Volunteer Daniel J. Reilly or O’Reilly Jr

Volunteer Daniel J. Reilly or O’Reilly Jr (aged 24) of Granasig or Garraneanasig near Kilbrittain (Bandon)

Date of incident: night of 23-24 Jan. 1921

Sources: II, 25, 26 Jan. 1921; FJ, 25, 29 Jan. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/161A (TNA); MSPC/1D323 (Military Archives); Frank Neville’s WS 443, 10 (BMH); WS 560 of James O’Mahony et al., 17 (BMH); William Norris’s WS 595, 5 (BMH); Patrick O’Brien’s WS 812, 22-23 (BMH); Denis Collins’s WS 827, 10 (BMH); William Desmond’s WS 832, 29-31 (BMH); William McCarthy’s WS 1255, 1 (BMH); Denis O’Brien’s WS 1353, 8 (BMH); Richard Russell’s WS 1591, 16 (BMH); Charles O’Donoghue’s WS 1607, 9 (BMH); Daniel Donovan’s WS 1608, 10 (BMH); Daniel Canty’s WS 1619, 24 (BMH); Michael Riordan’s WS 1638, 19-20 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 103, 207; Barry (1949, 1989), 72-73; Deasy (1973), 201-2; Last Post (1976), 79; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 74n, 142; Bielenberg, Borgonovo, and Ó Ruairc (2015), 70; Volunteer Daniel O’Reilly Memorial, Dunmanway Road, Bandon.  


Note: A member of the Kilbrittain Volunteer Company, O’Reilly was killed at Bandon during an abortive attack mounted by the West Cork Flying Column on the two RIC barracks and the military barracks there that began ‘at the stroke of midnight’ on 23 January 1921. British forces found his body with arms ‘in a field after the attackers had been repulsed’. At first O’Reilly’s identity was unknown to either police or soldiers, and his body was removed from the military barracks to the workhouse morgue. See II, 25, 26 Jan. 1921.

In 1911 Daniel O’Reilly was one of the seven children of the Garraneanasig farmer Daniel O’Reilly Sr and his wife Margaret. Three of their daughters and two of their sons co-resided with them in that year, including their youngest son Daniel Jr, then aged 14. The family occupied a farm of 35 acres in the early 1920s.

One of O’Reilly’s comrades later recalled the circumstances that led to his death: ‘I remember that the man who was in position beside O’Reilly stated that when he heard the signal to withdraw (3 blasts of a whistle), he told O’Reilly and immediately moved off to the agreed meeting place. O’Reilly, however, said that he did not hear the signal and refused to move.’ See Denis O’Brien’s WS 1353, 8 (BMH). More vividly, Volunteer Patrick O’Brien, adjutant of the Dunmanway Battalion, recalled that as he and O’Reilly were moving away from the military barracks along the Dunmanway road out of Bandon, ‘the bullets from the machine gun cut sods from the surface of the field just above us. In a moment Danny Reilly was killed. He was caught by a full burst from the gun and just cut to pieces. He was our only casualty that night.’ See Patrick O’Brien’s WS 812, 23 (BMH).

O’Reilly was interred in the Republican Plot at St Patrick’s Graveyard in Bandon, where a memorial grave marker notes that O’Reilly (aged 24) was fatally shot by crown forces during the IRA attack on Bandon Military Barracks on 24 January 1921. In a later pension claim made by his family (spelling their surname as Reilly), it was stated that Volunteer Reilly had received a bullet wound in this encounter but had been bayonetted to death. See MSPC/1D323 (Military Archives).

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