National Army Soldier Daniel Sullivan


National Army Soldier Daniel Sullivan (aged about 19) of Burgatia near Rosscarbery (Curragh Hill near Clonakilty)

Date of incident: 22 Oct. 1922

Source: Death Certificate (Clonakilty District, Union of Clonakilty), 22 Oct. 1922; CE, 24, 26 Oct. 1922; II, 24 Oct. 1922; SS, 24 Oct. 1922; MSPC/2D153 (Military Archives); CW/OPS/04/04 and CW/OPS/04/08 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 315-16, 418. 


Note: A party of National Army troops traveling in motorcars from Clonakilty towards Rosscarbery were ambushed on 22 October 1922 at Curragh Hill near Clonakilty, where the road was blocked. When they stopped to clear the obstruction, Irregulars opened fire on them ‘from inside the fields at both sides’ of the road. Private Daniel Sullivan of Burgatia near Rosscarbery was seriously wounded and died shortly afterwards at Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty, to which he had been brought for medical and spiritual attention. See CE, 24 Oct. 1922. His death certificate, however, indicated that he had been shot in the head and died instantly. See Death Certificate (Clonakilty District, Union of Clonakilty), 22 Oct. 1922. According to a later report, Sullivan had been killed while acting as part of a military escort carrying despatches from the National Army headquarters in Clonakilty to the Rosscarbery outpost. See MSPC/2D153 (Military Archives).

An operations report of the National Army for 7 October 1923 mentioned that Patrick (Spud) Murphy of Clonakilty, a prominent member of the anti-Treaty IRA, was suspected of having been involved in the ambush at Curragh Hill in which ‘Volunteer’ or National Army Soldier Daniel Sullivan had been killed. The report also indicated that Murphy was also suspected of having participated in another episode in which Jerome O’Reilly, the postmaster of Lackenduff (Ring) had been slain. See CW/OPS/04/08 and CW/OPS/04/04 (Military Archives). 

Daniel Sullivan was in 1911 one of the four children of the Burgatia (Rosscarbery) farmer Thomas Sullivan and his wife Hannah. Their four sons co-resided with them in that year. The sons then ranged in age from 3 to 8. Daniel (then 8) was the eldest child.

Private Sullivan was a member of the Third Cork Brigade of the National Army. He had served with the IRA and been wounded while fighting against British forces before the Truce of July 1921. He had been a flax scutcher at a local mill in civilian life, with wages of £4 a week. His mother Hannah Sullivan was awarded a gratuity of £40 in July 1924, which was later increased to £60 on appeal. The victim’s father Thomas Sullivan was declared too old to work in the Civic Guard report issued prior to the initial award by the Army Pensions Board. He and his wife had a small farm of about 10 acres at Burgatia and worked it with the help of their three surviving sons, one of whom was employed as a labourer on a neighbouring farm. See MSPC/2D153.

Letters in this pension file emphatically demonstrate that close relatives, neighbours, and friends of the victim generally considered awards of £40 or even £60 to be trifling, especially in contrast to the many instances of much higher compensation paid before the Civil War on account of those who had been wounded or killed during the War of Independence. Such negative feelings or attitudes were extremely widespread across the country in similar circumstances. See MSPC/2D153.

The Irish Revolution Project

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