Friday, June 19, 2015

Corpus Christi - Athenry June 7 2015

Sunday, April 7, 2013

1916 Galway Rising Timeline

On Monday 24th April 1916 the people of Galway rose up and for a few days at least the British Empire lost control of a large part of Co Galway.

Click to view a timeline to the Galway Rising..

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Martin Rooney, Irish Volunteer

Martin Rooney was my grand-uncle, my grandmother Mary-Anne Quinns brother. 

In1853 the Rooney family was evicted from their congested tenant farm at Moneyteige, Craughwell and were forced to move to Athenry Town, living on vacant land opposite what is now Kenny Park. Sometime later the family was granted land through the Land Commission at Cahercrin, Craughwell and setup a farm there, it is still in the Rooney Family today.

I believe as a result of the eviction the family were radicalized and became involved in the Land War. Martin and his brother John joined the Irish Volunteers and were part of the 1916 Easter Rising in Co Galway. As a result, both were interned in Frongoch, Wales along with ~1800 other Irish Rebels including 322 from Co Galway. They were released from Frongoch by Christmas 1916.

The War of Independence was relatively quiet in East Galway, probably as most of the IRA were known to the police after the 1916 roundups. Saying that the Rooney farm was continuously raided by the police and Black and Tans with the result that the brothers had to spend most of their time camped out on a remote part of the farm. The women of the family had to bare the brunt of these raids and it is said that my grandmother always dealt with the soldiers but never gave them the satisfaction of showing she was afraid. Martin was involved in the raids on Bookeen and Coldwood RIC barricks.

When the Civil War came Martin sided with the Free State and joined the National Army. He became a Battalion Commandant and died in an ambush at Cashla, Athenry in July 1922.

3 Killings at Cashla, Athenry

The area around Egans Pub in Cashla saw 3 violent deaths between 1920 and 1922. Frank Shaw-Taylor and Tom Egan were killed during the War of Independence, Martin Rooney was killed during the Civil War.

View Cashla, Athenry in a larger map

March 2 1920 Frank Shaw-Taylor, Moorpark, Athenry
Article on Shaw-Taylors killing on Ronan Killeens Athenry Local History Blog

Shaw-Taylor family grave, Athenry

October 1920 Tom Egan, Egans Pub, Cashla
Article on Tom Egans killing from the Athenry Journal by his Great-Grandson Paul McNamara

July 17 1922 Batt Commdt Martin Rooney, Cahercrin, Craughwell
Article on Martin Rooneys killing from the Connacht Tribune 1922

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Bayonet

I have often asked my father and aunts to tell me of any story they have about their parents, aunts and uncles. Usually I get nothing but Aunty Julia came good eventually.

It appears that my grand mother Mary Anne Quinn (nee Rooney) was cycling between her home home in Knockatoor and Athenry when she spotted something on the road. She stopped to pick it up and it turned out to be a British Army bayonet which must have dropped from the belt of a soldier on patrol. She picked it up and kept it. She was considered very brave for keeping the bayonet because of the trouble it could have brought. She proved her bravery again in later years when the police and Tans came to the family home looking for her brothers during the War of Independence but thats another story.

A few months ago I meet my fathers first cousin, Julia Rooney and I told her I would drop out to her for a chat. A few weeks ago I went to her house and after a few minutes of chatting I asked had she heard the story of my grandmother and the bayonet . Without another word her brother Sean jumped up and went back to his room. He came back a couple of seconds later carrying something in his hand. "I always wondered where that came from" he said. He handed me the object and I have to say I was stunned, there in my hand was the bayonet. He had presumed that it had come from his father and uncle, during their time as IRA men.
At this stage it must be close to 100 years since that bayonet was found on the road, its tale paints a picture of life at the time and gives me such a good story about my granny that I dont need any more :).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Unknown Soldier

When we were kids my mother told us about a relation of her mothers more than likely one of the Hughes from Annaghdown, Co Galway who was killed in World War 1. Based on that info my brother Donal arranged for a British War Records researcher to try and track down any Hughes from Galway who fought in World War 1. The search turned up a man from Tuam but the details of the man did not really fit. There the investigation rested until we found out that my Aunt Lena had a photo of the man.

I scanned the image and sent it to Donal, in an amazing piece of internet detective work, within 15 minutes he mailed me back with this clear image of the cap badge

and Collar badge.

Now we had enough info to find out who the picture was of. We engaged the British War Records researcher once more and within a few weeks we had our mans war records. Needless to say they raise as many questions as they answer.

Full Name:   Private Martin James Hughes
War:    World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.:   40216
Date of Birth: 7/11/1891
Place of Birth:   Gardenham, Drumgriffin, Co. Galway, Ireland
Height:    5’6”
Weight:    127 lb
Chest-measurement:  Min 31” Max 34”
Vaccination marks:  Right Arm
Complexion:   Fair
Colour of eyes:   Grey
Religion:   RC
Arrived in New Zealand: 1911

First Known Rank:  Private
Place of Enlistment:  Appelby, Nelson
Date of Enlistment:  10/11/1916
Occupation before Enlistment: Carpenter
Nationality: New Zealand
Body on Embarkation:  New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Embarkation Unit: 23rd Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company
Embarkation Date:  2 April 1917
Place of Embarkation:  Wellington, New Zealand
Transport:   HMNZT 80
Vessel:    Corinthic (Ships master was Captain F. Hart)
Destination:   Plymouth, England
Date of Disembarkation: 10th June and marched into Camp Sling on the 11th
Left for France:   6/7/1917
Regiment/Service: Canterbury Infantry Regiment, N.Z.E.F.
Unit Text: 2nd Bn. 2nd company
Age: 25
Wounded in Action:  18/8/1917
Place of injury:   Loudon/Loudou???
Date of Death: 20/08/1917
Place of Death:   No.26 General Hospital Etaples
Cause of Death: Died of wounds received in action (Right Hip, Gas Gangrene)

Medals:    British War Medal, Victory Medal
Additional information: Son of Mr. Patrick and Mary Hughes, of Gardenham, Drumgriffin P.O., Co. Galway, Ireland.
Brother of Patrick Hughes, P.O. Waimate , South Canterbury
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: XXII. Q. 20A.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Larry Lardner

When I was growing up Kitty Lardner lived at the top of Old Church St. Her father Larry Lardner was a leading figure in the Athenry Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Lately I  got a chance to view some of Larrys letters and photos from 1914 to 1920.
Letter from Michael Collins on the subject of conscription

Fictional (?) Christmas Day Menu, Lincoln Prison 1918. By all accounts Larry was involved Devs escape.

Receipt from Sean McDiarmada for monies paid
Irish Volunteers Athlone 1915, Terence McSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork is pictured standing beside Larry. McSwiney died in prison after 74 days on hunger strike.

On hunger strike in Wormscrubs Prision May 1920 (Larry is last on the right on the second row from the front). The prisoners motto is Release or Death.

Scenes from Larrys funeral April 21 1936

Connacht Tribune article at the time.