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






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