Volunteer Patrick O’Mahony Jr

Volunteer Patrick O’Mahony Jr (aged about 30) of Berrings in Inishcarra parish (Cork Military Detention Barracks)

Dates of incident: 28 Feb. 1921 (executed by crown forces)

Sources: FJ, 28 Feb., 1 March 1921; II, 28 Feb., 1, 15 March 1921; CE, 1 March 1921; CCE, 12 Feb., 5 March 1921; Connaught Telegraph, 5 March 1921; Kerryman, 5 March 1921; Ulster Herald, 5 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/155B/1 (TNA); Peter Kearney’s WS 444, 12 (BMH); Denis Dwyer’s WS 713, 5-10 (BMH); Denis Collins’s WS 827, 18 (BMH); Daniel McCarthy’s WS 1457, 6-7 (BMH); Michael Mullane’s WS 1689, 8-10 (BMH); Daniel McCarthy’s WS 1697, 13-14 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Barry (1949, 1989), 165-66; Last Post (1976), 81; War of Independence website for County Cork, under First Cork Brigade, and under ‘Capture of I.R.A. Volunteers at Dripsey’; Kautt (2010), 125-30; Sheehan (2011), 107, 230; Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 156-60, 274; http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/objectfocus/razor (17 Sept. 2015); www.irishwarmemorials.iehttp://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015); UCC IRA Memorial; Dripsey Ambush Monument; Donoughmore Cemetery IRA Memorial.


Note: O’Mahony was one of six Volunteers executed by firing squad at Victoria Military Detention Barracks in Cork city on this date. He had been captured in the abortive Dripsey ambush of 28 January 1921. He was one eight Volunteers taken prisoner by the forces of the crown; five of the eight were wounded, and one of the five (Volunteer Captain James Barrett) died on 22 March 1921 in Cork Military Hospital at Victoria Barracks. The ambush site was near Godfrey’s Cross, located about midway between Dripsey and Coachford. These Volunteers belonged to the Sixth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. Their intent was to ambush a convoy of British troops that travelled along this road when moving back and forth between Ballincollig and Macroom. Information from Mrs Maria Lindsay of Leemount in Coachford was instrumental in foiling their intentions and in facilitating their capture.

Forewarned of the intended ambush near Dripsey, British forces surrounded and attacked the unsuspecting Volunteers: ‘It was a matter of surprise in the quiet village of Peake when military arrived with armoured cars and took up a position, but they little dreamed of the terrifying events that were to follow. Being on the Coachford side of Godfrey’s Cross, and round the corner, as it were, from that portion of the main road and the Cross, the ambush party could not see the military. A republican scout, however, some time later discovered the military and gave the alarm, with the result that the ambushers made preparations for a withdrawal, but they reckoned without their host. Parties of military and police converged on the scene from Ballincollig, Blarney, and other points and opened fire upon the insurgents, who, although hemmed in upon all sides, took the best cover they could find and returned the fire. After the battle progressed for some time, the republicans endeavoured to retreat, but they were barred by the River Lee on one side and an armoured car on the other, so they were virtually between the devil and the deep sea. . . . [An attempt to retreat towards Peake failed.] They turned back and struck across the fields in a north-westerly direction, to come out on the road between Coachford and Peake. Another party of military, however, were on this road near Coachford, and their presence forced the ambush party to again retire in a northerly direction, and here the decisive battle was fought, which scattered the republicans in all directions. The military and police gradually closed in upon those of them who had not succeeded in breaking away from the trap set for them, and finally captured what remained. One civilian was found dead and about ten wounded, some of them fatally, while about ten of the ambushers were taken unwounded.’ [Editor’s note: Dependent on British sources, this reporter inflated IRA casualties.] Perhaps in order to help conceal the real source of their intelligence, British officers suggested that a military airplane had spotted the deep trench in the road made by the would-be ambushers and had at once reported the matter ‘at his base’. See CCE, 5 Feb. 1921. 

Patrick O’Mahony, taken prioner at Dripsey, had been born at Derry, Berrings, Inishcarra. He was one of the nine children (seven sons and two daughters) of the Berrings farmer Patrick O’Mahony Sr and his wife Margaret. All nine children co-resided with their parents in 1911; they ranged in age from 7 to 24. Patrick was the third son.

O’Mahony attended Berrings National School, the Presentation Brothers’ College, and Skerries College, Cork. His knowledge of civil law enabled him to help settle a number of disputes in his Volunteer company area before the setting up of the Republican Courts. He joined the Volunteers in 1917, becoming a member of C Company of the Sixth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. With his comrades he participated in numerous engagements, among the most notable of which were the IRA attacks on the RIC barracks at Blarney and Carrigadrohid. In the abortive Dripsey ambush he was said to have ‘behaved with exemplary courage under difficult conditions, rallying his section under heavy fire to cover the withdrawal of the main body’. After his execution his remains were interred in the former grounds of the Cork County Gaol. See http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015).

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,