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Tag Archives: War of Independence

Silent commemoration for Canada Cross attack victims

SILENT and sombre were the centenary commemoration of one of the bloodiest attacks on a Clare community during the War of Independence. Unfortunately, due to the Covid 19 crisis, plans for the Canada Cross, Miltown Malbay commemoration, as part of Clare’s Decade of Centenaries, scheduled for Saturday, April 18, were put on hold. The community was to honour Patrick Hennessy, John O’Loughlin and Thomas O’Leary, who lost their lives at Canada Cross on April 14, 1920. Instead, the victims were remembered in the hearts and prayers of their descendants and the wider community in their homes. Reflecting on the attack at the time, Dr Michael Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, said, “My poor people they have made a Calvary of your little square, but what was meant for a massacre has become a consecration.” The families of the dead and wounded in the attack, the Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee and St Joseph’s GAA Club had organised a programme that will …

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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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Vast research behind The Time of The Tans

STILL a teenager when he started collecting people’s stories, Tomás Mac Conmara’s new book The Time of the Tans is backboned by many years of work. It’s an oral history of the War of Independence in Clare and he said the fact that he spent so long gathering the information and accounts at the core of the book, means The Time of the Tans means a lot to him. “I’d say it is the most important one at a personal level. Anything you do like that, in terms of publishing a book, you put a lot of years and time into it, and you should do so as a historian. But because it has been 20 years in the making, almost all of the people who I interviewed and who were good enough to share their memories with me have passed away. It’s very sad in one sense, but it was always my point, that they would be gone. Historian …

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Commemoration for Volunteer John Ryan

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the death of IRA volunteer John Ryan of Crossagh, Newmarket-on-Fergus, who was the first fatality of the War of Independence in Clare. Ryan, a member of the IRA’s East Clare Brigade, was killed by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary during a cattle drive on the Blood-Smyth estate in Castlefergus, near Quin, on Sunday, March 24, 1918. To mark this centenary, a group of local historians and republicans has formed the Volunteer John Ryan Centenary Committee and, next Sunday, a series of commemorative events is planned. The committee has already had Ryan’s headstone professionally cleaned and his grave refurbished at Clonlohan Cemetery. On Sunday, a piper will lead a procession from Castlefergus to Liddy’s house in Doora, where Ryan died from his injuries, for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at 2pm. There will be a laying of wreaths at the spot where Ryan was killed, a reading of the 1916 Proclamation and …

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Celebrating 90 years of Fianna Fáil in Clare

CLARE Fianna Fáil commemorated the 1916-1923 period and the 90th anniversary of the founding of the political party at a packed event in Treacy’s West County Hotel, Ennis, last Sunday. The guest of honour was Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, grandson of Eamon de Valera, the founder of the Fianna Fáil party. An exhibition of War of Independence memorabilia, together with family heirlooms and documents, were on display. The exhibition is the largest one seen in the county to date. The event was opened by the organising committee chairperson, Mary Crawford, who paid tribute to all members of the Volunteers and Cumann na mBan for their role in helping to set up the new State. She also paid tribute to the nine Volunteers whose families were in attendance and who lost their lives in the period. A reading of the Proclamation by Eoin Neylon, president, Ógra Fianna Fáil, was followed by poetry, song and music. In his address, Mr Ó Cuív …

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Kinvara's picturesque harbour area. Photograph by John Kelly.

Kinvara during the War of Independence

AN exhibition relating to Kinvara during the War of Independence opened in the village at the weekend. Kinvara Company, Irish Volunteers 1916-23 will remain open daily from 11am to 3pm until Saturday. The exhibition coincides with National Heritage Week but organisers from the Kinvara Folklore Digital Archive are hoping it will kick-start plans to mark the contribution of men and women in the area to the War of Independence. “Hosted by the Kinvara Community Council and assembled by members of the community, this exhibition has unique oral and written histories of a small town’s effort within a bigger conflict,” explained Eilish Kavanagh of the Kinvara Folklore Digital Archive. “A lot of areas, not just Dublin, were active in 1916 and Kinvara was one of those places. Lately, I have attended a couple of heritage meetings about the county’s plans to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising and it struck me that there was no mention of Kinvara. It highlighted …

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Clare Battalion at Spike Island Commemoration

A special commemoration for the 1921 Republican prisoners on Spike Island in Cork Harbour was held on the island recently. Members of Clare 22 Battalion Association attended the ceremonies and laid a wreath at the memorial to Capt. Paddy White from Meelick who was shot and fatality wounded while imprisoned on the island. Capt White and his comrades were playing hurling in the prison when the ball went outside the boundary. Paddy asked the sentry if he would throw the ball back and was told to go and get it himself. When he did, he was shot by the sentry. A total of 18 Clare prisoners from Ennistymon, Quin, Corofin, Scariff, Mltown Malbay, Mountshannon, Broadford, Tulla, Ennis and Meelick were held on Spike Island in 1921. Republican prisoners were held there during the War of Independence and the island has served as a military base for the Irish Army, FCA and Navy as well as a civilian prison. In 2009 …

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Putting South-East Clare’s past in the frame

DIFFERENT facets of life in South-East Clare over a 60-year period have literally been put into the frame in a major photographic exhibition at Limerick City Hall. The Street, comprising photographs from The Haselbeck Collection, was officially launched by Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan, TD and Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin recently. In addition, the museum at City Hall hosts a display of his camera equipment, as well as some archival documents illustrating the professional and personal life of professional photographer Franz S Haselbeck. It will remain open to the public at Limerick City Hall from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm until the end of February. Admission is free. The exhibition follows the publication of a book, Franz S Haselbeck’s Ireland, which was compiled by his granddaughter, Patricia Haselbeck Flynn, with 200 selected images from the Haselbeck Collection. The book followed his career from Dublin to Kerry and concentrates on his work throughout the Mid-West, where he spent most …

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