Anti-Treaty Soldier (Section Commander) Timothy (Tadhg) O’Leary


Anti-Treaty Soldier (Section Commander) Timothy (Tadhg) O’Leary (about 26) of South Square, Macroom (Ballineen)

Date of incident: 4 Nov. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Ballineen District, Union of Dunmanway), 4 Nov. 1922; CE, 6, 7, 10, 11 Nov. 1922, 3 Nov. 1923; II, 7 Nov. 1922; Belfast Newsletter, 7 Nov. 1922; SS, 11 Nov. 1922; Meath Chronicle, 11 Nov. 122; Anglo-Celt, 11 Nov. 1922; MSPC/DP2722 (Military Archives); CW/OPS/04/13 (Military Archives); Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story, 208; Cork One Brigade (1963), Roll of Honour; Last Post (1976 ed.), 99; Keane (2017), 320-21, 419.


Note: Section Commander Timothy (Tadhg) O’Leary was mortally wounded while fighting with the anti-Treaty IRA at Ballineen during a major engagement lasting about five hours on Saturday, 4 November 1922, and involving two parties of Free State troops, one with two officers and thirty-eight men based at Ballineen and the other with one officer and twenty-five men at Enniskeane. They came under attack from a substantial and determined body of Irregulars, estimated to number ‘two hundred at the least’. There were significant casualties on both sides. See CE, 6, 7 Nov. 1922. Tadhg O’Leary was interred at Inchigeela. He was the eldest son of John O’Leary of the South Square in Macroom. See CE, 6 Nov. 1922. Tadhg O’Leary’s death certificate indicated that he had died of bullet wounds and from shock and haemorrhage two hours after having been shot at Ballineen. See Death Certificate (Ballineen District, Union of Dunmanway), 4 Nov. 1922.

O’Leary’s pension file indicates that he was born in 1897 and worked as a harness maker (his father’s occupation) in Macroom in civilian life. He had joined the Volunteers in 1916 and had served with the IRA through the War of Independence, the Truce period, and part of the Civil War. He belonged to A Company and held the rank of section commander in the Seventh (Macroom) Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade under the leadership of Daniel Corkery and Charlie Browne. Timothy O’Leary’s brother Anthony was awarded a partial-dependant’s allowance or gratuity of £50 in 1937 under the Army Pensions Acts. See MSPC/DP2722 (Military Archives). Tadhg O’Leary is commemorated on the republican memorial in Macroom, where it is recorded that he was killed at Ballineen on 4 November 1922; he also appears on the West Cork Roll of Honour along with another anti-Treaty fatality, John Howell of Clonakilty, who was killed on the same day at Enniskeane. See Cork One Brigade (1963), Roll of Honour. See also next entry.

Timothy O’Leary was in 1911 one of the six living children of the Macroom saddler John O’Leary and his wife Anne. Living with them were four sons and two daughters. The household also sheltered two male assistants, three boarders, and two female servants. The six children ranged in age from 2 to 15. Timothy O’Leary (then aged 15) was the eldest child. The household address was 3 South Square

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