In the news yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the attempted landing of German arms in Kerry by Roger Casement on the Aud-Norge.
But much or the arms were planned to be delivered by train to Millstreet and forwarded to Carriganima for distribution throughout Cork County. The visit of Padraig Pearse, and the thorough scouting of the area by Terence McSwiney were all in preperation for this distribution of arms.
“Halfway between Macroom and Millstreet, Co Cork, Carriganima was the intended rallying point for hundreds of Irish Volunteers from Cork city and county on Easter Sunday, April 23, 1916. The plan was for them move early on Monday to disrupt military attempts to stop German guns being brought by rail from Kerry on the line near Rathmore and Millstreet. Although the plan was deemed pointless when the arms landing was foiled days earlier, almost 500 Volunteers marched to Macroom and Carriganima.”
To find out more, go to the 1916 Centenary Commemoration event in Carriganima, next Sunday at 1pm (details)
Padraig Pearse plotted to import Guns in the South West
MUCH is often made of the fact that the military strategy for the rising outside Dublin was fairly minimal, but there were long and detailed preparations in the months leading to Easter 1916.
For most who were involved, those plans were made with the understanding that they were solely for the importation of guns into the south-west. But many in the highest echelons of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) knew, or had some notion at least, that something more serious was afoot.
Patrick Pearse visited Cork in August 1915, just a couple of weeks after his now-famous “the fools, the fools, the fools” speech at the graveside of the famous west Cork Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery. His words having been reproduced in national and local papers in the interim, he was well-feted when attending a feis in North-west Cork three weeks later.
While returning from a feis in Millstreet on Sunday, August 22, the group accompanying him stopped off near the small village of Carriganima.
It is halfway along the 12-mile journey to Macroom, where they planned to take a train back to Cork City. On a hilly piece of ground, Pearse spoke with young local men during the break in the journey.
While ostensibly part of the routine recruiting and awareness-building being undertaken at the time by Pearse as the Irish Volunteers director of organisation, the day’s journey likely served a much more important purpose.
Eight months later, on Easter Sunday, April 23, hundreds of Irish Volunteers assembled in or near Macroom, Carriganima, and Millstreet in what had been intended to be part of the mission to distribute guns supplied through the Germans in support of an IRB-planned Rising. But in August 1915, Patrick Pearse was one of only a handful of men at the very centre of the plot.
It was likely no coincidence, either, that Terence MacSwiney — a full-time paid Irish Volunteers organiser since August 1915 — scouted a route that skirted the Cork-Kerry border in great detail within months of Pearse’s visit.
As second-in-command to Tomás MacCurtain of the Volunteers’ Cork Brigade, a diary he left of his organising work in the autumn and winter of that year shows how much MacSwiney had planned.
Diarmuid Lynch, an IRB Supreme Council member and MacSwiney’s fellow Corkman, was tasked with identifying the location where German guns should land.
It was decided in the weeks after Pearse’s Cork visit that Fenit in Tralee harbour would be the place, and the general concensus among historians is that it was planned to distribute the arms to Volunteers in Cork, Limerick, and as far as Galway.
The idea of holding the line along the Shannon, from Limerick to Athlone probably emerged from earlier plans by the IRB Military Council to bring the guns into the Shannon estuary in Limerick.
Despite the change of landing location, this strategy may have remained in place, requiring the formation of a defensive line from the south-west, near the rugged Cork-Kerry border, up to the midlands.
In order to make the plan viable, the arms sent from the Kaiser’s army in Berlin had to reach Volunteers in Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, and Galway, meaning men needed to stop their distribution being hampered by the arrival of military.
MacSwiney’s journal for December 1915 detailed the roads, rail lines, and surrounding landscapes from the river estuary in Kenmare to Kilgarvan, north through Glenflesk and Barraduff to Rathmore and into north-west Cork to Millstreet and Banteer. He described hedgerow trees on the riverside of the main northern road from Kenmare to Kilgarvan, and the “very bare and open” country between the road and the mountain to the north. The alternate mountain road running south of the River Roughty is also described … (read the full article)
On Easter Sunday morning the Cork Battalion paraded at the Volunteer Rail in Sheaves’ Street. From there the marched to the Capwell Station of the Cork and Macroom railway and entrained for Crookstown. They left the train there and marched to Beal. na mBlath where they linked up with the West Cork Battalion. The two battalions, with the Cork City Commandant, Seán O’Sullivan, in command, marched on to Macroom where they arrived in the afternoon.
It was originally intended that the entire contingent would move to Carriganima that evening, remain there overnight, and finally occupy the positions planned for them at Millstreet and Rathmore on Easter Monday, 1916.
When the main body of the Cork Battalion had left Shearer’ Street to entrain at Capwell Station, another despatch arrived at the Hall from Eoin MacNeill in which all orders lately issued were cancelled, and directing all commandsto carry out the field manoeuvres as originally planned for the day.
From Witness statements by Sean Murphy, Thomas Barry, Patrick Canton, James Wickham.
On board the Libau (masquarading as the SS Aud), were an estimated 20,000 rifles, 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, 10 machine guns, and explosives (under a camouflage of a timber cargo).
Watch, listen and read about yesterday’s commemorations on Banna Strand on RTÉ.ie
All 29 Members of Rathduane Company turned out in Millstreet – Of the companies that marched to Mount Leader outside Millstreet, Rathduane was the largest; all its 29 members at Easter 1916 turned out. Like the smaller companies of Mushera and Keale, it had been formed in November 1915. The Volunteers in Millstreet town had only seven members at Easter 1916, but all turned out, and all but two of the neighbouring Mushera and Keale companies were present … full article on TheIrishRevolution.ie
— theirishrevolution (@theirishrev) June 14, 2016