Civilian Daniel (Cornelius) O’Riordan or Riordan

Civilian Daniel (Cornelius) O’Riordan or Riordan (aged 30) of Clondrohid (Carrigaphooka Bridge near Macroom)

Date of incident: 5 June 1921

Sources: Death Certificate, 5 June 1921; CE, 8, 9 June 1921; FJ, 8, 9 June 1921; II, 8 June 1921; CC, 10 June 1921; SS, 11 June 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/158/33 (TNA); Timothy Buckley’s WS 1641, 19 (BMH); Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 145-46, 274, 358.


Note: A party of Cameron Highlanders proceeding westwards from Macroom encountered O’Riordan, who was shot dead when he ignored several orders to halt near Carrigaphooka Bridge in a remote country district. The Highlanders were undertaking an operation designed to make the river passable for three-ton lorries. A British report at the time indicated that Riordan was a Volunteer officer in the Seventh Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade and that he had been on the run. See Military Inquests, WO 35/158/33 (TNA).

Other and more convincing evidence indicates that O’Riordan was a civilian. In his memoirs former Volunteer Jamie Moynihan offered the following account of O’Riordan’s killing: ‘Two months previously, Carrigaphooca Bridge had been partly destroyed by the IRA, and a platoon of the Cameron Highlanders had been sent out from Macroom to repair the damage. As the soldiers worked, they noticed a man observing them from the nearby rocks. The soldiers shouted at him to come forward to be searched, but the man didn’t move. When the officer in charge threatened to shoot him, Dan started to walk away and was fired on, but the shot went wide. The second volley hit him and he started to run. The third volley killed him. Dan O’Riordan was a quiet, harmless, innocent man, curious to find out what the soldiers had been up to at the bridge, never realising the fearful danger that confronted him. Two days later, the mobile column that had killed Dan O’Riordan left Macroom, and the British authorities in the castle stated that prevailing circumstances did not permit the holding of an enquiry into Dan’s death.’ See Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 145-46.

His death certificate gives his forename as Cornelius and his age as 30 and describes him as the son of a labourer. A report on Riordan’s death in the Irish Independent of 8 June 1921, though brief, was to the point: ‘Crown forces, it is alleged, were moving through the district at the time. Deceased was mentally deficient.’ Another report a few days later in the Southern Star confirmed the central point of this account in a roundabout but informative way: ‘On Sunday [5 June 1921] the troops moved out of Macroom, and it would be difficult to describe the feeling of relief with which the people observed their departure. Women at the doorways confided to each other their sense of safety and offered up their fervent thanks. On the following day news reached town that a poor, simple-minded young man named Riordan was shot at Carrigaphooca [sic], while an old man named Kelleher [see next entry] was wounded near Ballyvourney.’ See SS, 11 June 1921. 

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