RIC Constable James Cullen

RIC Constable James Cullen (aged 23) from Wiltshire (Barrack Street, Clonakilty)

Date of incident: 3 May 1921

Sources: II, 5 May 1921; FJ, 6 May 1921; CE, 13, 18 May 1921; CCE, 14 May 1921; Weekly Summary of Outrages against the Police (CO 904/148-50, TNA); Military Inquests, WO 35/148/54 (TNA); Abbott (2000), 230; Kingston (2013), 216.


Note: On Tuesday night, 3 May 1921, members of the IRA fired on Constables James Cullen and Martin Fallon while they were in Kingston’s licensed premises in Clonakilty; the gunmen also threw a bomb into the bar where the two policemen were drinking, ‘shattering doors and windows’. See CCE, 14 May 1921. Both policemen were badly wounded. Cullen, an ex-soldier and formerly a printer, was removed to Cork Military Hospital and died there on 9 May 1921. He had joined the RIC less than three months earlier. See Abbott (2000), 230.

On Sunday morning, 8 May, at all the Masses in Clonakilty parish church the parish priest and the two curates ‘denounced the incident that occurred on Tuesday evening [3 May] at Barrack-street, Clonakilty, whereby the life of a constable was nearly taken [two later died], and the lives of civilians [were] endangered. On behalf of the priests of the parish, they expressed their horror and detestation of such a crime.’ See CCE, 14 May 1921.

On 12 May 1921 the military authorities destroyed the houses of John Driscoll of Muckross and Patrick Hurley of MacCurtain Hill in Clonakilty ‘on the grounds that their owners are supporters of armed rebels, and that such armed rebels carried out a murderous attack on two members of the R.I.C. at Clonakilty on 3rd May 1921’. See CE, 18 May 1921. But the Cork Examiner’s correspondent in Clonakilty reported on the day of these reprisals that ‘Hurley and Driscoll are respectable, inoffensive men who are in no way concerned about politics. People in the town and country are very uneasy.’ See CE, 13 May 1921.  

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