National Army Soldier Thomas Mahony or O’Mahony
National Army Soldier Thomas Mahony or O’Mahony (aged 19) of Clonmult near Midleton (Annagloor near Millstreet)
Date of incident: 22 Oct. 1922
Sources: CE, 24, 25, 31 Oct. 1922; II, 24 Oct. 1922; FJ, 1 Nov. 1922; MSPC/2D377 (Military Archives); O’Farrell, Who’s Who, 207; Keane (2017), 316-17, 418.
Note: A party of Free State troops under Brigadier-Commandant Ahern arrested two suspected Irregulars at Rathduane in the Millstreet district after Mass on Sunday, 22 October 1922. As these troops were returning to Millstreet, they were ambushed at Annagloor (within a mile of the town) by Irregulars, who opened fire from both sides of the road. Private Thomas Mahony received a serious wound in the stomach and died at Blarney while being rushed in a military ambulance to the Mercy Hospital in Cork city. See CE, 24 Oct. 1922; Death Certificate, [for] 22 Oct. 1922 (not registered until 22 April 1954), with a copy appearing in MSPC/2D377 (Military Archives).
The Cork Examiner provided the following account of O’Mahony’s career at the time of his funeral and subsequent burial in Midleton: ‘The dead soldier, who during the reign of terror [before the Truce of July 1921] was prominent with the East Cork Flying Column, won for himself, by his many daring exploits, the greatest regard by all who sought for the freedom of Ireland, and whilst the East Cork men were temporarily billeted in Clonmult—the scene of the famous engagement, where, unfortunately, only too many lives were lost—Thomas O’Mahony served in the column in a manner which the survivors of the fatal battle are always ready to praise, and speak of the dead soldier only in terms appropriate to a gallant and brave man. Following the Truce and the Treaty, Thomas O’Mahony was one of the first volunteers who took up quarters in Dublin under the regime of the National Army. Under the command of one of his own Clonmult men in the Curragh [Camp], he was engaged in the successful campaign of that army throughout the country, and finally the dead soldier found his quarters in Millstreet, where he—too unfortunately—only met his sad and tragic fate. A poignant incident of his death is the fact that after his burial, letters were received by his brother and parents acquainting them of his intention of coming home on leave. The letters, owing to postal dislocation, were many days delayed, and consequently received many days after posting at their destination. Requiem Mass was celebrated on Wednesday morning [25 October] in the Church of the Holy Rosary [in Midleton] for the repose of his soul, and at 3 o’clock the coffin, draped in the tri-colour, was borne by some of the men of his own battalion to the Republican Plot, where the remains were interred.’ See CE, 31 Oct. 1922.
Thomas Mahony was in 1911 one of the five living children (eleven born) of the general labourer John Mahony and his wife Mary. Four of these five children (two daughters and two sons) were then co-resident with their parents at house 11 in Killeagh. The younger of the two sons living at home was Thomas (then aged 8). Both the 1911 census and National Army records spell the surname of this family as Mahony, but other sources render the surname as O’Mahony.
Private Mahony was a member of the Fourth Battalion of the First Cork Brigade in the National Army. During the War of Independence he had been active in the IRA, serving as a member of the Fourth (Midleton) Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade from April 1920 until the Truce of 11 July 1921. In civilian life he had been a farm labourer. His mother Mary Mahony was awarded a gratuity of £100 in consideration of his death. She was deemed in a Civic Guard report of 6 June 1924 to have been totally dependant on her deceased son’s income as a farm labourer and latterly as a National soldier. Her husband John Mahony had been employed for many years as an agricultural labourer by John Sweetnam of Clonmult House but was no longer able to work for medical reasons. The senior Mahonys lived in a lodge on Sweetnam’s farm at Clonmult at the time of the award. See MSPC/2D377 (Military Archives).