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Volunteer Cornelius (Con) McCarthy Jr

Volunteer Cornelius (Con) McCarthy Jr (aged about 29) of Killaneetig near Ballinadee (Crushnalanive Cross)

Date of incident: 16 Feb. 1921

Sources: CE, 18 Feb., 22 March 1921; CCE, 19 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/154/1 (TNA); Mary Walsh’s WS 556, 5-6 (BMH); WS 560 of James O’Mahony et al., 18 (BMH); Denis Collins’s WS 827, 27-29 (BMH); Richard Russell’s WS 1591, 18 (BMH); Michael J. Crowley’s WS 1603, 14 (BMH); Charles O’Donoghue’s WS 1607, 9 (BMH); Deasy (1973), 220-24; MSPC/1D258 (Military Archives); Rebel Cork’s FS, 207; Last Post (1976), 80; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 143; Sheehan (2011), 137; Kilbrittain Republican Monument.


Note: McCarthy was cornered and killed along with three other Volunteers by a night patrol of the Essex Regiment on 16 February 1921 at Crois na Leanbh (Crushnalanive). An early report about the deaths of these Volunteers claimed that ‘their faces were disfigured beyond recognition’. The official British military report insisted that the four dead ‘civilians’ had each been ‘in possession of service rifles, 200 rounds of ammunition, and some bombs’. See CCE, 19 Feb. 1921. Volunteer McCarthy was a member of the Kilbrittain Company of the Bandon Battalion of the Cork No. 3 Brigade.

In 1901 he appeared in the census as the eldest son (then aged 9) of the Killaneetig (Ballinadee) farmer Cornelius McCarthy Sr and his wife Catherine, who in that year had four sons and one daughter co-residing with them and ranging in age from 2 to 9. Volunteer Con McCarthy was buried in the Republican Plot in Kilbrittain Churchyard. 

His sister Catherine (Kate) McCarthy later made an unsuccessful pension claim in late 1923 or early 1924 in relation to the killing of her brother Con, whose civilian occupation was that of a harness maker. She noted in her claim that her brother Con and three other named Volunteers had been killed at Crushnalanive Cross while trenching a road in preparation for an ambush of British forces. Kate McCarthy vainly sought compensation of £1,000 in consideration of her brother’s IRA service and her substantial economic dependence on his income. His address at the time of his death was reportedly on the New Road in Bandon. See MSPC/1D258 (Military Archives). 

The Irish Revolution Project

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University College Cork, Cork,