2021 Journeys to a Truce 1921

7 January 2021, Journeys to a Truce, 1921: Excommunication and Ambushes

“Mid to late December 1920 coincided with the continued cleaning up of the burnt out ruins of St Patrick’s Street. In addition, there was fall-out from the decree issued by Bishop of Cork Daniel Cohalan on 12 December 1920, that the penalty of excommunication would be imposed on IRA men in the Cork Diocese if they continued to carry arms against the Crown forces”.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 7 January 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

14 January 2021, Journeys to a Truce, 1921: The Trial of Fr Dominic

Following the sad events of Terence MacSwiney’s funeral on 31 October 1920, the Lord Mayor’s Capuchin chaplain Fr Dominic O’Connor received death threats in Cork. For his own safety, the Father Provincial sent him to Kilkenny and then to Dublin. Fr Dominic arrived in Dublin in November 1920. He rarely left the house and during part of that time he also became unwell.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 14 January 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

21 January 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Donal Óg Presents at Washington D.C.

Following the Burning of Cork and the ramping up of the rounding up of IRA men by crown forces, all active members had to be careful. Lord Mayor of Cork, Donal Óg O’Callaghan had to be extra careful.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 21 January 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

28 January 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Clogheen and the tale of Mary Bowles

P J Murphy, Company Commander with Fianna Éireann, in his witness statement for the Bureau of Military History (WS869) recalls that in January 1921 owing to the activity of police and Black and Tans, a number of C-Company of Cork IRA Brigade No.1 could not sleep at home. They were accommodated in the former Cork Lunatic Asylum on the Lee Road. The place was raided several times. A number of arrests were made, including one named Tadhg Barry who was later shot dead on 15 November 1921 by a sentry in Ballykinlar Camp).
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 28 January 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

4 February 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Dripsey Ambush

As the Irish War of Independence progressed in early 1921, the movements of British troops throughout the country were tabulated. Where it was noticed that convoys were maintained on a regular basis between any two points, suitable preparations were then made for an ambush on the route. In this way, it was calculated that a convoy of three lorries of soldiers would proceed from Macroom to Cork on 27 January 1921. It was decided by members of the sixth battalion of the Cork IRA Brigade No.1 to ambush British troops at a bend in the main road between Dripsey and Coachford.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 4 February 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

11 February 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Compensation Claims Begin

This month, one hundred years ago, the Recorder or Chief Magistrate for Cork City, Matthew Bourke, began the municipal hearings for the compensation claims arising out of the Burning of Cork in December 1920. A total of 682 claims were before him and they were to occupy the court for several weeks. A handful were written up in the Cork Examiner and reveal the depth of the damage done but also the early steps being taken to rehabilitate livelihoods and building stock in the city centre. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 February 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

18 February 2021, Journeys to a Truce: An Engineering Student Speaks

Cappoquin born Michael O’Donoghue was a final year student in early 1921, who was studying for his Batchelor of Engineering degree (mechanical and electrical) in UCC. He was Engineer Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. In his witness statement to the Bureau of Military History (WS1741), he provides insight into his life going between student and IRA member. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 February 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

25 February 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Revenge in the City

By the last week of February 1921 revenge was the talk of Cork IRA Brigade No. 1 for their fallen comrades of the Dripsey Ambush and the Battle of Clonmult.  On Saturday evening, 26 February, a comrade of Michael O’Donoghue’s whispered to him, “Go to Confession to-night, Mick, and be ready for Monday near St. Augustine’s [Church]”. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 25 February 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

4 March 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Relief of Irish Distress

In the first week March 1921, members of an American Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress arrived in Cork City. They were hosted by members of Cork Corporation and the Cork Harbour Board, amongst others. Their arrival was a positive one in the context of the narrative of repair after the Burning of Cork and of donating money to the impoverished of the city.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 4 March 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

11 March 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Opening of the Pavilion

Against the backdrop of the ruins on St Patrick’s Street from the Burning of Cork and the unsettling tit-for-tat violence across Cork City’s streets, the opening of the decorative Pavilion Cinema in early March 1921 was a very different and positive event of that time.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 March 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

18 March 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Victory of Crossbarry

By mid-March 1921, British crown forces invariably operated in West Cork in units of not less than three hundred. Consequently, the 3rd West Cork IRA Brigade flying column under the leadership of Commandant Tom Barry was brought to its greatest possible strength by the addition of every available rifle and the limited ammunition they had. The column had a membership of 104 men. It was also not easy to move, conceal, billet and feed a flying column of that strength over a long period, in an area that was then holding down at least five thousand British troops. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 March 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

25 March 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Ballycannon Boys

At Ballycannon, Kerrypike lies a memorial (erected in 1945) to the memory of six young IRA men that were killed near the spot on 23 March 1921. Farmer Cornelius O’Keeffe was witness to the killing of the six men. His detailed affidavit appears in the appendix of the witness statement in the Bureau of Military History of Daniel Healy, C Company, 1st Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 25 March 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

1 April 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Intelligence Work in Spring 1921

Documenting the activities of Cork IRA Brigade No.1 in the spring of 1921 is well covered in the witness statements in the Bureau of Military History. In Joseph Kelleher’s account (WS1675), he describes his time Captain of E Company of 1st Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. He carried out activities of a very varied nature against British crown forces in Cork.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 1 April 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

8 April 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Dug Outs and Wire Tapping

Seán Healy was Captain of A-Company of the 1st Battalion of Cork IRA Brigade No. 1 Cork and worked in the Parcels Office at Glanmire Road station (now Kent Station). In his Bureau of Military History account (WS1643) he describes in detail the creation of an arms dump in Glanmire and other reconnaissance work.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 8 April 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

15 April 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Washington Street Ambush

Patrick Murray was Officer in Command of C-Company of the 1st Battalion, Cork No.1 IRA Brigade. In his witness statement for the Bureau of Military History (WS1584), he describes the Spring activity of an active IRA service unit in the city centre.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 15 April 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

22 April 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Ambush of Tadhg O’Sullivan

Targeted round ups of IRA members by the RIC and Black and Tans continued right throughout April 1921. Company Captain within the 2nd Battalion, Cork City No.1 Brigade and Kerry native, Tadhg O’Sullivan was shot on the evening of 19 April 1921. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 22 April 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

29 April 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Advent of SS Ardmore II

During the First World War the City of Cork Steam Packet Company lost six vessels, and the company were determined to replace the losses with the construction of new vessels. In particular, the new ships were designed to meet the requirements of the cross-Channel trade, especially the cattle trade. One of the ships replaced was the SS Ardmore, which was hit by a torpedo on 13 November 1917. It was replaced by the SS Ardmore II, which looked very similar in design to the original.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 April 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

6 May 2021, Journeys to a Truce: A Corkman at Ballykinlar

Much reference is given in the newspapers of Spring 1921 to Cork Volunteers from across the battalions of the Cork IRA Brigades being rounded up and sent to Ballykinlar Internment Camp in County Down. Monaghan born Frank O’Duffy was interned in Camp II, Ballykinlar from January to December 1921 and acted as Prisoners’ Commandant in that camp from June to December 1921.  Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 6 May 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

13 May 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Fr O’Callaghan’s Last Stand

Ireland experienced a tragic Whitsuntide bank holiday weekend in mid-May 1921. Many deaths amongst civilians and Crown forces were reported from various parts of the south of the country. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 13 May 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

20 May 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Stories from the Active Service Unit

Patrick Murray was Officer-in-Charge of C Company of the 1st Battalion of Cork No.1 IRA Brigade. In his witness statement in the Bureau of Military History (WS1443) by May 1921, he was a core part of the Active Service Unit for Cork City. Much of the work of the Unit during this period comprised patrols, moving materials from place to place and taking arms, to columns. The assigned intelligence officers were daily seeking information, which might lead to a successful ambush of Crown forces. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 20 May 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

27 May 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Irish International Trading Corporation (Cork)

Details on the tit-for-tat violence between the IRA and Black and Tans during the War of Independence fill vast pages of Irish history books. However, not much is known on those who were Independence supporters in Ireland’s cities and regions, but who were also pragmatic and economically preparing for a Brexit of sorts from the British Empire. The question of “if we get Independence what do we do next” had not been quite resolved especially where Britain was also Ireland’s main trading ally. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 27 May 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

3 June 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Bold Moves and Round-Ups

One hundred years ago, military cordons were common place across Cork City Centre. Cappoquin born Michael O’Donoghue was a final year student in early 1921, who was studying for his Batchelor of Engineering degree (mechanical and electrical) in UCC. He was Engineer Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. Michael in his witness statement to the Bureau of Military History (WS1741) describes one such round-up from late May 1920.
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 3 June 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

10 June 2021, Journeys to a Truce: A Crown Interrogation

In mid-June 1921 Seán Healy, Captain of A Company, 1st Battalion, Cork Brigade No.1, was elated at the prospect of bringing off a successful ambush against crown forces. He had plans completed for a large ambush on a patrol of Black and Tans whose daily beat brought them through Silversprings Lane in Tivoli. About thirty fully armed Black and Tans passed through it every evening.  Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 10 June 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

17 June 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Cage of The Barracks

Crown forces patrolled city centre streets en mass in June 1921. Orders were issued that all prisoners should be chained to the lorries so that they could not attempt an escape. In addition, if the lorry was ambushed by the IRA, the prisoner could be caught in the crossfire. Prisoners were also used when the lorries were being sent out on some essential business to discourage any ambushers. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 17 June 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

24 June 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The Mid-Summer Ambushes

On the evening of 23 June 1921, there was a concerted attack on all RIC barracks in Cork City and suburbs at an appointed time by members of the first and second battalions of Cork IRA Brigade No.1. In the city centre, a fine summer evening was disturbed closing on to 7.30pm. Loud explosions, quickly followed by shots, startled everybody. The first reports were heard all over the city and within the suburbs. The mobilisation of Crown Forces ensued, and the rattle of rifle fire, the tearing of machine guns, added to the fear of citizens outdoors and indoors.
Kieran’s Our City, Town, 24 June 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

1 July 2021, Journeys to a Truce: For Those That Tell No Tales

One such very insightful project is Dara McGrath’s photographic exhibition entitled For Those That Tell No Tales, which can be viewed in the Crawford Art Gallery. It is a great contribution to thinking about life and society one hundred years ago. That it was not just the IRA, RIC and Black and Tans that caught up with tit-for-tat violence but also civilians and their families. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 1 July 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

8 July 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Fred Cronin’s Republican Plot

On the day after the murder of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain in March 1920. Fred Cronin, close friend of Terence MacSwiney and a leading Cork undertaker of Richard Cronin and Sons, suggested to the Brigade officers that the municipal authorities, who were owners of the cemetery, should be requested to make this plot available as a burial place for the dead patriot. The Corporation readily agreed, and with this first interment the Republican Plot came into existence. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 8 July 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

15 July 2021, Journeys to a Truce: The 11 July 1921 Settlement

This week is the centenary of the signing of the Truce on 11 July 1921 bringing the Irish War of Independence in Ireland to an end. Technically talks had begun in December 1920 but they petered out when British Prime Minister David Lloyd George demanded that the IRA first relinquish their arms. Renewed talks began in the spring of 1921, after the Prime Minister was lobbied by Herbert H Asquith and the Liberal opposition, the Labour Party, and the Trades Union Congress. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 15 July 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

22 July 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Guarding the Truce

West Cork Brigade Commander Tom Barry in his book Guerilla Days in Ireland gives a chapter to the Truce negotiations and the impact of the peace. He relates that the sudden ending of hostilities left IRA men dazed at first and uncertain of the future, as no one considered during those early July days that the Truce would continue for more than a month. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 22 July 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

29 July 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Lord Mayor Donal Óg Returns,

The Lord Mayor of Cork Donal Óg O’Callaghan had recently returned after an eight months’ public speech tour across America to grow interest in Irish Independence and to raise finance for Dáil Éireann. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 July 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

5 August 2021, New Book: Cork City Reflections

In our new book Cork City Reflections, Dan Breen and I build on our previous Cork City Through Time (2012) publication as we continue to explore Cork Public Museum’s extensive collection of postcards. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 5 August 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

12 August 2021, Cork Heritage Open Day and Week Approaches

Cork Heritage Open Day and Heritage Week are looming. Cork Heritage Open Day which is organised by Cork City Council in partnership with the Heritage Council, is a wonderful celebration of the built heritage in the city. To mark the start of National Heritage Week, Cork Heritage Open Day will take place virtually on Saturday 14 August. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 12 August 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

19 August 2021, Kieran’s Heritage Week Audio Heritage Trails

The midway point has been reached for National Heritage Week 2021. There is still time to engage with my two virtual projects this year – the audio heritage trails of the Bridges of Cork and The Marina respectively. Usually, I am up to my eyes happily facilitating historical walking tours. But Covid is still scuppering my physical events. but hopefully the next few months will coincide with better news for the gathering of large groups that do not have to be socially distanced apart. Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 19 August 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy

26 August 2021, Journeys to a Truce: Annie McSwiney Returns Home

This week, one hundred years ago, coincided with the return from the United States of Harry Boland and Annie (Eithne) McSwiney, sister of Terence McSwiney. Mr Harry Boland, secretary to Éamon de Valera, who was in Washington DC for two years as “representative of the Irish Republic” landed at Southampton on Saturday 20 August 1921 from the White Star liner OlympicKieran’s Our City, Our Town, 26 August 2021 | Cllr. Kieran McCarthy