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Volunteer Thomas Dennehy

Volunteer Thomas Dennehy (aged 21) of 164 Blarney Street, Cork city (Ballycannon near Clogheen)

Date of incident: 23 March 1921

Sources: Death Certificate, 23 March 1921; CE, 24, 25, 26 March 1921; II, 24, 29 March 1921; FJ, 24, 26 March 1921; CC, 25, 28 March 1921; CCE, 26 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/149A/1 (TNA); Felix O’Doherty’s WS 739, 48-49 (BMH); P. J. Murphy’s WS 869, 27 (BMH); Michael Murphy’s WS 1547, 40 (BMH); Daniel Healy’s WS 1656, 13, 15-25, with attached affidavits (BMH); Seámus Fitzgerald’s WS 1737, 28-29 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Last Post (1976), 83; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 144; Borgonovo (2007), 86, 89-90, 101, 112-13, 128, 180; Clogheen Ambush Memorial; (accessed 23 March 2016). 


Note: Following a raid at the house of farmer Cornelius O’Keefe by a large party of crown forces, O’Keefe’s son was arrested and six others (including Thomas Dennehy)—all members of the IRA—were shot dead in British custody on 23 March 1921. These killings became known as the ‘Kerry Pike Murders’ among republicans. 

Volunteer Dennehy was one of the nine children (eleven born) of Kate Dennehy of 164 Blarney Street in Cork city. Kate Dennehy was married, but the 1911 census does not indicate who her husband was. Seven of her children (six sons and one daughter) co-resided with their mother in that year. The eldest son living at home (Patrick, aged 24) was a town postman, and his younger brother Hugh (aged 18) was an auxiliary postman. Thomas Dennehy was the fourth son at home. He was buried in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork city.

Dennehy worked in the insurance profession, which extolled his promise and consoled his family: ‘At a specially convened meeting of the Executive Committee of the Prudential Staff Association to-day [24 or 25 March 1921] a resolution of sympathy on behalf of the entire staff in Munster was passed with the relatives of their late colleague Thomas Dennehy, who, the resolution went on, “met his death in such a cruel manner”. “We, his colleagues of the insurance profession, shall always remember him as a loyal, true, upright, and honest colleague and a credit to the profession in which such a brilliant future was in store for him.’

The members of Cork Corporation adjourned their council meeting on 24 March ‘as a mark of sympathy with the relatives of the men who had been killed at Kerry Pike the previous morning’. Deputy Lord Mayor Barry Egan declared that ‘in view of the uncertainty attached to the whole matter he desired the council [of Cork Corporation] to empower him to write to General Strickland asking that an independent investigation of the bodies be made by an independent medical man’. Strickland sent no reply. See FJ, 26 March 1921.

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,