Continuing the series to commemorate centenary events of 1919 with the help of the First Dail’s newspaper, the Irish Bulletin. The Bulletin reported that from May 1916 to January 1919 the Crown Forces had carried out the following actions: 51 murders, 2,064 deportations, 99 assaults on civilians, 713 raids on houses, 4,785 arrests, 1,460 sentences, 51 proclamations and suppressions of meetings, fairs, markets etc., 28 newspapers suppressed and 322 court-martials. And of course these were for reported actions and not therefore complete. The following lists are samples of the weekly actions for the first weeks of May and June 1919.
Detailed list of the Acts of Aggression committed against the Irish people by the British military forces in Ireland during the short period of the visit of the Irish-American Peace Delegation, which extended from
May 2nd to May 12th, 1919
N.B. In order not to disclose the real methods by which Ireland is held in subjection the English commanders in Ireland held their forces in some restraint during the period mentioned. The following list, therefore, though it may surprise foreign peoples is not fully indicative of the tyranny which is practised from day to day upon the people of Ireland. [read more …] “Lest We Forget (2)”
While it was not clear in the beginning of 1919 that the Dáil ever intended to gain independence by military means, and war was not explicitly threatened in Sinn Féin’s 1918 manifesto, an incident occurred on 21 January 1919, the same day as the First Dáil convened. The Soloheadbeg Ambush, in County Tipperary, was led by Seán Treacy, Séamus Robinson, Seán Hogan and Dan Breen acting on their own initiative. The IRA attacked and shot two RIC officers, Constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, who were escorting explosives. Breen later recalled:
…we took the action deliberately, having thought over the matter and talked it over between us. Treacy had stated to me that the only way of starting a war was to kill someone, and we wanted to start a war, so we intended to kill some of the police whom we looked upon as the foremost and most important branch of the enemy forces. The only regret that we had following the ambush was that there were only two policemen in it, instead of the six we had expected.
In this decade of commemorations we are encouraged to remember and not to forget. Very good advice and we will do our bit during the hundredth anniversary of “the four glorious years” to recall the facts of those years. We will do so with the help of the “Irish Bulletin”, the daily paper of the Dáil.
There could not be a more appropriate source as the whole object of the War that Britain engaged in was to destroy that Dáil. This is history from the horse’s mouth.
People who set up the Bulletin published lists of atrocities before it was officially launched in November 1919 and did so afterwards as well. Below is a list for 1919 and early 1920. It is not all comprehensive as it relied to a large extent on newspaper reports which were all censored and dozens suppressed and before the Bulletin had established a network for receiving news of atrocities independent of the press. Later lists will show much more comprehensive listings for the period covered here.
However, it gives the flavour of the ongoing terror campaign in period it covers and confirms the “existing state of war” as described in the Dáil’s Declaration to the Free Nations of the World on 21 January 1919.
OUTSTANDING INCIDENTS OF ENGLISH AGGRESSION IN IRELAND
From January 1st 1919 to April 30th 1920 (In the majority of cases the dates given are those upon which the incidents were reported in the daily Press)
7th People of Dunmanway, Co. Cork, attacked by soldiers and police with rifles, fixed bayonets and batons.
27th Police with fixed bayonets attacked a crowd at Baltinglass which had assembled to welcome home a political prisoner.
11th Police forced doors of King’s County Council Offices and attacked Council staff with bayonets.
12th Patrick Gavin shot dead by soldiers at Curragh camp.
19th Soldiers attacked card party at the Temperance Hall at Annacarty, County Tipperary, and wrecked the Hall.
20th Timothy Connors, Greenane, Co. Tipperary, aged 11 years, kidnapped by police and secretly taken to unknown destination, his parents being refused all information. [read more …] “Lest We Forget”
The late Paddy McCarthy was born in Meelin and reared in Freemount, not far from Millstreet. He became an active member of Óglaigh na hÉireann following the 1916 Easter Rising.
On May 8, 1918 he was charged with a gun offence and imprisoned for 18 months.
He was held in Belfast and in Manchester where he managed to escape in October 1919.
He took part in the capture of Mallow Barracks in September 1920, which was the only military barracks to be taken over in the war.
Captain McCarthy met his fate on Mill Lane on the night of the 22nd November 1920, when his Flying Column took on the British Forces in Millstreet.
Paddy McCarthy is the first name on the monument in the Square. Annually the local Sinn Fein Cumann hold a commemoration in honour of his selfless dedication and service to his country.
Paddy McCarthy – Died 1920
Born Meelin, Co. Cork. Shot dead at Upper Mill Lane, Millstreet on November 22nd. 1920 by Black and Tans. Had joined Volunteers immediately after 1916. Took part in Belfast hunger strike in 1918 under Austin Stack. Escaped from Strangeways Jail, Manchester in September 1919. Played decisive part in capture of Mallow Barracks and at Ballydrochane ambush, near Kanturk. Was buried with full military honours at Lismire, near Kanturk. – from Second North Cork Brigade
“Do you remember our Quartermaster Paddy McCarthy? He was killed in a fight with Tans in Millstreet. Paddy O’Brien was wounded by an ambush of Tans near his own place. He ‘ s now Brigade Quartermaster. ” Paddy McCarthy was a loss. I thought of his unfailing good humour , his broad laugh and the lilt of song that would burst out at unexpected times. His quartermaster’s magic sack would no longer open to disgorge ammunition , cigarettes or mine batteries. – Irish Press 1937
Named after him, Captain Paddy McCarthy Terrace is across from the Cannon O’Donovan Centre, back the Clara Road
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.
Roger Kiely (principal of Cullen National School 1938-1961) is the central figure on the cover of a new book from UCC entitled the “Atlas of the Irish Revolution“, but for some reason best known to the editors they did not have the courtesy to identify him. He was an intelligence officer with the Millstreet Battalion.
They might have included the description of him by the artist Sean Keating: “Roger Kiely was about the best and finest man I ever knew. A few years ago I went to look for him in County Cork. I found him a poor school-teacher in a poor little school near Kanturk. I asked him about the others and found that death, poverty and America had claimed them – the Unknown Soldiers.” (BMH Witness Statement 505). – Jack Lane [read more …] “Roger Kiely – The Men of the South”
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”
Macroom man Dan Lucey, who was of good family, was married and his brother was a priest. He was of violent temper and he was quarrelsome in disposition. In January 1921, he had fallen out with a few IRA Volunteers in Ballinagree, and was later seen talking to the Auxiliaries in Macroom. So he was visited by two IRA Volunteers from Donoughmore area disguised as British officers. He was asked if he had seen any of “the boys”—meaning IRA men—lately. He gave his questioners all the information he had, while unknownst to him, other men from Rusheen Company waited outside the door. He was taken prisoner on the spot, taken north of Mushera to Kilcorney, and was held prisoner for about a fortnight, during which time he was given a fair trial by the brigade staff and sentenced to death. He was shot and buried after in Kilcorney, by the Millstreet Battalion, Cork II Brigade.
Today March 5th marks the anniverasary of The Clombanin Ambush of 1921, so friends Tom and John P Kelleher went over to the ambush site and flew the flags and paid their respects. Photo’s below by Tom of TMC Photography Cork
Details of Clonbanin Ambush are in a previous article on millstreet.ie from 2014 here.
The Irish Volunteer Organisation is holding a Historical and artefact Exhibition in Mallow Parish Centre on 14th November from 11am – 5pm furthermore we are trying to encourage people to bring with them artefacts from the 1913 – 1923 period to tell the story of their relatives we hope you can attend. Diarmuid O’Ceallachain
The plaque at the Railway Arch, Drishanebeg commemorates the train ambush of 11 February, 1921. Pictured below yesterday, Sunday 20th September, members of the Millstreet Monument Committee marked out the ground for the proposed refurbishment of the plaque. L-R: Andrias Moynihan, Tom Meaney, Jerry Lehane (Chairman), Connie Foley, and Gerdie Buckley. Photo thanks to Tom of TMC Photography. Read our more about the Drishanebeg Ambush
An excellent example of an early Mark I Webley service revolver with patent marks, proof marks and wide arrow markings. Complete with leather holster made by P. J. Murphy, MillStreet, Cork. Date marked 1914.
These sold at Whyte’s Irish Art Auction House for a price of €700 on 24th September 2011.
John P & I are very interested in local history, so we went up to Glentaneatnagh on Tuesday (March 10th) on the anniversary to pay our respects. It also ties into the burning of Dromagh Castle the day before (March 9th 1921)
On this day March 5th 1921, the IRA ambushed a British army convoy near Clonbanin, near Derrinagree, killing Brigadier General H. R. Cumming, one of the highest ranked British officers to die in the Irish War of Independence. After two hours fighting, 13 British were dead, and 15 wounded, while the republicans suffered no casualties.
In early March, 1921 Sean Moylan, Commandant of the Newmarket Column, made the decision to ambush a British party of senior officers and their military guard returning from an inspection tour in Kerry. The position he selected was at Clonbanin, near Derrinagree, which was about five miles from Kanturk, where there was a strong military post and five miles north of Millstreet, then garrisoned by a force of Black and Tans and RIC.
At 3 a.m. on the morning of the 3rd. March, Moylan’s column moved out for Clonbanin and was in position by 6 a.m. They were joined by a section of [read more …] “Clonbanin Ambush”
Phase 1 of the long awaited Old IRA/Military Pension record set is now available for free online searching at MilitaryArchives.ie (Jan 16th 2014). Phase 1 includes details of 3,200 individual pension applicants, including 2,400 recipients of pensions in respect of the 1916 Easter Rising.
We have found three files of local interest: One Rathcoole man involved in the Mutiny of India 1920, and two men who were sent to the Millstreet 4th Batallion and were active in Rathcoole / Drishane / Clonbanin ambushes. These are outlined below.
It is disappointing that so few local records were released, so if you were looking for a relatives application (like me) you’ll have to wait a little longer. The rest of the collection, which, in total, holds some 300,000 files relating to 60,000 pension applicants, will be released in ‘regular phases’ leading up to 2016.
In late 1920 Millstreet I.R.A. were considering the viability of an attack being made on British troops who frequently used rail transport while travelling through their battalion area. Various plans were made and men were put in position on a number of occasions during January 1921, but for various reasons a projected attack failed to materialise. Subsequently the column, under Commandant Jeremiah Crowley, re-examined the feasibility of the proposals.
The essential features for the success of any such attack were that the train containing the troops should be brought to a halt at a point where the column was already in a position, that an attack should be made only on an occasion when the troops travelling were armed, and where the party was neither too small to be worth while or too large to risk the failure of the operation. There was the further point that civilian passengers on the train had to be protected as far as possible from injuries. Trains travelling east or west were both potential targets. A position was selected at Drishanebeg about a mile west of Rathcoole station, between Millstreet and Banteer. On a few occasions the trains were allowed to pass unmolested, because the soldiers they carried were unarmed, but finally on the evening of 11 February, 1921 the attack came off.
About 6.30 p.m. when it was nearly dark the column went into position. The plan which had been made for bringing the train to a halt came into operation. One of the volunteers, whose duty it was to inspect the train and board it if it contained a suitable party of British forces, this evening saw that the party of troops travelling was such as could be dealt with by the column. He boarded the train and travelled to Rathcoole where two armed Volunteers were waiting. At his signal they boarded the engine as the train was leaving the station and on arrival at the ambush position forced the driver to halt the train. A long whistle blast was blown as a pre-arranged signal to the attacking party. A lighted bicycle-lamp placed on the track indicated the exact position at which the engine should stop.
The Column Commander called upon the military in the train to surrender but was answered by rifle shots. Fire was then opened upon the carriages containing the military party and the battle continued for about fifteen minutes. The slopes of the cutting were lit by oil torches prepared in advanced by the column and thrown down outside the target carriages at the beginning of the encounter. The fight was one-sided from the start, the attackers having the advantage of cover and darkness. When the British surrendered one had been killed and most of the others were wounded.
The column members collected fifteen rifles and a large quantity of ammunition and withdrew from the scene without suffering a single casualty. – Cork’s War of Independence