Volunteer Patrick Casey
Volunteer Patrick Casey (aged about 26) of Ballybricken and Caherelly, Co. Limerick (Cork Military Detention Barracks)
Date: 2 May 1921 (executed by crown forces)
Sources: CE, 3, 12 May, 8 July 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/147B/7 (TNA); Daniel F. O’Shaughnessy’s WS 1435, 87-95; Appendix B, 2-6 (BMH); Morgan Portley’s WS 1559, 1, 7-9, 30-31 (BMH); Macardle (1968), 913; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 103; Sheehan (2011), 107; Shraharla IRA Memorial; UCC IRA Memorial; www.irishwarmemorials.ie; http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015).
Note: Creamery manager at Ballybricken and a leading member of the Flying Column of the Mid Limerick Brigade, Casey was captured during an attempted IRA ambush at Knockanevin near Kildorrery on 1 May 1921 and was tried at a drumhead court-martial at Victoria Military Barracks in Cork the next day: ‘The accused was defended by a military officer, who suggested an adjournment to give the accused time to prepare his trial. The prosecutor opposed the application and said that there could be no possible defence to the charge, and the trial proceeded. The court closed. The prisoner was sentenced to death. This was confirmed, and he was executed at 6:30 p.m.’ See CE, 3 May 1921. He was buried in the former grounds of the Cork County Gaol. The bronze plaque on the outer wall of what once was the Cork County Gaol wrongly places the execution of Patrick Casey on 4 May 1921. See www.irishwarmemorials.ie.
Casey had been born at Caherelly, Grange, Co. Limerick, on 4 June 1895. In 1911 he was the youngest son (then aged 16) of the Caherelly agricultural labourer Patrick Casey Sr and his wife Mary, whose five children (three sons and two daughters) co-resided with them in that year. After attending Caherelly National School and working for a few years as an agricultural labourer himself, Patrick Jr headed for big-city life. He worked for a time at Henry Ford’s factory in Cork city and then for the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. But he returned to the country and at the time of his death was employed as a creamery worker or manager at the Ballybricken Creamery owned by Messrs Cleeve Bros. He was an early member of the Volunteers, having joined in March 1914, and was present with the Limerick City Volunteers at Killonan on Easter Sunday in 1916. He was a member of the Mid-Limerick Flying Column from its inception. He served as quartermaster of the Fifth Battalion of the Mid-Limerick Brigade and ‘maintained a concealed arms and ammunition dump during the whole period in Ballybricken Creamery’. When he and his comrades were cornered at Knockanevin by British forces on 1 May 1921, Casey ‘continued to fire until his ammunition was exhausted and he himself wounded’. At his drumhead court-martial the next day, a British military officer testified that while Casey had ‘had a sporting chance to escape, he apparently remained to cover the withdrawal of his comrades’. Casey had been a renowned athlete as a hurler and as a runner at short and longer distances. See www.irishwarmemorials.ie; http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015).