Irish.  Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.” Other unionists believed some powers needed to be devolved in order to kill nationalism by kindness. Sounds very like, “Devolution will kill nationalism stone dead”. The words in 1995 of our own George Robertson, Scotland’s foremost Unionist.

Earlier this month we had the commemorations for the fallen in Normandy.  Commemorations that were attended by the nations of the allies and Germany.  The British and Irish Governments are working out the detail of how they will commemorate the fallen of 1916 in two years’ time.

But John Major says that by commemorating the fallen at Bannockburn we are anti-English.

I can assure you Mr Major that I am only anti people who blame the failings of an indigenous elite on the poor, the sick and on immigrants. I would never denigrate your history or the memory of your fallen Mr Major, so I respectfully ask that you don’t denigrate ours.

The polls are showing that the gap between Yes and No has narrowed. We are finding on the doorstep in Glasgow that there is no gap. This is causing increasing panic at Westminster.

Some at Westminster are saying that they won’t recognise the reality of Scottish Independence. We even have some Westminster politicians saying that they won’t recognise a yes vote; peers from the House of Lords no less and what would they know about democracy.

My grandfather and others in my family played their part in the Irish independence movement. I can stand here today and proudly say that. Some in my family paid for that independence with their lives.

But here we are in Scotland in 2014. And at this defining time in our lives, in this defining moment in our country’s history, I say to those in the Irish community and the wider community; if you believe in the full self-determination of Celtic nations, all you have to do is simply put an X in a box next to Yes”.

The chairperson then read out a message of support from Dan O’Neill who is Chief Guardian of the Ancient Clan O’Neill of Tyrone, in which he expressed the importance of Celtic solidarity in our common struggles which would be best affirmed by casting a Yes vote on 18 September.


Eugene McCabe who is a Glasgow based Yes Scotland campaign activist, laid a wreath at the memorial cairn on behalf of the Irish in Scotland. The chairperson concluded the ceremony by asking those assembled to observe a minute’s silence while the uilleann piper, Uilliam ÓhAicéad, played a lament in memory of the fallen. The colour party simultaneously dipped its flags as a mark of respect.

Irish Wreath

Irish Wreath


Flags lowered for piper's lament to fallen

Flags lowered for piper’s lament to fallen




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Dunlop Oriel House – Corner of Fenian Street & Westland Row, Dublin.


By Michael McKenna:

Dunlop Oriel House – Corner of Fenian Street & Westland Row, Dublin.
I had a tour around the infamous Oriel House, headquarters of the CID during the Civil War this morning. I took these pictures in the upper floor of the old Dunlop Factory at the back of the building. The iron gate over the door to the factory dates back to at least Civil War days, and probably older as I believe the building was also used to house prisoners by the British. According to the security guard who took me around the building there were still cages there as recently as 5 or 6 years ago. As Eunan O’Halpin put it “Oriel House succeeded in its task of suppressing small scale republican activities in the Dublin area, not by the sophistication and efficiency its intelligence work… but by the more direct method of striking terror into its opponents”. It was certainly quite chilling to be taken through the basement of the building. For more information on the activities of the CID, this article is quite comprehensive.–_Oriel_House

Towards the end of the Civil War the CID et al actually moved out of Oriel House (whichever one it might be) and into a building on Merrion Square, close to Government Buildings. The front wall of Oriel House was blown in by a large mine. The corner building shows no sign of this, however the stone facade on the building now occupied by the RIAM looks newer than the rest of the building. I think the weight of evidence would tend towards the corner building, which also has the postal address of ‘Dunlop Oriel House’

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By James Langton:

From L-R: Fionan Lynch, Maurice Collins, who both fought in one of the most vicious battles , in North King Street. Piaras Beaslai, Vice Commandant aat the Four Courts, Frank Shouldice and his brother Jack Shouldice, who also fought in North King Street.

IRA veterans

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‘C.F. G. Co. Galway Batt. Galway Brigade IV’

By JL:

‘C.F. G. Co. Galway Batt. Galway Brigade IV’

'C.F. G. Co. Galway Batt. Galway Brigade IV'

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Tomás Mac Curtain Monument in Cork city,,, what a shame.

First Sinn Fein Lord Mayor. Shot dead by members of the
Royal Irish Constabulary during the Irish War of Independence.

Photos sent in by member Kevin Cross.

Kevin believes the monument is in a disgraceful condition,and looking at the photo’s it is hard to disagree with him. The lettering has faded badly, the stone work is tarnished and grimy and there is even graffiti on it. If the city are going to erect a monument they should at least take care of them. This monument was erected in 1999 and just look at the state of it,its like something 100 plus years old.


Now getting to the real problem here, is this”monument” a fitting memorial to a man who fought for Irish freedom and was murdered by the Royal Irish Constabulary in his home?

This “monument” was just slapped up,,and left there to decay. You would be hard pressed to know who in fact was Tomais MacCurtain by looking at the image of him,,bears no resemblance to the man at all,the whole thing is an insult,the wording on the stone does not even explain that he was OC of Cork 1 Brigade IRA and that he was murdered by the  Royal Irish Constabulary .  With 2016 right around the corner, and with a whole new draft of new city councillors in city hall, we appeal to them to rectify this monument and also the National monument in the Grand parade. The National monument is in a dreadful condition.It has been completely neglected. We are calling on the councillors of Cork city hall to also erect a new monument in Cork city to the Irish Volunteers ,Cummann na mBan and na Fianna Eireann in time for 2016 celebrations, this is the very least they deserve. They might also consider renaming certain streets and bridges after our own patriots ,Victoria Cross would be a good start.

Please send your comments to







Posted in Cork Volunteer Memorials | Tagged , , | Leave a comment Battalion, Cork Brigade,Irish Republican Army

By Gerry Monks:

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SEAN HEALY – ONE OF THE YOUNGEST MARTYRS OF 1916. JOINED na Fianna Eireann AT THE AGE OF 13.There is a plaque where he fell too in Phibsboro. Pearse sent him home because of his age, but asked him to drop in a dispatch to the Volunteers at the North Dublin Union,it was Jacobs, and it was actually to the Bridge in Phibsboro he was heading with a message for the Commanding Officer there. J. Langton.


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The Active Service Unit of the Dublin Brigade S.L. Augustine ‘Gus’ Murphy – Section Commander No. 4 Section ASU

By michael McKenna:
S.L. Augustine ‘Gus’ Murphy – Section Commander No. 4 Section ASU
The Active Service Unit of the Dublin Brigade was established at a meeting in Great Denmark Street in 1919 under the command of Oscar Traynor. Four sections were created, Lieut. Frank Flood was placed in command of Sections 1 and 2 on the north side of the city and Lieut. Johnny Dunne in command Sections 3 and 4 on the south side. Frank Flood was a UCD student and a close friend of Kevin Barry’s and it is very likely that he knew Bobbie Bonfield. 

There were about 50 members of the ASU in total. Unit headquarters was at Eustace Street and No. 4 Section was based in the Brickworks in Dolphin’s Barn and covered an area stretching from there to Thomas Street in the north and Inchicore to the west. The Section Commander (equivalent of Sergeant) of No. 4 Section was Gus Murphy and other members of the section included Joe McGuinness , Paddy Rigney, later a prominent anti-Treaty fighter, Padraig O’Connor and James Harpur, who were both later to become prominent officers in the Free State Army. James Harpur later recalled how the section was organised;

“G.H.Q. Intelligence Section collected data for jobs. The action to be carried out was an execution it was passed on by the Intelligence Section to the Squad who were a special unit to deal with such matters. If the action was an ambush it was passed on to the appropriate Active Service Unit. In addition, the ASU had its own Intelligence Section which was with the 3rd Battalion. This Section collected information which it passed on to the ASU Headquarters in Eustace Street. The 4th Section Headquarters was in the Brickworks in Dolphins Barn. The Section Commander, Gus Murphy would attend at Unit Headquarters each morning and bring whatever instructions he received back to us at Dolphins Barn.”

S.L. Augustine ‘Gus’ Murphy was the son of John and Ester Murphy from Balantona, Manor Kilbride, Co. Wicklow, but at this point he was living in Watkin’s Buildings, The Coombe, Dublin. Watkin’s Buildings housed workers from the nearby Watkins Brewery so it is likely that he or a member of his family worked there. The brewery brewed ale and stout.

On Holy Thursday, 24th March 1921 Murphy led a unit to assassinate the Chief Clerk of the Ballykinlar internment camp who had recently moved to live in the Crumlin area. The Clerk was held up on Cork Street but instead of surrendering, he drew his gun. He was immediately shot and wounded so seriously that he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In the exchange of fire a young girl called Keegan was also tragically killed.

The following day Murphy and two other members of the ASU (one of whom was probably Paddy Rigney) were unarmed and on their way to Mount Argus when they were stopped by British troops who also appeared to be unarmed. They refused to put their hands up and got to grips with the soldiers. In the ensuing melée Murphy was shot in the stomach when one of the soldiers produced a mall revolver from his sleeve. He died later that day in the Meath Hospital. So in a tragic twist of fate in the Meath hospital on Good Friday 1921 lay the critically wounded Clerk while in the mortuary of the same institution lay the dead bodies of Murphy and the little Keegan girl.

Gus Murphy was very popular with his men and he was given a full military funeral by the IRA. He was buried in his home town in Wicklow and Michael Sweeney took over as Section Commander of No. 4 Section. Sweeney was a ferocious fighter who was to be involved in organising and participating in many actions against British troops in the area over the coming months.

Paddy Rigney later told his son that they were able to identify the British soldiers involved in Murphy’s death and the pubs they frequented. They bided their time and avenged their comrades’ death.

In his Witness Statement Padraig O’Connor states;

“Gus Murphy was made Sergeant after Sweeney went to hospital and shortly after he was made Sergeant he was in a scuffle with two soldiers in Charlemount Street. He was badly wounded and was taken to the Meath Hospital, where he died almost immediately.”

However, O’Connor seems to be getting mixed up here as Gus Murphy died on Good Friday 25th March 1921, while the Halfway House ambush took place on 5th May 1921. So it would appear that Sweeney replaced Murphy as Section Commander, rather than the other way around.


Posted in Individual Accounts Irish Volunteers 1913-1923 | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Irish Republican postcards

Below are some Republican postcards and photos , some are quite “famous” while others are of lesser known Republicans, one is of IRA Volunteer Meagher ,does anybody know who is in the photo with him? Or does anybody have more information on the others?

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