Volunteer Timothy McCarthy

Volunteer Timothy McCarthy (aged 21) of Fornaght (Cork Military Detention Barracks)

Date 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; 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); http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015); Dripsey Ambush Monument; Donoughmore Cemetery IRA Memorial; UCC IRA Memorial.


Note: McCarthy was one of six Volunteers executed by firing squad at Victoria Military Detention Barracks in Cork city on this date. He had been wounded and captured in the abortive Dripsey ambush of 28 January 1921 while covering the hurried withdrawal of the main group of Volunteers. Born at Monavanshere in Donaghmore parish on 2 January 1900, he attended Firmount National School, where one of his teachers is said to have given him ‘a great love of the Irish language’. This prompted him later to become a zealous worker for the Gaelic League. Joining the Volunteers early in 1918, he became a member of C Company of the Sixth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. He participated in all the major actions of his company, most notably its attack on Blarney RIC Barracks on 1 June 1920. At the time of his execution he was a resident of Fornaght in his native parish. See http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015).

The former Volunteer Jamie Moynihan, who long maintained a close friendship with the surviving comrades of the condemned Volunteers of the 6th Battalion, left a vivid account of these six executions: ‘The skies over Mid-Cork on that fateful morning were hung with the black drapery of the grave. The parents, families, and neighbours of the five men [a sixth Volunteer named Jack Allen from Tipperary town was also executed] travelled to Cork and made their sad journey to the detention barracks at Rathmore Road, where the men were held. When they arrived, they saw a huge crowd assembled outside. It was only then that the stark reality of the situation struck them. Their sons and neighbours, five young men in the prime of their lives, were to die within the hour. The crowd dropped to its knees, recited the rosary, and continued to pray. Fr O’Brien, the barracks chaplain, and Canon O’Sullivan had celebrated Mass for the five and gave them Holy Communion, and then performed the last rites of the church. They were led to their deaths in pairs, guarded every inch of the way by British soldiers. The two priests stayed with them until they faced the firing squad. It was all over in ten minutes: five more brave Irishmen, who loved their country, had gone to meet their maker.’ See Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 159. Volunteer McCarthy was buried in the grounds of the Cork County Gaol (now UCC). 

The Irish Revolution Project

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University College Cork, Cork,