Remembering Óglach Robert Carr, Newry Brigade – Irish Republican Army (IRA), who died on this day 1st April 1980.

Óglach Robert Carr, Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), died on this day 1st April 1980.

Robert Manus Carr (commonly known as Bob) was born on 7th April 1959 in Quay St, Newry. His parents, Noel and Josie, lived in the ÓNeill Avenue area and they had one other child, Mary.

In the mid 70s Bob Joined a local unit of the IRA determined to fight for his country’s freedom.

In March 1980, Bob was critically injured in a premature explosion at the Customs Post on the Dublin Road. He recieved terrible burns to his body from which he never recovered. He died on the 1st April, six days before his 21st Birthday.

News of his death came as a great shock to his family and friends. His family treasure his memories and his comrades remember him with pride.

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael.

Óglach Thomas Murphy, aged 22, F Company, 6th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Óglach Thomas Murphy, aged 22.

Murdered in his bed by Black and Tans at ‘The Hotel’, Foxrock Village, on this day 1921.

At the time of his death, Thomas or ‘Tommy’ Murphy, a popular young uilleann-piper, was one of a number of young men active with the local IRA company, a unit made up of men from the Deansgrange, Cornelscourt, Cabinteely and Foxrock districts. By the summer of 1921, several of it’s members had been forced ‘on the run’ and began operating as a full-time ‘flying column’, sleeping rough in stables and sheds and harassing crown forces at any opportunity that presented itself.

Attacks on the local RIC barracks at Cabinteely were numerous. In the dead of night, Volunteers, acting under cover of darkness, would make their way to the village, where they would creep along the empty streets, taking up positions before subjecting the barracks to a sustained attack using rifles and home-made bombs. Just weeks before his death, Thomas Murphy, dressed in a chauffeur’s uniform in order to give the appearance of a British officer, had driven a car at top speed past the barracks while the car’s other two occupants lobbed bombs at the Black and Tan sentries posted outside.

On May 13th, local Volunteer Charles ‘Rodney’ Murphy (no relation) of Deansgrange, scaled a tree in the Brennanstown Road area, using his elevated position overlooking the barracks to snipe at two Black and Tans tending to the gardens in the yard out back. Constable Albert Edward Skeats, a Black and Tan recruit from London, was hit behind the ear and rushed to a hospital in the city, where he lay critically ill. He eventually succumbed to his injuries on May 28th. The night after his death, a party of Tans and RIC returning to their barracks were ambushed at Monaloe cross-roads by Volunteers Jackie Nolan, John Merriman and Billy Fitzgibbon. During a brisk gunfight, one constable was wounded before the Volunteers made their escape across fields.

With one of their number dead and another now seriously injured, tensions inside Cabinteely barracks had reached boiling point. Just before three o’clock in the morning, a party of five Tans, faces blackened with shoe polish, made their way along Brennanstown Road to Foxrock, where they stopped at ‘The Hotel’, a large tenement building that once stood in the centre of the village. It was here that Volunteer Thomas Murphy resided along with his widowed mother and four sisters. As the building was home to several families, the front door was left open, enabling the Tans to make their way inside unnoticed. They then quietly made their way to Thomas’ room before bursting through his bedroom door, waking the startled man from his sleep. One of the intruders asked if he was Thomas Murphy, and when he replied that he was, a shot was fired, hitting the young man through his head, the bullet passing through the wall into the adjacent room. As the intruders left, Thomas’ mother and sisters rushed into the room to find their son in a collapsed state. Despite the best efforts of a local doctor, Thomas died where he lay several hours later.

On June 1st, Thomas’ remains were buried at Deansgrange Cemetery following a military enquiry. In a large funeral cortege, members of the Dublin and South Eastern Railway Company, where Thomas worked as a porter, marched in a body after the hearse. Numerous wreaths were placed over the coffin, which was wrapped in a tricolour flag. Thomas’ IRA comrades supplied a guard of honour and firing party. Three volleys of shots were fired as the coffin was lowered into the grave, before men and arms managed to get safely out of the cemetery through a cordon of British military.

With many thanks to: Sean Larkin, South Derry.

Police probe online paramilitary images

POLICE are investigating after an image was posted online showing a masked man apparently firing shots in tribute to a Socialist Republican in west Belfast.

“The final salute to comrade Harry O’Hara” – IRSP.

Photographs posted on Facebook by the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) – the politicial wing of the Irish National Liberation Party (INLA) – show masked men posing on a street with a picture of Harry O’Hara. Mr O’Hara, from Norglen Drive in the Turf Lodge area, died on February 28th and was buried in the City Cemetery earlier this month following Requiem Mass at Holy Trinity Church. Among death notices expressing sympathy at Mr O’Hara’s passing was one from “Connor Hughes, Cogús Republican Prisoners” in Maghaberry Jail.

West Belfast – INLA

The IRSP’s Belfast branch posted photos on Facebook of a “final salute to comrade Harry O’Hara”. It said “Harry was a loyal republican socialist and he will always be remembered with honour and pride by the Republican Socialist Movement” (RSM). The images show masked men dressed in paramilitay-style uniform posing beside candles and a photo of Mr O’Hara (copy of picture above). In one, a member of the group raises a gun above his head in a firing motion.

The images have been condemned by SDLP councillor Tim Attwood, who represents the area on Belfast City Council. “These are scenes which belong in the past. There is no excuse for masked gunmen on the streets of our city, no matter what the context,” he said. “This was a reckless act and should be roundly condemned.” A RUC/PSNI spokeswoman said: “Police are aware of footage on social media showing shots apparently being fired by a masked man in west Belfast. An investigation is under way.”

With many thanks to: John Monaghan, The Irish News, for the origional story.

One of the secretaries to the Irish delegation at the 1921 Treaty talks described the excitement in Downing Street as Collins arrived.

“The paths were lined along the route with Irish exiles, including nuns and clergymen reciting the rosary, singing hymns, exclaiming good wishes… There were tri -colours, banners, flags lengths of cloth and cardboard with wishes and slogans in Gaelic.”

The Irish Independent described his send-off from Euston station after the talks in December: “Collins was a particular favourite of the women”.

“The police were powerless to check the wild stampede… and one young woman succeeded in embracing him and kissing him heartily on both cheeks. ‘God bless you Michael!’ were the last shouts of a few hundred of his women admirers.”

There were similar scenes in Dublin when he returned home. Collins was offered $25,000 – a vast sum at the time – to write his memoirs, but he died too early to take up the offer.

With many thanks to: Life And Times of the the “big Fella”.

Woman of Aran who lived to age 109

http://stairnaheireann.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/portrait.jpg

BRIDGET DIRRANE: Bridget Dirrane, who died aged 109 in 2003 was Ireland’s second oldest woman.

In a life that spanned three centuries, the Cumann na mBan veteran met Padraig Pearse, went on hunger-strike in Mountjoy, worked in John F. Kennedy’s election campaigns, and was the oldest recipient of an honorary university degree.
The latter distinction earned her a place in The Guinness Book of Records. Her memoir, A Woman of Aran, published in 1998, was a best-seller.
On the occasion of her 105th birthday, when asked if she had expected to live so long, Bridget Dirrane replied, “not really, but my sister Julia did live to be a 100”. She attributed her longevity to a strong religious faith, a good upbringing and a healthy diet. Last February she was highly amused to hear her death reported on Today with Pat Kenny and promptly despatched a correction.
Éamon de Valera was the Irish political leader she admired above all others.
To the end, she maintained a keen interest in current affairs and was an enthusiastic supporter of the peace process, and she earnestly wished for a permanent peace. Of today’s IRA, she said: “They don’t know what they’re fighting for. I wouldn’t approve of all they do, but it’s up to them. They’ll have to answer for their misdeeds.”
Bridget Dirrane was born Bridget Gillan, the youngest of the eight children of Joseph Gillan and his wife, Margaret (née Walsh), at Oatquarter, Inis Mór. Her father was a weaver and wove the cloth for the clothes worn by the young Liam O Flaherty.
She encountered tragedy early in life. Her brother, Patrick, died shortly after she began attending school and her father died when she was eight. On the whole, however, her childhood was happy and she shared the family love of music and dancing.
From an early age, she wanted to be a nurse. “I had the knack of it. I knew the cures, as my mother had.” She left school at 14 and worked intermittently as a childminder.
Among the visitors to Inis Mór whom she met were Padraig Pearse, Thomas Ashe, Eamonn Ceannt, and Joseph Mary Plunkett.
Bridget Dirrane left Inis Mór to work as a childminder in Tuam, Co Galway, and later moved to Knockavilla, Co Tipperary, where she became housekeeper to Father Matt Ryan, a Land League veteran and republican supporter. There she joined Cumann na mBan.
In 1919 she began training as a nurse at St Ultan’s Children’s Hospital, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Part of her duties entailed nursing patients in their homes. On one such occasion, the house was raided by the Black and Tans, and Bridget Dirrane was arrested. Taken to the Bridewell, she infuriated her captors by dancing and singing in Irish. On her transfer to Mountjoy Prison, she embarked on a hunger strike. After nine days she was released without charge.
One of her most abiding memories of the War of Independence was the execution of Kevin Barry. She took part in a Cumann na mBan vigil outside Mountjoy on the morning that he was hanged. “We heard the death bell and then there was silence.”
Dirrane opposed the Treaty, and the Civil War caused her great anguish. Nevertheless, she later took a job caring for the family of Gen Richard Mulcahy, the bête noire of anti-Treatyites.
She retained fond memories of the family to the end of her days, particularly of Risteárd who became one of Ireland’s leading heart specialists.
In 1927, at the age of 33, she emigrated to the US and found work nursing in Boston. Shortly after her arrival, she met Edward (Ned) Dirrane, an island neighbour; they married in 1932. During the Depression, the Dirranes worked long and hard to make ends meet. Roosevelt’s New Deal brought some relief, but before the couple could enjoy the benefits of economic recovery, Ned Dirrane died suddenly in 1940.
When the US entered the second World War, Dirrane worked for two years as plant nurse in a munitions factory and later tended soldiers at the Biloxi military base in Mississippi. On her return to south Boston, she became an active Democratic supporter, canvassing for John F. Kennedy in many elections.
In 1966, after 39 years in the US and now retired, she decided that it was time to return to Aran. She moved in with her brother-in-law, Patrick Dirrane, a widower whose three sons were then living abroad. To show good example, the couple married.
At the age of 73, Dirrane oversaw the renovation of her new home, Cliff Edge Cottage, mixing cement and helping to slate the roof. She also planted the flowers and trees around the cottage. Her greatest joy was to help in the rearing of the children of her step-son Coleman and his wife, Margaret.
Dirrane was quick to embrace change and flew on Aer Aran’s inaugural flight to the islands. She welcomed the growth of tourism and the employment it generated. But she bemoaned the stress of modern life. “Today, unfortunately, people don’t have the time to bid each other the time of day. Everybody seems to be rushing to the graveyard!”
Among the visitors to her home were Senator Edward Kennedy and the former US ambassador Ms Jean Kennedy-Smith. When Ms Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first Freewoman of the City of Galway in 1999, Bridget Dirrane was on hand to meet her. By then, she was a resident in a Galway nursing home, her husband having died in 1990. She had been awarded the Master of Arts honoris causa by NUI Galway in 1998 in recognition of her rich and varied life and her service to others.
Bridget Dirrane was a devout Catholic and, to mark her 100th birthday, she purchased a stone statue of Our Lady which was erected at the Well of The Four Beauties, Inis Mór. In her memoir, she intimated that she would leave no fortune behind her. “What I will leave is the sunshine to the flowers, honey to the bees, the moon above in the heavens for all those in love and my beloved Aran Islands to the seas.”
Bridget Dirrane is survived by her step-sons, Stephen, John, and Coleman. Bridget Dirrane: born 1894; died December 31st, 2003.

https://amp.theguardian.com/news/2004/jan/02/guardianobituaries

With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.

Matthew Talbot was born on May 2nd 1856, the second of 12 siblings, in Dublin, Ireland.

He had three sisters and nine brothers, three of whom died young. His father Charles was a dockworker and his mother, Elizabeth, was a housewife. When Matthew was about 12 years old, he started to drink alcohol. His father was a known alcoholic as well as all his brothers. The eldest brother, John, was the exception. Charles tried to dissuade Matthew with severe punishments but without success.Matthew worked as a messenger boy when he was twelve and then transferred to another messenger job at the same place his father worked. After working there for three years, he became a bricklayer’s laborer. He was a hodman, which meant he fetched mortar and bricks for the bricklayers. He was considered “the best hodman in Dublin.As he grew into an adult, he continued to drink excessively, He continued to work but spent all his wages on heavy drinking. When he got drunk, he became very hot-tempered, got into fights, and swore. He became so desperate for more drinks that he would buy drinks on credit, sell his boots or possessions, or steal people’s possession so he could exchange it for more drinks. He refused to listen to his mother’s plea to stop drinking. He eventually lost his own self-respect. One day when he was broke, he loitered around a street corner waiting for his “friends”, who were leaving work after they were paid their wages. He had hoped that they would invite him for a drink but they ignored him. Dejected, he went home and publicly resolved to his mother, “I’m going to take the pledge.” His mother smiled and responded, “Go, in God’s name, but don’t take it unless you are going to keep it.” As Matthew was leaving, she continued, “May God give you strength to keep it.Matthew went straight to confession at Clonliffe College and took a pledge not to drink for three months. The next day he went back to Church and received communion for the first time in years. From that moment on, in 1884 when he was 28 years old, he became a new man. After the he successfully fulfilled his pledge for three months, he made a life long pledge. He even made a pledge to give up his pipe and tobacco. He used to use about seven ounces of tobacco a week. He said to the late Sean T. O’Ceallaigh, former President of Ireland, that it cost him more to give up tobacco that to give up alcohol.The new converted Matthew never swore. He was good humored and amicable to everyone. He continued to work as a hodman and then as a laborer for timber merchants. He used his wages to pay back all his debts. He lived modestly and his home was very spartan. He developed into a very pious individual who prayed every chance he got. He attended Mass every morning and made devotions like the Stations of the Cross or devotions the Blessed mother in the evenings. He fasted, performed acts of mortification, and financially supported many religious organizations. He read biographies of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Catherine of Sienna. He later joined the Third Order of St. Francis on October 18, 1891 even though a young pious girl proposed to marry him. Physically, he suffered from kidney and heart ailments. During the two times he was hospitalized, he spent much time in Eucharistic adoration in the hospital chapel. Eventually, Matthew died on June 7, 1925 while walking to Mass. He was 69 years old. Here is a wonderful quote from Matthew to remember:Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When alone guard your thoughts.”

With many thanks to: Irish History discussion and debate group.

The 19th March marks the 13th anniversary of my old comrade Charlie Ronayne (Midleton Co. Cork), who died in 2004.

Left to Right: Jim Lane. Charlie Roayne – O’Mahony, Seán Murry, ‘Gypo’ O’Mahony and Jerry Madden.

Charlie and I first met as we went together with others, across the Border on 11th December 1956 to fight the forces of occupation in the Six North Eastern Counties of Ireland.

18 Cork IRA Volunteers went on active service the following night, 12th December 1956. The attached photo was taken at Easter 1960 in Trafalgar Square, London. All 6 in the photo were Irish Republicans. In 1962, Charlie was best-man at my wedding. In later years, Charlie was a Town Councillor representing Sinn Fein on Midleton Town Council. He was re-elected several times. We remained the best of comrades all through the remainder of his life. Ní beidh a leitéid ann arís.

 

With many thanks to: Jim Lane, Ann Connolly.