Fenians: Margaret Dillon writing to Brian Dillon September 1868

Another one of  the Brian Dillon Prison Letters , this one is from Mother to Son in Woking Gaol,  September 1868.

The Fenian, Brian Dillon

The Fenian, Brian Dillon

 

M to Son (1)

M To Son 2

M To Son 3

M to Sun 4

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Séamus Ó Líonacháin on the night before Republican Desmond Swanton was killed

Below is an extract from  the online book   “A Rebel Spirit” – the Life and Times of Séamus Ó Líonacháin -1963. As seen on the Irish Republican Marxist History Project Site.

Séamus Ó Líonacháin (Jim Linehan) was captured by RUC/B-Specials at Torr Head, Co. Antrim on 12th Dec 1956 and was jailed in Belfast Prison until March 1963. On the night he refers to in the attached extract from his recollections (“A Rebel Spirit” – the Life and Times of Séamus Ó Líonacháin) he was attending a ‘welcome home’ event at the Thomas Ashe Hall in Cork in 1963. This is his personal observation of the events that occurred in the local IRA headquarters that evening

Seamus Ó Líonacháin in Pipe Band uniform.

Seamus Ó Líonacháin in Pipe Band uniform.

 

Desmond Swanton and Gerry Madden

Desmond Swanton and Gerry Madden

no-4-centenary-year-series-cvpb_8“The following Saturday night, Saint Patrick’s eve, there was a ceili in the hall to welcome us home and although I enjoyed seeing some of my old friends again, it turned out to be a strange night. In the course of the night I noticed some agitation and heated discussions taking place and eventually I was approached by a tearful Elma O’Connell, Dave O’Connells (Daithi) sister who asked me if I could intervene and do something to prevent her boyfriend from doing something. She explained that on the following day de Valera was coming to the Republican Plot to unveil a monument and that her boyfriend and another volunteer intended to blow up the monument that night. I immediately approached the local OC and another senior member of the movement and we went upstairs to the library to discuss it and I was amazed at their casual attitude to what I thought could turn into a disaster. They said that they had warned the two lads that if they went ahead with their plan it would be an unofficial action and they would be dismissed from the movement and I felt that the least that should be done was that a group should go down to the house in Blackrock and detain the two lads there until after Dev had departed again.  However, the senior member’s response was that he had come to the dance with his wife and no one was going to spoil his night’s enjoyment so he went back to the dance hall again. As it turned out, the two lads went ahead with their plan and at about three am as John and myself were walking up Mount Carmel Road there was a mighty explosion and I prayed that the two lads would be all right. The next morning as I was returning from Mass I called to the old Fire Station on Sullivan’s Quay and the firemen told me that Elma’s boyfriend had been blown to bits and that they had collected his remains in buckets and that the other volunteer was so badly injured that he wasn’t expected to survive. Despite his severe injuries he did in fact survive but he lost a leg and an eye and as a matter of fact the monument wasn’t even scratched and if they had succeeded in blowing it up they would have emptied most of the graves in the Plot…”

Jim Lane talking to Gerry Madden (survivor) at 1st Desmond Swanton commemoration

Jim Lane talking to Gerry Madden (survivor) at 1st Desmond Swanton commemoration

Cork Socialist-Republican Jim Lane said ” Ó Líonacháin view of a proposed detention of Swanton and Madden, fitted in with his belief, that if the IRA were the lawful successors of the First Dail, then they should have exercised their authority and arrested both volunteers. His experience on the night, shows that they were neglectful of their responsibility. They behaved more like a gang than an Army of the Republic”.

50th Anniversary   https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/the-50th-anniversity-of-the-premature-death-by-explosion-of-ira-volunteer-desmond-swanton-cork-city/

“A Rebel Spirit” – the Life and Times of Séamus Ó Líonacháin. From his early days growing up in poverty stricken Cork, following on to his days as an IRA volunteer, his subsequent arrest and imprisonment for seven years in Crumlin Road jail Belfast. https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Rebel-Spirit-The-Life-And-Times-Of-Seamus-O-Lionachain/140265629383498?fref=photo

Thanks to Séamus Ó Líonacháin,  Jim Lane and Michael Healy https://irishrepublicanmarxisthistoryproject.wordpress.com/

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“Ambush in Leap”

Ambush in Leap -Three Policemen Wounded -Houses in Glandore Wrecked

Another snippet from the Cork Weekly Examiner October 30th 1920.

From the Cork Weekly Examiner Oct 30th 1920

From the Cork Weekly Examiner Oct 30th 1920

 

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Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band No.4 in the Series

“No.4 in Centenary Year  Series  of remembering our band with pride” By Jim Lane.

No.4 Centenary Year Series CVPB_1

Continue reading

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Tomás MacCurtain

Tomás MacCurtain O/C  First Cork Brigade and founder member of the Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band. Assassinated by the RIC in his home in front of his family on his 36th Birthday in Blackpool.

From a souvenir programme of the Cumann na Sean Óglach Easter Commemoration Concert held in the Savoy Cinema Easter Sunday april 1st 1945

From a souvenir programme of the Cumann na Sean Óglach Easter Commemoration Concert held in the Savoy Cinema Easter Sunday april 1st 1945

He lived his life close to the people whom he loved and for whom he died. He understood their frailties and their greatness.  He served them faithfully and well, and his memory will live to be a perpetual clarion call to service for the young men of Ireland”

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The Dillon’s Cross Ambush and the Burning of Cork

The Dillon’s Cross Ambush and the Burning of Cork

“We bombed them in the Abbey, we bombed them in the Glen.
We bombed them up in Dillon’s Cross, they bombed us back again. We bombed them in the “Wessie” and we bombed them in the Parade, And we gave them who began it in the First Cork Brigade”

Dillon's Cross

Dillon’s Cross

Dillon’s cross, on Cork’s Northside, (named after the Fenian Brian Dillon, who lived on the junction himself), is barely two miles out of the city centre, and is a fairly quiet junction where Ballyhooley road up from St Luke’s meets the Old Youghal road, it was here on the night 11th of December 1920 a party of Auxillaries were Ambushed by the men of the First Cork Brigade IRA as they made their way down from what was then known as Victoria Barracks. Coming just two weeks after the Kilmichael ambush, this must have been another major blow to the morale of British Forces, who seeking retribution, burned Cork to the ground and Murdered the Delaney Brothers in their home.

The Ambush scene in the film The Wind that Shakes the Barley was modelled on this type of attack, whereby a Volunteer would step out on to the path of the oncoming Lorries and wearing a Macintosh coat similar to that of British Soldiers call for them to Halt.   Around 8pm on that night  Michael Kenny waved the Lorries down, blew the whislte, the ambush had begun,  they were met with bombs and revolver fire from behind the wall of O’Callaghans Field,   before the Volunteers made good their escape down into  Gouldings Glen,   they left one British Soldier Dead and a dozen injured without sustaining any injuries themselves,  according to Florie O’Donoghue an Ambush had been lain two weeks before but had not happened.  After much thuggary, harassment and violence towards the people of Cork the notorious K Company were dealt a significant blow.

The Ambush point (where you see the two cars parked)

The Ambush point (where you see the two cars parked)

The attack only minutes from the Headquarters of the British Army in Cork,  showed how daring, and dangerous the IRA were becoming in an urban setting.  As Florie O’Donoughue recounts in the book “Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story 1916-1921  Told by the men who made it”,    The Difficulties Faced by the IRA in operating in the city in this period were immense.  Enemy Forces had Barracks in all parts of the city;  they were equiped with fast cars,  lorries and armoured cars, in which they could swoop on any part of the city at short notice. They were, of course,  vastly superior in numbers and armament to the IRA.  One thing which they lacked, which the IRA had in generous measure – the co-operation of the people – and without it they were blind and impotent.  That a group of armed men could frequent a particular locality for long periods day after day without their presence being remarked upon was inconceivable. Yet IRA men frequently  did duty of this kind, and no word was ever passed to the enemy……”

The plaque commemorating the Ambush " Site of Ambush of British Army Party By Local Volunteers on 11th December 1920 That night the British Sacked the City Beidh cuimhne go deo ortha

The plaque commemorating the Ambush it reads  ” Site of Ambush of British Army Party By Local Volunteers on 11th December 1920 That night the British Sacked the City Beidh cuimhne go deo ortha”

The Delaney Brothers, Con and Jeremiah.

That fateful night saw the murder of two Volunteers Cornelius and Jeremiah Delaney, a group of up to ten men entered the family farm in Dublin Hill and a number of them having gained entry to the house went upstairs to the room where the brothers were sleeping, they were ordered up and asked their names, when they answered they were shot. Their Uncle William Dunlea was also injured in the attack.  The men were active with the F Company First Cork Brigade and the family Farm was used as Dump for arms.

The Delaney Brothers Monument in Dublin Hill

The Delaney Brothers Monument in Dublin Hill

Following the Ambush the Auxilaries went on a rampage of Destruction and drunken violence, one of the first houses to suffer was Brian Dillon’s home on the cross, all efforts to put out the fires at Dillon’s cross and other areas of the city were prevented by the British.  People were shot at for attempting to save their houses.  Though the Ambush may have been the excuse the British wanted, they degree of organisation that lay behind the Rampage indicates that maybe it was on the cards anyway as Florie O’Donoughue states    ” It is difficult to say with certainty whether or not Cork would have been Burned on that night if  there had not been an Ambush.  What appears more probable is that the Ambush provided the excuse for an act which was long premeditated and for which all arrangements had been made.  The rapidity with which petrol and verey lights were brought from Cork Barracks to the  centre of the city and the deliberate manner in which the work of firing the various premises was divided amongst groups under the control of officers gives evidence of organisation and pre-arrangement”

From 1945 souvenir programme

From a souvenir programme of the Cumann na Sean Óglach Easter Commemoration Concert held in the Savoy Cinema Easter Sunday april 1st 1945

The British response on the night was one of  both Drunken mayhem and organised terror, the latter being the main aim of the game, when dealing with a hostile population the British counter-insurgency effort generally turns to outright terror to subdue the population, with innocent people being the targets, nothing new in Ireland as far the British were concerned.  The devastation they brought upon the city that night was immense, dozens of businesses were destroyed and  hundreds of homes gone. Thousands were left jobless.  It’s hard to imagine Cork City like that today, decked out in all its Christmas cheer, what must it have been like to witness the city engulfed in flames? Organised mobs of murderous men shooting off guns randomly at people. People out in the streets, their homes a ball of fire.

Whilst we live in relative peace today, Ireland remains partitioned and occupied,  betrayed at every oppurtunity by the Gombeen men, who in little over a years time will try lay claim to the lineage of 1916 and at the same time they will tell us to forget the past and move on, one thing is for sure, the republican people of Cork will never forget the Delaney Brothers,  the boys who brought the fight up at Dillon’s cross or those that suffered the night they sacked our city, for they will be remembered with pride long after the enemies of Ireland are dead and buried.

 

 

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“A divine adventure” Tribute to Terence McSwiney

Life is a divine adventure, and the man whose faith is finest will go farthest”

From a souvenir programme of the  Cumann na Sean Óglach Easter Commemoration Concert held in the Savoy Cinema Easter Sunday april 1st 1945

From a souvenir programme of the Cumann na Sean Óglach Easter Commemoration Concert held in the Savoy Cinema Easter Sunday april 1st 1945

“From the flame of his rare and gallant spirit, from the unshakeable strength of his serene faith there was developed a nobility of character and high ideals which, combined with his immense service to the nation and the manner of his heroic death, made his life indeed “a divine adventure”

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