Civilian John or Seán Jeremiah Kelleher

Civilian John or Seán Jeremiah Kelleher (aged 65) of Shanacloon near Ballyvourney  (Shanacloon)

Date of incident: 5 June 1921

Sources: Military Inquests, WO 35/152/59 (TNA); Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15); Irish Bulletin 5:14 (June 1921); Ó Suílleabhaín (1965), 128-38, esp. 61, 131; Ó hÉealaithe (2014), 213, 275, 358.


Note: During a military roundup near Ballyvourney on the Cork-Kerry border British troops mistakenly killed the father of a local Volunteer. Ó Suílleabhaín recalled the tragic event many years later in Where Mountainy Men Have Sown: About a hundred yards from the bridge over the Sullane stood the cottage of Seán Jer, ‘the father of one of our best Volunteers’. He had a number of sons, none of whom were at home. A visitor to the village standing near the cottage ran away at the approach of the troops, and they opened fire on him. Though he escaped, ‘Seán Jer, coming out to drive his cow to safety, was himself mortally wounded’. See Ó Suílleabhaín (1965), 131.

The former Volunteer Jamie Moynihan recalled this death and also stressed the recklessness of British soldiers in firing at a local man named Murty Tim Twomey, who was out walking his dog but became afraid at the sight of the troops and ran into a grove of trees, where shots were directed at him. When Seán [Jeremiah Kelleher], who lived nearby in a roadside cottage, ‘heard the gunfire close by, he ran out to protect his little cow, which was grazing the roadside, but he was hit by a bullet and died a few days later.’ See Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 213. Kelleher died at the Mercy Hospital in Cork city on 9 June 1921. See Military Inquests, WO 35/152/59 (TNA).

In 1911 John or Seán Jeremiah Kelleher (then aged 52) was the father of five living children (seven born); he and his wife Margaret had two sons and two daughters who were then co-resident with them at Shanacloon, where Seán Jeremiah and his sons Jeremiah and Cornelius worked as agricultural labourers.   

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