Anti-Treaty Soldier Michael Twohig Jr


Anti-Treaty Soldier Michael Twohig Jr (aged 21) of Knockagallane near Millstreet (Shanaknock near Millstreet)

Date of incident: 5 Nov. 1922

Sources: Death Certificate (Drishane, District of Millstreet, Union of Millstreet), 5 Nov. 1922; II, 9 Nov. 1922; SS, 11 Nov. 1922; MSPC/DP5828 (Military Archives); IRA Memorial, Main Street, Millstreet.


Note: A member of the First Battalion of the Cork No. 4 Brigade, Michael Twohig Jr was killed at Shanaknock in Drishane parish near Millstreet on 5 November 1922. According to his death certificate, he died of shock and haemorrhage owing to bullet wounds in the back and the intestines and lived for less than two hours after being so badly wounded. He was a resident of Knocknagullane. See Death Certificate (Drishane, District of Millstreet, Union of Millstreet), 5 Nov. 1922. He was a member of the First (Millstreet) Battalion of the Cork No. 4 Brigade. His death is commemorated on the IRA memorial on Main Street in Millstreet.

The Irish Independent of 9 November 1922 reported that ‘a large party [of Irregulars] believed to be under the command of Mr [Sean] Moylan, T.D., were dispersed with heavy losses between Macroom and Millstreet’. This was probably the incident in which Twohig was killed. A more detailed account appeared in the Southern Star of 11 November: ‘In a two hours’ battle at Carriganima [Carriganimmy], between Macroom and Millstreet, and about seven miles from the former town, the National troops were completely successful and drove off the irregulars with heavy losses, themselves suffering but one casualty—an officer wounded.’ Alerted by the blockage of the road between the two towns, National Army officers had arranged for convoys of troops from both Macroom and Millstreet to converge on the suspected ambush site. Still, there was an intense engagement: ‘Being well equipped and in large numbers, the irregulars made a determined resistance, but from the very first . . . , they got the worst of the encounter. Eventually, they were dislodged from their position and forced to retreat across the country, [with] the successful National troops pursuing them for a considerable distance. Casualties on the side of the irregulars are difficult to estimate, as they carried with them all who had been hit during the fight, but it is definitely known that they suffered heavy losses.’ See SS, 11 Nov. 1922.   

Michael Twohig Jr was in 1911 one of the ten living children (twelve born) of the labourer Michael Twohig Sr (then aged 73) and his wife Mary (aged 49). Only four of these ten children (three sons and one daughter) still co-resided in that year with their parents at house 4 in Knockagallane townland (Caherbarnagh parish) near Millstreet. Michael Twohig Jr (then aged 10) was the youngest son living at home and almost certainly the youngest of all the children.

The pension file of Michael Twohig Jr indicates that in civilian life he was a farm labourer. He joined the Volunteers in 1918 and served with the Millstreet Battalion of the IRA through the War of Independence, the Truce period, and part of the Civil War. Material in his file indicates that he and others in an IRA scouting party (or ‘advance guard’) for the Active Service Unit of the Millstreet Battalion of the Cork No. 4 Brigade were on their way to a mobilisation point when National Army soldiers, lying in ambush, surprised them and fired on them at Shanaknock in Drishane parish on 5 November 1922. Young Twohig died there. His father Michael Twohig Sr was awarded a partial-dependant’s gratuity of £50 in 1936 under the Army Pensions Acts. See MSPC/DP5828 (Military Archives). There may be a mistake in the age of 73 given for Michael Twohig Sr in the 1911 census. For he would have been about 98 years old in 1936 when he received the gratuity of £50 for his son’s death. He admitted to ‘old age’ in his application, but it seems likely that either he or the Civic Guard (who reported on his circumstances) would have called attention to an age of 98 if he had reached it—or that vicinity!        

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