Fianna Éireann Scout Joseph Coughlan

Fianna Éireann Scout Joseph Coughlan (aged 14) of Sunfort near Liscarroll (Sunfort Hill)

Date of incident: 30 April 1921

Sources: Death Certificate, 30 April 1921; CE, 3 May 1921; CWN, 7 May 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/148/34 (TNA); Patrick O’Brien’s WS 764, 41-42 (BMH); ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 146.


Note: Coughlan, aged 14, was shot and mortally wounded at Sunfort Hill (just north of Liscarroll) by soldiers of the East Lancashire Regiment while he was acting as a guide for an IRA advance party, whose members ran away when challenged by the troops. Sunfort Hill was only about 200 yards from Coughlan’s residence. One report claimed that he had failed to obey a military order to halt and had been shot for that reason. The earliest newspaper reports misidentified the dead youth as Joseph Cotter. See CE, 3 May 1921. 

Patrick O’Brien, Vice O/C of the Charleville Battalion, later reported that ‘on May Eve a trench was being opened about a mile from the village of Liscarroll, and some of the [IRA] parties on their way home after completing the work were intercepted by a military patrol which killed a young lad . . . only about 14 years of age’. See Patrick O’Brien’s WS 764, 41-42 (BMH). 

Coughlan was the grandson of Mary and John Dennehy of Sunfort and lived with them; John Dennehy was an agricultural labourer.

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