When Millstreet was declared part of new Special Military Area

On this day one hundred years ago (Oct 5th 1918) West Cork Riding was declared Special Military Area. Nobody could enter area without a permit from the military authorities in Bandon. Measure was a direct (albeit belated) response to July 1918 Irish Volunteers Beal an Ghleanna Ambush that left 2 policemen injured. It was the first attack on the RIC since 1916. Fairs, markets, commercial travel and other business were severely restricted over the following months, as was personal travel, with military checks at trains arriving into stations on the many rail lines running through West Cork a century ago. West Cork Riding covered most of west half of county; not west Cork as we think of it today. Very roughly, imagine a diagonal line running from immediately west of Kinsale, through area west of Rylane, then, between Millstreet and Banteer, turning west toward Kerry.

[read more …] “When Millstreet was declared part of new Special Military Area”

Shane’s Superb Photographic Study of Knocknakilla Stone Circle 2018

 

A superb pictorial study of the Knocknakilla Stone Circle by wonderfully talented Photographer, Shane McCarthy of Carriganima. We thank Share for sharing such a splendid silhouette image. Click on the picture to enlarge. (S.R.)

Finding Garrett Cotter: the story behind the man whose name is on the Cotter Dam

For nearly 200 years, a brave young rebel from Millstreet, convicted and transported to Australia for firing on the His Majesty’s troops, has been the heroic name behind the river, the valley, the gap and dam that supplies potable water to Canberra. Below is a brief overview of his life:

Garrett Cotter was born in 1802 to peasant farmers, north of Millstreet in County Cork. British penal laws had denied Catholic families like Cotter’s not just the vote, but any education, land and major assets as well. They were consigned to penury and effective servitude.

This was a society, fumed reforming Edmund Burke in the House of Commons, “as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of the people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man”.

[read more …] “Finding Garrett Cotter: the story behind the man whose name is on the Cotter Dam”

Butter Road Celebrations to be Held at The Aubane Community Centre on Friday 18th May

A Celebration of 270 Years of The Old Butter Road 1748-2018 is to be Held in The Aubane Community Centre on Friday 18th May at 7.30pm

Tickets are €27 and are available from Noreen Kelleher on 087 9486673 or Celeste Buckley on 083 3135750

Book your tickets now. Last day to purchase tickets is Wednesday May 9th 2018.

Gerry White’s Oration at the Easter Commemorations 2018

In the wind and rain of Easter Sunday just gone, Gerry White’s gave the speech at the Easter Commemoration at the Monument in the Square. With his permission, and the agreement of Millstreet Monument Committee, below is his speech so that those that were not there on the day can read it:

A Chairde,
My dear friends,

It is with great humility that I stand here before you today by this fine monument. I also stand here today as someone who is deeply conscious of the huge debt we owe those who came before us and the efforts and sacrifices they made to build the country we live in today. I also consider it a great privilege to be here and I want to thank the committee for giving me honour to address you.

This monument stands as a silent, solemn tribute to Millstreet’s patriot dead who lost their lives during Ireland’s fight for freedom. All of those men were members of Cork No. 4 Brigade of Óglaigh na Éireann, the Irish Republican Army. They were: Captain Patrick McCarthy of the 2nd Battalion and Captain Cornelius Murphy, Volunteer Michael Dineen, Volunteer Bernard Moynihan, and Volunteer Michael Twohig of the 1st Battalion. Today we remember them, their sacrifice and the loved ones they left behind.  [read more …] “Gerry White’s Oration at the Easter Commemorations 2018”

Presentation of Important Historic Items to Millstreet Museum

In this Easter Week 2018 we celebrate the recent presentation by Noreen O’Sullivan (née Hickey of Mill Lane, Millstreet), Kilcummin, Killarney of three wonderfully historic items relating to Denis Hickey who was awarded a prestigious medal having died in Gallipoli in 1915.   The excellent items are presented in memory of the late Owen Hickey, Coolatouder, Kileady, Ballinhassig whose father, Ted, is a native of Mill Lane, Millstreet.   The brother of Denis, J.F. Hickey of the Royal Irish Regiment who died in 1918 is remembered in the West End Cemetery.  We wish to express our sincere thanks to Noreen, Ted and the Hickey Family for this very important historic presentation to Millstreet Museum. Click on the images to enlarge.  (S.R.) [read more …] “Presentation of Important Historic Items to Millstreet Museum”

Easter Sunday Commemoration 2018

The guest speaker is Gerry White, who is a well known military historian and an author of several books on WWI and local history, including ‘A Great Sacrifice – Cork Servicemen who died in the Great War’, and ‘The Burning of Cork’ with Brendan O’Shea, he also wrote ‘Baptised in Blood’ the Cork story of 1916. Recently Gerry contributed two articles to the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year relating to the full story of Ireland’s revolutionary history from 1913 to 1923 ‘Atlas of the Irish Revolution’

[read more …] “Easter Sunday Commemoration 2018”

On the recent passing of Lady Elizabeth O’Connell

The recent passing of Lady Elizabeth O Connell  R. I. P. marks another chapter of the long association of the McCarthy O Leary family with Coomlogane which commenced with the acquisition by Denis O Leary of the lands of Coomlogane from Lord Muskerry on 29th September 1781. Elizabeth was a surviving member of the Coomlogane line of the family. Her Grandfather William died in the Boer war on 27th February 1900, and was  survived by his widow Mary née Considine and their 5 children John ( Elizabeth’s father) , Mary Ellen, William, Heffernan (Donagh)  and Amy. They were the last children born in the Great House.
    John, William & Donagh served in the Great War.  William was killed in action aged 22, John and Donagh survived but John who had married Rose Mary Fogarty died in the early 1920s. Elizabeth was the only child of the marriage and later married Sir Morgan O Connell.
    Both Elizabeth and her husband had family connections with Daniel O Connell the Liberator. Elizabeth’s great grandmother Jane Frances McCarthy O Leary (nee O Connell)  was a niece of Daniel O Connell. Elizabeth’s mother Rose Mary lived in London and died on 9th May 1953 survived by Elizabeth who went on to have a long and happy life in Killarney.
    The abiding legacy of the family will be the gift of the lands for
The Church, Cemetery, Presbytery and Schools by Eileen McCarthy O Leary in 1811.

[read more …] “On the recent passing of Lady Elizabeth O’Connell”

PTE. Daniel Francis Corkery, 6919, 2ND BATTALION, ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS

Daniel Corkery of West End, Millstreet died on this day a hundred years ago in WWI (March 21st 1918), from wounds suffered during the German Kaiserschlacht (Spring Offensive).

PTE. DANIEL CORKERY, 6919, 2ND BATTALION, ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS

(27th April 1897 – 21st March 1918)
(He died this day 100 years ago)

by Kevin O’Byrne

On September 4th 1915, the ship, ‘The Hesperian‘, left Liverpool bound for Canada. Some 350 passengers were on board. At 8.30 pm as darkness was falling, she passed the Fastnet Rock. Without warning, Captain Schweiger, in a German submarine, launched a torpedo which struck ‘The Hesperian’ in the forward engine room. Captain Main of ‘The Hesperian’ ordered the passengers and crew into lifeboats but he remained on the bridge with his officers. The German submarine was the same one that sunk the ‘Lusitania’ on May 7th, 1915 with a loss of almost 1200 lives.

This time 32 lives were lost. Among the survivors was my Uncle, Daniel Corkery from West End, Millstreet, Co. Cork. On Sept 3rd he had sent a card with a picture of the Hesperian to his father saying that he had just boarded the ship. On Sept 6th his father had a letter from Danny in Queenstown (Cobh) informing him that the ship had been torpedoed 400 miles from the town. The lifeboat, my uncle was in, was picked up by ‘The Empress’ which had come out from Queenstown to rescue people.

2014-12-07 Pte Daniell Corkery - Torpedoing of the Hesperian - More of the SurvivorsAfter this ordeal my uncle appears to have stayed at home for some time. On Tuesday April l8th, 1916, he joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers (RMF) and left for the Tralee depot on Easter Sunday April 23rd 1916. From then until he was sent to France on December 1st 1916, he wrote several letters home to [read more …] “PTE. Daniel Francis Corkery, 6919, 2ND BATTALION, ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS”

The first Millstreet Men to Apply to the Garda Síochána

After the War of Independence, the Civic Guard (later renamed the Garda Síochána na hÉireann) was formed by the Provisional Government in February 1922 to take over the responsibility of policing the fledgling Irish Free State. It replaced the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Irish Republican Police of 1919–22. It was a dangerous time as  the Civil War  was taking place, made worse for its initial members, as many were former R.I.C, but join they did, and from all over the country

Last weekend the registers of the first applicants to the new Civic Guard (successful and unsuccessful)  were released online by the Garda Museum. We have found 15 who applied from the Millstreet area, out of about 7,500 applications from 1922 to 1924. Here are a quick list of those men, and below is each applicant’s record in more detail:

Timothy Buckley, Ballyvouskil
Cornelius Dennehy, Keale
James O’Connell, Knockacarracoosh
Denis Kelleher, Cloghouldbeg
Patrick Murphy, Ahane
William Cashman, Laught
John Cronin, Meenskehy
Jeremiah O’Riordan, Pound Hill
Michael Thornton, Drishanebeg
Timothy Cremin, Millstreet
Patrick J Horgan, Keale
Cornelius Dennehy, Liscreagh
Cornelius O’Sullivan, Lisnabee
Denis Buckley, Glountane West
Jeremiah Horgan, Keale

The first advertisement for the Civic Guard (February 1923) reads:
The Freestate – An Gárda Síochána
We are recruiting two thousand (2,000) men for An Ghárda Síochana
Conditions: Age — –19-27 Height – 5′ 9″ Chest —-36″ Health—-Good
Examination subjects
(1)write a simple letter
(2) dictation, a small amount to write
(3) numeracy, simple questions to solve
500 places are reserved for fluent Irish speakers
We will only accept applications from individuals who worked on behalf of Ireland against England during the war against England
Send applications to the office of An Gárda Síochána nearest to you or write directly to
Eoin O’Duffey, Commissioner, An Gárda Síochána, Dublin Castle

 

 

 

 

[read more …] “The first Millstreet Men to Apply to the Garda Síochána”

We Should Commemorate the Attack on the Carnegie Hall

The 4th of January 1923 in Irish local history was the day of the Attack on the Carnegie Hall by Anti-Treaty fighters from Cork and Kerry IRA units, under Tom Barry.

I want to stand on my “soapbox” for a minute and say my piece. Listen or keep scrolling it’s a free country 🙂

Leave the past in the past were it belongs! Come together to commemorate this part of our history, say a few prayers, shake hands and move on with our lives.
In today’s society where there’s a celebration, a parade, a speech (which is right too) for a lot of stuff, and yet not even a prayer said on site yesterday to commemorate what happened. I think it’s very wrong.
The 100th year anniversary is coming up. I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to put a plaque up on the building, have a little unveiling, and say a few prayers for the souls of the people on both sides! Advertise it and if just 5 people come or 500, let the plaque be there for ever more so people can come when ever they want to themselves!
We said it to the council yesterday and they agreed with us!
Whether it will happen now is another story. I think it should.

The Millstreet Man who saved the Limerick Leader

Buckley, Jeremiah (1862–1937), newspaper proprietor, accountant, and nationalist, was born 16 November 1862 in Coomlogane, Millstreet, Co. Cork, the second son of John Buckley, gentleman, and Ellen Buckley (née Mullane), of Curragh, Millstreet, Co. Cork. He entered King’s Inns (1890) and was called to the bar in 1893. Having dealt with only a few cases he went on to become a chartered accountant, as a junior at Kean and Co., Dame St., Dublin. He bought this company on Kean’s death, retaining its working name. Around 1900 he also obtained ownership of the Limerick Leader, which had been founded in 1889 as a pro-nationalist journal, and run into financial difficulties. He revitalised the paper, securing its finances and maintaining its pro-nationalist stance. In 1902 he was jailed for one month because of a Leader editorial in which he denounced those who occupied the land of evicted tenants. The paper was again in trouble in 1919 when it was suppressed by the authorities for supplying information on the national loan organised by the first Dáil.

Buckley became an advisor and close friend of Éamon de Valera (qv) and was heavily involved in the foundation and development of [read more …] “The Millstreet Man who saved the Limerick Leader”

Historical Maps of Millstreet

In this article we try to bring together all the old maps which made reference to  Millstreet or some notable place nearby. The first detailed inland maps come from the early 17th Century, until proper ordinance survey maps in the first half of the 19th century. All the maps below give something different on how our area was mapped / perceived. Some of the maps are are not from field studies, but adapted and combined from other peoples work to produce the map.

You can click on all the maps and see a much larger version, and there are links to the sources of all maps, most of which are much larger maps of Cork, Munster or Ireland.


16th Century – McCarthy Sects in the Kingdom of Desmond.
[from Wikipedia – see the Map of Munster] [more on the McCarthys of Desmond]
1920 - 16th Century McCarthy Sects in the Kingdom of Desmond


1595/1606 Mercator and Hondius Map of Ireland.
Cork is left to middle at the bottom. It shows Dereshane (Drishane), Dromagh (which appears closer to Cork than Macroom!), Magrome(Macroom), Cantorkes (Kanturk), and Glen Elix (The Glen of Ellis, referring to the Ellis family who lived in the area at the time [ref]. The maps of the time were more interested in the costal waterways than what was inland, thus the waterways were enlarged. There are two versions of the map 1595, and 1606, and they differ only by the colouring of the banner
1606 Mercator and Hondius Map of Munster


1610 John Speed Map of Ireland: shows Drishane (Derishane), and Mushera (Knock Muskery) [full map] [2.in Black and White] [high quality]

1610 John Speed map of Ireland [read more …] “Historical Maps of Millstreet”

A Statistical Survey of Millstreet (1810)

“Near Millstreet the principal seat is Westwood, the property of John Wallis, Esq. an extensive demesne, situated on the Blackwater, and richly adorned with timber. It enjoys the convenience of limestone, the staple manure of this part of the country, and from which several parts of it are very remote. The neighbourhood of Millstreet, surrounded for the most part by lofty mountains, contains nevertheless a good deal of arable land, which lets much higher than might be expected from its remote situation. There are instances of farm land bringing 40s- per acre, and near the town still greater rents. Turf fuel is here in the utmost abundance, affording most convenient means, from the proximity of limestone, for reclaiming the extensive ranges of moorland, with which this part of the country abounds. Of these there are some very fine tracts adjoining the Blackwater, and not much elevated above the bed of the river. I know no part of the county, that presents, to appearance, a finer subject for the hand of judicious improvement. The expense of draining, which is the grand requisite, might perhaps be very considerable, but the return of profit would amply repay any expenditure. The circumstances of the [read more …] “A Statistical Survey of Millstreet (1810)”

Huge Demonstration at Moll Carthy’s

Ahead of this evening’s table quiz at Moll Carthy’s Bridge, we briefly look back at an event when 6,000 people converged on Moll Carthy’s:

“On January 23 (1887), an enthusiastic demonstration under the auspices of the National League was held at Moll Carthy’s Bridge, situated eight miles from the town of Kanturk. There was an enormous assemblage, estimated at 6,000 persons. There were two brass bands and several fife and dram bands in attendance, accompanied by contingents from all the surrounding branches of the League, including Banteer, Dromagh, Dromtarriff, Millstreet, Ballyvourney, Carrigenema, Newmarket, Ballyclough, Lyre, Kilcorney, and Nadd. A large force of police under the Millstreet district inspector was present. A Government note-taker was also present and took notes of the speeches.” – from the NZ Tablet

150th Anniversary of the Manchester Martyrs

THE MANCHESTER MARTYRS”

by

COL (Ret.) Robert J. Bateman, NYARG

Past National Historian, AOH (1976 – 1980)

Past Division #8 Historian, Lawrence, MA

Division #18 Historian, Peekskill, N.Y.

(Great-grandnephew of Captain Timothy Deasy)

On the 150th anniversary of their deaths, let us pause to commemorate, the brave Fenian heroes forever known in Irish history as “THE MANCHESTER MARTYRS” .

On the 18th of September 1867, in Manchester, England, Colonel Rickard O’Sullivan Burke, Captain Michael O’Brien, Captain Edward O’Meagher Condon and a rescue party of fifteen other Bold Fenian Men rescued Colonel Thomas Kelly, Chief Executive of the IRB and Captain Timothy Deasy, the Deputy Central Organizer of the Irish Republic and IRB commander for Manchester and Liverpool, who were being transported from Bellvue “Goal” (jail) by British Authorities. The Fenian Officers Burke, Condon, O’Brien, Kelly and Deasy, all American citizens and combat veterans of the American Civil War, were also members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America; while Burke, Allen, O’Brien, Condon and Deasy were all from County Cork. The names of the 15 other Fenians who made up the rescue party were Thomas O’Bolger, James Laverty, John Neary, Peter Ryan, William Melvin, Michael Larkin, Timothy Featherstone, Charles Moorhouse, Peter Rice, William Philip Allen, Patrick Bloomfield, John Stoneham, Joseph Ryan and James Cahill.

During the rescue, (“THE SMASHING OF THE VAN”), Sergeant Charles Brett, a Manchester Police veteran of some twenty-five years, was accidentally shot and killed. [read more …] “150th Anniversary of the Manchester Martyrs”

Long Herlihy’s in 1953

Apparently Timothy Herlihy was a bit of a local character in the Aubane area. His home was very near Clashatrake Bridge (between Aubane and Kilcorney Creamery), set on the lower slope of Glenleigh, and is clearly seen in the above photo which was taken from across the valley in Lacht in 1953, showing it and the surrounding valley, including a distant Mushera Mountain at the top left.
[read more …] “Long Herlihy’s in 1953”

Clara Hillfort


While most of us have been to the top of Clara Mountain, many don’t know that on top, the remains of an ancient hillfort lie under the heather. It can be made out in the photo above which shows Clara with Millstreet in the background. The hillfort is described in a new archaeological site: The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland, which maps for the first time all the ancient hillforts across the landscapes of Ireland and the UK:

“Contour fort positioned at the summit of Claragh Mountain, overlooking the town of Millstreet. The circular enclosing element measures 122m in diameter and comprises a single bank of loose stone with no discernible ditch feature. It occupies a total area of 1ha. Possible original entrance at WNW. Up to four breaks in the bank have been created in recent years. Near the center of the interior, a sub-rectangular enclosure, 19m E _ W, 14mN _ S, is defined by a setting of stones. A cairn, 8m in diameter and 0.5m in maximum height is incorporated in to W section of the hillfort bank. Sections of peat at summit suggest an even blanket of peat approximately 0.2m in depth. Some heather growth in interior. There have been no archaeological investigations of this hillfort.
Entrance: Simple break in hillfort bank, 8m wide. West side”

[read more …] “Clara Hillfort”

Railway Gatekeeper at Dooneen

Many thanks to Kevin McDermott for the above photo which shows his wife Noreen’s Grandfather and Grandmother -John and Katherine Cronin.  John Cronin was the Railway Gatekeeper at Dooneen, Millstreet, and lived in the Gatekeepers cottage at the time.  He’m thinking that the photo was taken early in the nineteen hundreds probably around 1910.  Noreen (née Cronin) was formerly from Murphy’s Terrace.  [read more …] “Railway Gatekeeper at Dooneen”

The Killing of Michael Dinneen

Early on the morning of the 24th of June 1921 I.R.A. Volunteer Michael Dineen from the Kilcorney Company County Cork was taken prisoner by Auxiliaries in a round-up of I.R.A. suspects. He was picked up at his brother’s house Ivale, and his body was later found at Tooreenbawn some three hundred yards from his home he had been shot.

“About 7 a.m. on Friday, June 24th., I noticed some Auxiliaries and a policeman at a little distance from my house. I have since ascertained that the policeman’s name was Dowd. I called my brother, Michael, who was in bed. He got up and dressed, and was saying his morning prayers when the Auxiliaries came in. They questioned him and charged him with being in the Rathcoole Ambush on the previous week, and with being an officer in the I.R.A., all of which was untrue, and which he denied. Then they took him out of the house and one of them went to his room, searched it and took some money. When this man came downstairs he ordered my brother to be brought in again, and questioned him about Sinn Fein, etc, and said: “I’m going to shoot you because you must be an officer in the I.R.A.” “If you do,” said Michael, “I can’t help it. I suppose you shot as innocent men as me.” He ordered Michael to be brought outside  [read more …] “The Killing of Michael Dinneen”

A Car Crash, and a Dead Cow by Magic Bullet

Andrew Duggan’s hardware store / pub at the Bridge (1912).

The below interesting debate took place between Thomas Nagle, TD for North Cork, and George Nicholls, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, during Question Time in Dáil Eireann on Tuesday, 19 May 1925.

TOMAS DE NOGLA:     asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that Mr. A. Duggan, Millstreet, Co. Cork, has been refused compensation in respect of damage done to a car by collision with a military lorry, which it is stated was travelling very fast, and, if so, if he will agree to reconsider the claim.

Mr. NICHOLLS:     I regret that I cannot agree to reconsider Mr. Duggan’s claim for compensation in respect of damage alleged to have been done to his car by collision with a military lorry.

Mr. NAGLE:     Are any damages paid in cases where military lorries injure private persons’ property?

Mr. NICHOLLS:     This accident occurred on the 2nd December, 1922, at midnight, after a Crossley tender had passed two other carts without any untoward results. Exhaustive inquiries have been made in connection with the claim which is for £9 4s. 6d. in respect of upset to a cart containing cases of whiskey, wine, etc.  [read more …] “A Car Crash, and a Dead Cow by Magic Bullet”

This day 1773 – The Murder of Art Ó Laoghaire

This day in 1773 – Art Ó Laoghaire, the subject of Eileen O’Leary’s lament ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’, is shot and murdered by soldiers at Carriganima. Art was closely related to the McCarthy’s of Drishane.

The below documentary has come to light recently and  covers the poem and the life of Art O’Laoghaire and Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill (Eileen O’ Connell).

The poem was recorded by a Millstreet lady Nora Ní Shindile (a professional keener). Read our article on her and the poem.

Mushera Volunteers Easter 1916 Plaque Unveiling Celebrations DVD now available

A new DVD has been produced of the Plaque unveiling in Aubane Community Centre which took place last December to remember the 1916 Mushera Company of Irish Volunteers, the price of the DVD is 10 Euro and copies are available from Noreen Kelleher Aubane and Noreen can be contacted on 087 9486673 if you wish to purchase a Copy.

 

Does anyone know of Crippleford?

Bob Kenney has been researching his family tree and is stuck at his great great great grandmother. She was Ellen Healy of Crippleford, and her marriage to Timothy Buckley on June 1, 1833 is listed in the Dromtarriffe Parish Register.

He had been trying to locate Crippleford, but after some time failed, so he asked us, but we’ve never heard of it, and no-one we asked has heard of it either. So we’re wondering if anyone of our readers has heard of it, or could ask someone that might know. Bob would be delighted if someone could help him out. If so please leave a comment below, or contact us directly [contact details are on our Contact Page].

A few thoughts:

1.. There are a couple of references to Crippleford online, all referring to “Thomas Wallace born Jan.6, 1806 in Rethcool, Duhallow, Cripleford on the Blackwater in County Cork,Ireland”. [1] [2]. There are also more references to Crippleford in the parish register, so it’s safe to say that the name did/does exist in the Dromtarriffe Parish area.

2.. It was normal for [read more …] “Does anyone know of Crippleford?”

The Attack on the Carnegie Hall (Jan 4th 1923)

1923 – A column of 65 Anti-Treaty fighters from Cork and Kerry IRA units, under Tom Barry, attacks Millstreet, Cork, under cover of darkness. They use 12 machine guns and take three National Army posts in the town, taking 39 prisoners and capturing one Lewis gun and 35 rifles. However they fail to take the main post in the Town Hall, held by 23 Free State soldiers. They withdraw after several hours – one party to Ballyvourney in Cork and the other to the Pap mountains in Kerry. Two Free State soldiers are killed and several more wounded. The National Army reports six Anti-Treaty fatalities and 19 wounded but the Republicans admit to only three wounded.

The Carnegie Hall, the Town Hall in January 1923 which was not taken

Below are some accounts (from the different sides) of what happened that day:

========

… The new year began on a relatively quiet note. Round-ups were carried out in Churchtown on 2 January and in Newtown on 3 January. However, the Cork Examiner of 6 January reported that fire was opened on a party of National Troops’ close to Newmarket, and that the ‘Irregulars were under the command of T. Barry, a well-known member of the Irregular forces’.The presence of Tom Barry in the locality should have alerted the Free State authorities to an imminent attack. That attack came in Millstreet on Thursday 4 January 1923. It was described by the Cork Examiner as ‘a desperate and carefully planned attack made on ‘the military posts in Millstreet’. The seriousness of the attack warranted a special investigation by Commandant General Galvin, 0/C 1st Southern Division of the Free State forces. He reported from HQ 1st Southern Division, Kanturk, on 8 January 1923 as follows:

Re the attack on Millstreet. I have the honour to report that I visited Millstreet on Sunday Jan. 7th for the purpose of fully investigating the attack by Irregulars on that town. The strength of the attacking party was at least 300 not counting the number they used to hold the different roads and approaches to the town.The main body of the Irregulars came from the Kerry border, a large proportion from Ballyvourney. They were assisted by local Irregulars from Millstreet and a party from North Cork. L. Lynch and T. Barry were the two principal leaders in the attack. The first object of the attack was to destroy the wireless station, which was erected at the end of the town, 300 yards from the HQ at the Carnegie Hall. This post was taken completely by surprise and captured, the sentry being shot by Thompson gunfire, receiving ten bullet wounds. Two other posts were simultaneously surprised and captured, Murphy’s in the centre of the town and a post known as the old police barracks. This post made a gallant stand for at least three hours until finally, their ammunition being exhausted and as the Irregulars were pouring Thompson gun fire and rifle grenades into their position, they were compelled to surrender. In these three posts the Irregulars captured one Lewis gun and thirty-five rifles.The next attack was launched on HQ at the end of the town, known as the Carnegie Hall. On this post the most determined attack was made. The Irregulars used six machine-guns and concentrated a heavy fire on the building from various vantage points. Our troops, who numbered twenty-three, had only one Lewis gun in the building and replied vigorously to the fire of the attackers who advanced under cover of machine-gun fire as far as the entrance of the hall and succeeded in setting fire to the door. Were it not for the bravery of Sgt Maj. J. O’Mahony, who rushed in the face of machine-gun fire and succeeded in quenching the fire, the whole building would have been burned to the ground. It was whilst engaged in putting out the fire that this gallant W.O. was killed, leaving the army to mourn the loss of a very brave soldier. He leaves a widow and three children. Great credit is also due to the bravery of the Lewis gunner, Vol. John Kelleher, who did not wait even to dress, but rushed to his post and poured a continuous fire on the Irregular position. The following are also worthy of recommendation. Capt. H. Kiely, 0/c of the town, Lieut Bissett, Vol. James O’Sullivan and Vol. Bohan. These men were mainly instrumental in saving the town and it was due in great extent to their efforts that the Irregulars were forced to withdraw. The main body of the Irregulars,
who are supposed to have suffered heavy casualties, six at least being killed, retreated in the direction of the two Pap Mountains in Kerry and the remainder in the direction of Ballyvourney. The morale of our troops in Millstreet is very high and every man considers the withdrawal of the Irregulars a victory for the National Army. The men are held in very high esteem by the civilian population of the town and they are very loud in their praise for their gallant defence of the town against overwhelming odds. The houses of Capt. Kiely and Lieut Tagney, both natives of Millstreet, were looted by the Irregulars before their departure and a considerable quantity of clothing was taken, including millinery. It has been ascertained that of the two who attacked and shot the sentry at the wireless station, one was dressed as a priest and the other as a woman.”

This account is corroborated in the Cork Examiner of 8 January with some minor differences. The Cork Examiner says that ‘the Irregular in clerical dress is supposed to have been Liam Lynch. It was he who shot the sentries.’ The republican casualties are reported by the doctor in attendance as seven killed and nineteen wounded, and ‘the Post Office was also visited and all money taken’.” The republican attitude to the attack is summarised in a letter from the 0/C 1st Southern Division to 0/C all commands. ‘The Millstreet stunt was damned good. The fire was a terror — twelve Machine guns. Sixty-five of our fellows were there, they captured thirty-nine prisoners, thirty-eight rifles and one Lewis gun. Such a night never fell out of the heavens. Two of ours slightly wounded and one badly.'” Despite the note of glee in the report, not capturing the town was a serious setback for a republican column said to have been led by CIC Liam Lynch and Tom Barry, and a commensurate blow to their morale. Pro-Treaty relief at the successful defence of the town must have been tempered by the knowledge that, despite many republican casualties, many prisoners had been taken by the republicans and that the pro-Treaty forces had not dented the capacity of the republicans to mount serious attacks on well-garrisoned towns. The size of the republican column that attacked Millstreet is unclear — accounts vary from 300 in Commandant Galvin’s report to sixty-five in the republican report. The Cork Examiner, put the number at ‘close on 150 with 18 machine-guns’.” This column then seems to have billeted around Freemount and Dromina because, on Wednesday 17 January, ‘troops from Charleville, under Comdt Cronin and Comdt O’Brien, encountered a large party of Irregulars, near Dromina on the Freemount side’, while engaged in rounding-up operations. They arrested four armed republicans. However, when the troops ‘proceeded in the direction of Freemount, they were attacked `by about a hundred Irregulars who used Thompson guns, rifles and Peter the Painters’? This engagement seems to have petered out before a second engagement took place, beginning at Aughrim Cross:
Cornett Cronin’s section was engaged by another Irregular outpost in the direction of Freemount. The entire column was beaten back across country in the direction of Freemount and a pitched battle ensued for over three hours. Our troops held the position they had gained … awaiting reinforcements from Buttevant. As these were delayed … our troops were obliged to retreat in the Liscarroll direction. Here they were joined by the column from Buttevant. Both columns then returned to the place of attack … the Irregulars were greatly reinforced and had a column of 150 men … our troops were greatly outnumbered being only 50 strong. Irregulars were under the command of Alph. Conroy and Paddy O’Brien.”
The Free State troops were forced to disengage and retire to base. The Aughrim battle and the Millstreet attack indicated a revitalised republican campaign, with much larger numbers in  combined columns. The republicans came within a whisker of capturing Millstreet and they had the better of the Free State troops in the Aughrim encounter. A change to operating in large columns seemed to enhance their prospects of success. In mid-January their star seemed to be in the ascendant again in North Cork.

The above extract “Millstreet and Aughrim”  on the encounter is from the book “The Munster Republic: The Civil War in North Cork” (from page 109 – 113) pub. 2009 which can be viewed on Google Books

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GUNMEN’S CAMPAIGN. FIGHTING IN COUNTY CORK. January 7. Fighting at Cork broke out again during the week-end, and lasted for seven hours, the rebels finally retreating leaving seven killed and nineteen wounded. Millstreet was the principal scene of the fighting. Here the rebels captured an outpost by a trick. A woman shot two sentries and then signalled to the. rebels, who rushed the post. Fifty Irregulars, using thirteen machine-guns, attacked the main body of the Free State troops in the Carnegie Library, but were repulsed. Liam Lynch, the rebel chief of staff, led the attack dressed as a priest. Armed men entered Enniskeane railway station and placed a tin of explosives in the office with a lighted fuse and a detonator. Tho stationmaster, Mr Graham, and his wife and children were on the premises. Mr Graham seized and flung out the tin. The detonator exploded, severely injuring him. The mine did’ not explode. The “Daily Telegraph” gives further details of the Millstreet fighting., The ‘Free State force consisted of fifty men. The majority were stationed in the Carnegie Library and a few in the old police barracks. Two irregulars, one disguised as a priest and believed to be Liam Lynch, and another dressed in girl’s clothes, approached a sentry-box and killed the sentries. The main body attacked under an intense machine-gun fire and compelled the garrison to surrender. Then the whole of the irregulars, comprising 150 men, attacked the library, concentrating thirteen machine-guns, incendiary bombs, and rifle-fire on the building. Several attempts to rush the building were repulsed by the garrison of three officers and twenty nine men, who withstood the attack all night. During the night several public houses were looted, and a considerable sum of money was stolen from the Post Office.

– from “Irish Peace Feelers

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The two men killed that day:

Henry Pomeroy, Killarney Road, Millstreet
Organisation: Óglaigh na hÉireann/National Forces Rank Private
Commanding Officer(s): Denis Kiely
National Army Service: Number 29884

File dates:2 March 1923 – 26 October 1933
Subject Information: File relates to Honora Pomeroy’s application under the Army Pensions Acts in respect of the death of her son Henry Pomeroy who wounded on 4 January 1923 (the IRA attack on the Carnegie Hall, Millstreet – leg riddled with machine gun bullets) and died on 19 January 1923 at the Mercy Hospital, Cork. Reference made to payment of Dependant’s Allowance from Army Funds. Reference also made to Pomeroy having served in the British Army. File contains: report from an Gárda Síochána detailing Honora Pomeroy’s circumstances – See more:

Henry Pomeroy (b.1879) was the son of Henry Pomeroy and Nora Cotter, Garraneduff. [More on Henry Pomeroy –  edit draft]

Jeremiah Mahoney, originally of Mill Lane, but living at the Killarney Road with his wife and three children, and also in the Royal Irish Rifles in WWI, was  also killed in the 1923 attack on the Carnegie Hall [edit draft]

We think that the Vol. Bohan mentioned above was Timothy Bohan, mentioned a few years later as being injured by gunshot wound in 1922

 

CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. – PENSION CLAIM.
TOMAS DE NOGLA:  asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that a pension which Timothy Bohan, Millstreet, Co. Cork, No. 11684, 38th Battalion, had been receiving was withdrawn on June 30th, 1925; that on May 15th, 1925, he appeared before a Medical Board, and that he has since then heard nothing of the decision of the Board, and if he will take steps to expedite the decision of the Board regarding the claim to continuance of the pension.
MINISTER for DEFENCE (Mr. Hughes): Mr. Bohan made a claim under the Army Pensions Act, 1923, in respect of a gun-shot wound. He was awarded a temporary pension of 42/- a week for the period from the 29th March, 1924, to the 30th June, 1925, pending further examination and investigation. Medical examination revealed the fact that he was suffering from “pulmonary tuberculosis.” As the Deputy is no doubt aware, the Act does not provide for diseases incurred on active service, and the question as to whether Mr. Bohan’s present disability is due to the wound he received in 1922 has been engaging the attention of my Department. Arrangements are being made to bring Mr. Bohan to Dublin for special examination, after which it is hoped an early decision will be reached in his case.
TODO: follow this up.

 

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We thank John P. Kelleher whose Grandfather, John Kelleher of Dromsicane, Millstreet, was a Lewis gunner that day, and is mentioned in the above truly superbly researched feature …for reminding us of the upcoming anniversary.  John Kelleher is buried in Drishane Graveyard (2016) 

In Loving Memory Of JOHN KELLEHER, Dromsicane. Died 4th May 1949, Late of C. Coy. 4th BAH, Cork Brigade Old I.R.A. (at Drishane Graveyard)

 

Tomorrow (4th Jan. 2017) is the 94th anniversary of the Attack on Millstreet’s Carnegie Hall.   Due to the inspiring courage of people like John Kelleher we still have this splendid building which provides such important services for the entire community.  (S.R.)

 

WWI: Capt Eugene John McSwiney (1890-1916)

eugene-john-mcswiney-02Fresh out of UCD medical school in 1915 where he qualified in surgery and midwifery, Eugene John McSwiney like most in the medical school before him at the time joined the British Army, presumably to get experience for his new qualification.

The Royal Army Medical Corps was probably considered one of the safer jobs in the army as you weren’t being bombarded, but a little over a year later on St.Steven’s Day 1916 (100 years ago today) the doctor from Rathroe House Eugene John had passed away from pneumonia at the Naval Barracks in Devonport (Plymouth), England, after which his body was returned to Ireland and buried in Millstreet Church Graveyard, one of only two from WWI to be buried there.

Born in Johnstown House, Kilmichael on December 7th 1890, an only child to Margaret McCarthy (of Dromagh) and Dr. Morgan McSwiney. Morgan was the local doctor and Justice of the Peace, but he died young of gallstones in 1906, and a few years later in the 1911 census, Margaret and Eugene John had moved and were living with Margaret’s Brother Michael and family in Ardnageeha Dispensary, near Cullen. Soon after that they moved to Rathroe House, Derrinagree with Margaret’s other brothers where Margaret lived until she passed away in 1936.

Eugene John entered Queens College Cork medical school in 1908, and did well, being awarded prizes in Botany and Chemistry in his first year. He moved to UCD Medical School in 1912, and finished his final exams in Midwifery and Surgery in 1915. From there he joined the the Royal Army Medical Corps, and little did he expect to be gone himself in just over a year. [read more …] “WWI: Capt Eugene John McSwiney (1890-1916)”

Millstreet Old Age Pensions

MILLSTREET OLD AGE PENSION COMMITTEE – Very Rev. J.Canon Casey, P.P. V.F., Chairman, presided. There were 136 claims before the meeting; 96 claims were passed at the maximum of 2s 6d; 8 were allowed 2s, and 2 were allowed 1s6d per week, and the remainder adjourned to the next meeting; 4 claims were passed for the Old Age Pension at the rate of 5s per week, and 2 cases were sent forward for reinvestigation. Since October 20th, the Committee have passed 350 claims, over 300 being allowed 2s 6d , and the remainder from 2s, 1s 6d and 1s per week, a large number of claims for the district not being heard yet. The Committe haveheld several special meetings so as to facilitate the passing of the claims – Irish Examiner 22nd December 1916

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The Old Age Pensions Act 1908 introduced a non-contributory pension for eligible people aged 70 and over. It was implemented from January 1909 in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. To be eligible, applicants had to be 70 years old, to have an income of less than £31.10.00 per annum and to ‘be of good character’. During the first three months of 1909, [read more …] “Millstreet Old Age Pensions”