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Tag Archives: Scariff Martyrs

Easter commemorations by order of The Peaky Blinders

This Sunday, the East Clare Memorial Committee will honour Fr. Seán Clancy, who in War of Independence, stood with his parishioners in Scariff. Historian Dr Tomás Mac Conmara reflects on his story and its connection to a famous British crime drama series. In season five of The Peaky Blinders, the main antagonist is a British politician called Oswald Mosley. It is the late 1920s and Mosely’s covert plans for a fascist revolution have been noted at the upper echelons of British power. Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy), has been approached by Winston Churchill, to eliminate the increasingly influential Mosley. This peculiar dramatization of real historical figures connects a global television phenomenon, to east Clare in 1921. In May that year, then twenty-five-year-old MP, Oswald Mosely spoke at length about the town of Scariff in the British House of Commons. He underlined reports that the local Catholic Priest, Fr Seán Clancy had been denied the right to celebrate mass for …

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Whitegate commemorates The Scariff Martyrs

WHITEGATE marked the legacy of the Scariff Martyrs on the 100th anniversary of their capture at Williamstown House on the shores of Lough Derg. A wreath was laid last Sunday at the house of Michael Egan, the caretaker of the stately home who, despite being tortured by British forces, steadfastly refused to give away the hiding place of Brud McMahon, Alphie Rodgers and Martin Gildea. The three has been on the run since an attack on the Scariff RIC Barracks that September and sought shelter at the secluded house. Another wreath was laid on the grounds of the house itself, which now stands in ruins, with short orations from local historian Tommy Holland and from Dr Tomás Mac Conmara. On Monday, the centenary of the martyr’s capture, the church bell rang out in Whitegate at 9.30am, the exact time the men were discovered and taken to Killaloe for questioning. Children from Lakyle National School were present for a socially-distanced ceremony …

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Clare historian’s years of research into the Scariff Martyrs

WHEN Tomás Mac Conmara talks about history, both his passion and the depth of his knowledge become very clear, very quickly. It has been 100 years since the Scariff Martyrs – Michael Egan, Brud McMahon, Alphie Rodgers and Martin Gildea – were shot by Crown forces in Killaloe, and it’s an incident and period of time in Clare history into which Tomás has carried out a phenomenal amount of research. He has written a book The Scariff Martyrs: War, Murder and Memory in East Clare, to be released early next year which will be the most extensive publication yet on the deaths of the four men and the subsequent trauma. Tomás’ first recorded interview in relation to the killings was back in 2004, and while 16 years seems like a particularly long duration, he feels that history must be researched over an extensive period. “I’ve a really strong philosophy on that, I believe that the writing of history takes a …

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100 years on from attack on Scariff RIC Barracks

As part of the East Clare Memorial Committee’s Scariff Martyrs 100 Programme, Historian Dr Tomás Mac Conmara, reflects on a major IRA attack that took place in Scariff 100 years ago this week. FROM all surrounding parishes, on Saturday evening, September 18, 1920, groups of armed young men moved closer to the town of Scariff. Within the town, IRA Volunteers, including Alphie Rodgers, Martin Gildea and Michael ‘Brud’ McMahon, who had been central to the planned action, waited, impatiently. By mid-September, the republican leadership in east Clare had decided to move on the heavily fortified RIC barracks in Scariff. Their aims were two fold. Firstly, as part of IRA strategy nationally, the police were to be driven from rural areas in order for the IRA to establish areas of control and stronger bases from where they could build their campaign. Secondly and for the local IRA, perhaps as important, was the aim of capturing any intelligence and ammunition they could …

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Martyrs remembered as Scariff hurlers take on Killaloe

HISTORY, culture, sport and memory were combined in Sixmilebridge last weekend, when both Scariff and Smith O’Brien’s intermediate hurlers wore black armbands to mark the centenary of the Scariff Martyrs, who were murdered by British Crown Forces on Killaloe Bridge in November 1920. The idea was proposed by the East Clare Memorial Committee, as part of their Scariff Martyrs 100 programme of commemorative events. The group have been commemorating the Scariff Martyrs, Alphie Rodgers, Michael ‘Brud’ McMahon, Martin Gildea and Michael Egan for many decades and are currently finalising plans for the 100th anniversary. According to the historian, Tomás Mac Conmara, who is part of the Memorial Committee, the unique encounter between Scariff and Killaloe, both areas so closely related to the story, presented a unique opportunity. “Our aim is to create as much awareness as possible of the Scariff Martyr’s story and its context in the War of Independence,” Dr MacConmara said. “It was unique that Killaloe and Scariff …

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Remembering the four who fell

ON a quiet Tuesday morning of November 16, 1920, a steamer docked at Williamstown Harbour in East Clare, after making the relatively short journey from Killaloe. Locals who caught sight of the Board of Works vessel though little of it, believing ‘The Shannon’ had arrived to carry out much-anticipated harbour dredging works. Most people would have returned to their daily routine. Some getting ready for the fair the following day in Killaloe. Everyone was anxious to live as normal a life as they could. The second year of the War of Independence was drawing to a close. Tensions were high and the rhythm of rural life was in chaos. An attack on the RIC barracks in Scariff two months previously had triggered raids and reprisals by Crown forces and a number of IRA volunteers were on the run in the locality. Three of them – Brud McMahon, Alfie Rogers and Martin Gildea, officers of the Fourth Battalion of the East Clare …

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John Michael Tobin, 101, laid to rest

By CAROL BYRNE THE community of Feakle has laid to rest centenarian John Michael Tobin. He died last week in his 102nd year. The 101 year old from Laccaroe, Feakle died peacefully at Limerick Regional Hospital on Thursday, February 13. He was laid to rest in the local cemetery following funeral mass on Saturday at St Mary’s Church, Feakle. He lived with his son, JJ in Feakle, up to his death and he is also survived by his daughter, Martina, extended family and friends. John Michael was a post man in Feakle and a farmer. Hewas the last remaining person to have attended the funeral of the Scariff Martyrs, four men who were shot by Auxiliaries on Killaloe Bridge on November 16, 1920. John Michael attended their funeral with his mother on November 20, 1920. Each Easter Sunday, a memorial event is held to these men organised by East Clare Memorial Committee. John Michael has laid a wreath at the …

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