News Archive 2020

Launch of Dr Aodh Quinlivan's new book 'Forgotten Lord Mayor: Donal Óg O'Callaghan, 1920-1924'

12 Aug 2020
Former Lord Mayor of Cork Donal O'Callaghan.

On this day, 100 years ago (12 August 1920), a meeting of the Cork No. 1 Brigade of the IRA was convened for Cork City Hall. On the same night, a meeting of local IRB officers was also due to take place at the same venue, as well as a Republican Court session. Thus, City Hall would be teeming with some of the most wanted men in Ireland. On the afternoon of 12 August, Donal O'Callaghan chaired a meeting of Cork County Council in the Courthouse. Liam Deasy informed him that the British were aware of the meetings that were planned that night for City Hall and a raid was likely. O'Callaghan promised that once the County Council meeting was over he would inform Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney and other senior Republican figures.

The County Council meeting dragged on, but at 6:00pm, O'Callaghan left the Courthouse to sound the alarm in City Hall. According to Deasy (in a statement to the subsequent IRB inquiry) O'Callaghan returned to the Courthouse at 7:00pm without having issued the warning. He set out again to do so but, as he approached City Hall, he saw that it was surrounded by RIC officers and the raid was imminent. Terence MacSwiney was arrested and sent to Brixton Prison where he subsequently died after a lengthy hunger strike. He was replaced as Lord Mayor of Cork by Donal O'Callaghan. We will probably never solve the mystery of why O'Callaghan did not warn MacSwiney. What did he do during the fateful hour of 6:00 to 7:00pm when he apparently set out to issue the warning? Was this a major turning point in Cork and Irish history?


Forgotten Lord Mayor: Donal Óg O'Callaghan, 1920-1924 is due to be launched on 4 November 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of his election as Lord Mayor.

Department of Government & Politics

Roinn Léann an Rialtais agus na Polaitíochta

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