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Remembering the Clooney fallen

Local researcher Joe Queally  and Gerry Garvey looking at a copy of the last letter Pat Hennessy sent to his family, prior to his execution in January 1923, at the gravesides of Con McMahon, Pat Hennessy and Joe Considine. Watching on is Clare Sinn  Féin’s Anne Hayes and Harry Duggan, ahead of the the Easter Sunday commemoration in Clooney graveyard. Photograph by John Kelly

A COMMEMORATION event, organised by Clare Sinn Féin, takes place this Easter Sunday marking the 90th anniversary of three Clooney men who lost their lives in the Civil War.

Local researcher Joe Queally  and Gerry Garvey looking at a copy of the last letter Pat Hennessy sent to his family, prior to his execution in January 1923, at the gravesides of Con McMahon, Pat Hennessy and Joe Considine. Watching on is Clare Sinn  Féin’s Anne Hayes and Harry Duggan, ahead of the the Easter Sunday commemoration in Clooney graveyard. Photograph by John Kelly

A COMMEMORATION event, organised by Clare Sinn Féin, takes place this Easter Sunday marking the 90th anniversary of three Clooney men who lost their lives in the Civil War.

The event will remember Commandant Cornelius (Con) McMahon of the first battalion of the Mid Clare Brigade, who was executed in Limerick Prison in 1923; Volunteer Patrick Hennessy, Clooney Company first battalion of the Mid Clare Brigade, also executed in Limerick Prison in 1923 and Volunteer Joseph Considine, who was the first casualty of the Civil War. He was killed on active service at the Four Courts in Dublin in 1922.

The commemoration takes place at Clooney graveyard at 2pm and Limerick City Councillor Maurice Quinlivan will speak at the event.

Harry Duggan, chairman of Clare Sinn Féin, said Con McMahon was a native of Clooney and received his primary education in the local national school before attending St Flannan’s College in Ennis.

His membership in the Volunteers began in 1917 when he organised the Clooney Company of the first battalion and later became Commandant of that battalion. He was an active member of the Flying Column, participated in the disarming of the soldiers in Ennis and also in the capture of the RIC barracks in Ruan.

Following the Truce in July 1921, he remained on the anti-Treaty side and in 1922 he directed the activities of the Active Service Unit in that area until his arrest, which ultimately led to his execution in Limerick Prison.

Volunteer Patrick Hennessy, also a native of Clooney, was educated in Clooney National School. His initiation to the Volunteers began with the formation of the Clooney Company, where his record of was most commendable during the War of Independence. In 1922 he was attached to the Active Service Unit until his arrest and execution.

Clare Sinn Féin have a copy of Patrick Hennessy’s last letter in which he outlines that he and Con were due to be executed at 8am on January 21, 1923.

The letter reads, “Found guilty on frivolous evidence, of course, our lives sworn away, but we are dying for Ireland, still true to the Republic at last…I am in the best of spirit and expect to face death like a soldier and a true Irishman. I forgive my enemies, even though they swore my life away. I forgive them from the bottom of my heart, for there is a God to judge them as well as me”.

Those attending the commemoration ceremony are advised to assemble at Henchy’s and the group will walk to the graveyard in Clooney, led by a lone piper. This will be followed by a wreath-laying at the graveside. A further wreath-laying will take place in Drumcliffe at 5pm in a separate commemoration.

 

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