Volunteer First Lieutenant James O’Donoghue

Volunteer First Lieutenant James O’Donoghue (aged 18) of Shannon Street, Bandon (near Laurel Walk, on Bandon-Dunmanway road)

Date of incident: 2 Dec. 1920

Sources: II, 4, 9 Dec. 1920; CE, 4 Dec. 1920; CCE, 11 Dec. 1921; CWN, 11 Dec. 1920; Military Inquests, WO 35/150/59 (TNA); Charles O’Donoghue’s WS 1607, 10 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 207; Barry (1949, 1989), 53-56, 236; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 140; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/essex-deserters/essex-deserters.html (accessed 3 Aug. 2014); ‘Death of Three Bandon Volunteers’, http://homepage.eircom.net/~corkcounty/Bandon_Killings.html (accessed 9 Oct. 2015); IRA Memorial, Dunmanway Road, Bandon.  


Note: O’Donoghue and his two fellow Volunteers were ambushed and shot dead by a British Essex Regiment patrol, about one mile west of Bandon on the Ballineen Road at about 7:15 pm.  O’Donoghue, according to inquest testimony, was shot dead by Captain Carolin of the Essex Regiment.  When his body was identified by a RIC man, it was stated that he lived on Shannon Street, Bandon.  

The bodies of O’Donoghue, Galvin, and Begley were removed on Friday, 3 December, from Bandon Military Barracks to the mortuary of St Patrick’s Church in preparation for funeral Masses on Sunday morning. ‘Thousands visited the church on Saturday and offered up a prayer for their eternal repose, and for an hour in the evening the lids of the coffins were removed and the remains exposed, and numbers viewed them and saw the wounds which caused their deaths. Volunteers did guard over the remains prior to interment. At 3 o’clock on Sunday the funeral took place to the New Cemetery which adjoins St Patrick’s Church, and the cortege was of exceedingly large dimensions. The coffins, which were borne by Volunteers wearing mourning armlets, were draped in the tricolour and were laid side by side in one grave in a republican plot. Military stood in the fields surrounding the cemetery during the interment, but there was no interference.’ See CCE, 11 Dec. 1921. 

James (Jimmy) O’Donoghue was 18-years-old when he died.  A funeral mass card gives his IRA rank at the time of his death as ‘Deputy Brigade Adjutant’, which was a staff officer position in the Cork 3 Brigade. 

James O’Donoghue was born on 4 April 1902 and was the eldest son of Cornelius (Con) O’Donoghue and his wife Ellen of 31 Shannon Street (now Oliver Plunkett Street) in Bandon. They were the parents of five children; the fifth and youngest, named William or Liam, was born in 1913. Con O’Donoghue was a general foreman at Allman’s Distillery in Bandon. [We are very grateful to Brendan O’Donoghue, the nephew of Volunteer James O’Donoghue, for information about his family and about the killing of the three Volunteers on 2 December 1920.]

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,