National Army Soldier Stephen Donovan
National Army Soldier Stephen Donovan (aged 21) of Kilbarry East near Dunmanway (Inchigeela village)
Date of incident: 28 Sept. 1922
Sources: Death Certificate (Inchigeela District, Union of Macroom), 29 Sept. 1922; CE, 3, 4, 10 Oct. 1922; FJ, 6 Oct. 1922; SS, 14 Oct. 1922; MSPC/2D163 (Military Archives); Personal Injuries 188, Army Finance Office, IE-MA-21 (Military Archives); O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 210; Keane (2017), 310, 418; Langton (2019), 102.
Note: At the end of September and the beginning of October 1922, National Army soldiers made a concerted effort to drive anti-Treaty forces from their last remaining strongholds in north-west Cork around Inchigeela, Ballingeary, and Ballyvourney. ‘Following up their successes of a few days ago, which culminated in the capture of Inchigeela,’ reported the Cork Examiner on 3 October 1922, the Free State forces ‘fought their way for nearly eight hours to Ballingeary and occupied that place, which hitherto was an important Irregular stronghold’. The Irregulars put up stout resistance at Ballingeary in particular. They brought into the action there ‘no less than six Thompson guns and four Lewis guns’ along with an armored car, and they knew the hilly terrain much better than their opponents, but still they were routed, reportedly with ‘heavy losses’. See CE, 3 Oct. 1922. During this campaign National Army soldier Stephen Donovan of Kilbarry near Dunmanway was reportedly killed on Friday, 29 September, by a sniper’s bullet ‘while on duty near the parochial residence’ in the village of Inchigeela. See CE, 4 Oct. 1922. This Cork Examiner report is inaccurate as to the exact death date.
Donovan’s death certificate indicates that he died on 28 September as a result of wounds received from machine-gun fire near Inchigeela. See Death Certificate (Inchigeela District, Union of Macroom), 29 Sept. 1922.
His funeral took place with military honors at St. Patrick’s Church in Dunmanway on Sunday, 8 October 1922; his remains were accompanied to the gravesite in the adjoining church cemetery by his relatives and a military honour guard from the Second Battalion Flying Column (E Company, Dublin Brigade) of the Second Eastern Division. Floral wreaths were sent by his comrades of A Company of the Cork Brigade of the National Army; by the officers and men of the Third Battalion of the Third Cork Brigade; and by the officers and men of the Second Battalion Flying Column of the Dublin Brigade. See CE, 10 Oct. 1922.
The victim’s mother Mrs C. Mahony of Dunmanway (who had remarried upon the death of Stephen Donovan’s father) later made a claim for compensation for her son’s death. See Personal Injuries 188, Army Finance Office, IE-MA-21 (Military Archives).