Civilian Eileen (Lily) Gallagher


Civilian Eileen (Lily) Gallagher (aged 8) of West View, Western Road, Cork (Washington Street, Cork city)  

Date of incident: 18 Oct. 1922

Sources: CE, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25 Oct. 1922; FJ, 25 Oct. 1922; SS, 28 Oct. 1922; Keane (2017), 317, 418.


Note: Two bombs were thrown in Washington Street in Cork city shortly before 6 p.m. on 18 October 1922, mortally wounding the young girl Lily Gallagher (aged 8) and probably blinding another girl named Margaret Twomey (aged 11), who ‘was hit in the eye by a pellet which penetrated the ball of the eye’. Though Gallagher ‘was operated upon immediately’, some ‘brain matter was protruding’ from her skull, and she was not expected to live. The intended targets of the bombs were a Crossley tender and a small touring car carrying National Army troops, who were proceeding along Washington Street towards the County Gaol. Large numbers of people were present at the time, including these two girls, who were playing in the street. See CE, 19 Oct. 1922. There was a spate of such bomb attacks targeting Free State troops and gravely endangering civilians around this time. Lily Gallagher died at the Mercy Hospital on 23 October 1922. Medical personnel considered it ‘amazing’ that she survived for as long as she did after such a ‘terrible’ head wound. A court of military inquiry found that she had died ‘from laceration of the brain caused by a splinter of a bomb thrown by persons in armed opposition to the National forces, and that such persons were guilty of wilful murder’. See CE, 25 Oct. 1922.

A report published in the Cork Examiner on 30 October 1922 claimed that the ‘Irregulars’ activities in Cork city during the last eight or ten days have resulted in the deaths of four civilians (one a little child) and the wounding of five others (including two children)’.       

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