Civilian Daniel McCarthy

Civilian Daniel McCarthy (aged about 40) of Bantry (Ovens near Ballincollig)

Date of incident: 28 May 1921 (killed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CCE, 4 June, 2, 9 July 1921; CE, 5 July 1921; CC, 5 July 1921; CWN, 9 July 1921; RIC County Inspector’s Monthly Report, Cork City and East Riding, May 1921 (CO 904/115, TNA); Military Inquests, WO 35/162 (TNA); WS 810 of Timothy Herlihy et al., 32-33 (BMH).


Note: McCarthy’s dead body was found on the roadside ‘within a short distance of the Ovens Post Office’ and near Ballincollig Military Barracks on 28 May with seven bullet wounds in the chest (one of them in the heart) and two in the face. On his body was pinned a label declaring, ‘Spies and informers beware, I.R.A.’ See CCE, 9 July 1921. The sources described him as aged about 40 and ‘weak-minded’ or ‘half-witted’. Apparently homeless or a tramp from Bantry, he had been observed entering the military camp at Ballincollig. He was detained there ‘for some time’ and then discharged. See Military Inquests, WO 35/162 (TNA). According to the BMH witness statement of Timothy Herlihy and other Volunteers, however, McCarthy had come under suspicion when he was placed ‘with the I.R.A. prisoners in Ballincollig barracks. He was there about three weeks when we heard from a prisoner to look out for him. We reported the matter to Leo Murphy, who said to arrest him.’ After he was captured near the Lee Cinema in Patrick Street in Cork, ‘we took the spy in a horse and trap to Kilumney and handed him over to Leo Murphy and others, and in a few weeks after, he was shot by Leo Murphy, Dick Murphy (1st Battalion), and others and was afterwards taken to Ballincollig barracks and was buried at Carr’s Hole, Douglas Road, Cork city. He never spoke a word while a prisoner.’ See WS 810 of Timothy Herlihy et al., 32-33 (BMH). Carr’s Hole had been the main cemetery in and around Cork city for victims of the Great Famine; it later served as a paupers’ graveyard. It is virtually certain that Daniel McCarthy was Catholic.

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,