Civilian Mary (or Mollie) Egan
Civilian Mary (or Mollie) Egan (aged 24) of Newtownshandrum near Charleville (Newtownshandrum)
Date of incident: 13 Nov. 1922
Sources: Death Certificate (Milford District, Union of Kanturk), 13 Nov. 1922; CE, 15, 16, 21 Nov. 1922; Belfast Newsletter, 15 Nov. 1922; Meath Chronicle, 18 Nov. 1922; Nenagh News, 18 Nov. 1922; Nenagh Guardian, 18 Nov. 1922; SS, 25 Nov. 1922; Keane (2017), 324-25, 419.
Note: A party of Free State troops traveled on the night of 13 November 1922 from Charleville to Newtownshandrum, a village about 3 miles away, where a number of Irregulars were reportedly concentrating. Upon their arrival these troops sighted several men in a pony and trap driven by the young lady Mollie Egan. The men in the trap were ‘repeatedly’ ordered to halt, but instead one of them opened fire on the National Army soldiers, who replied with rifles and a machine gun. In this exchange of fire Egan was shot and badly wounded. She died very soon afterward. See CE, 15 Nov. 1922. She was a native of the village, where her father was a tailor; she had been in service with Denis Keane of Shanana. Her funeral took place on 15 November at Ballinakill near Newtownshandrum: ‘Solemn and impressive scenes were witnessed at the obsequies, a large number of people being present from the locality and adjoining districts.’ See CE, 16 Nov. 1922.
At the subsequent coroner’s inquest held at Madden’s Imperial Hotel in Charleville, her father made clear that his dead daughter had not been ‘mixed up with any parties or politics of any kind’. The young woman was carrying ‘messages’ (they were found on her body), which seemed to indicate that she had been doing some shopping. It was a dark night, and it was hard to see. But the National Army Soldiers who testified at the inquest indicated that there had been ‘about three men’ in the car or cart, that they had refused to halt even though ordered to do so three or four times, and that when a shot was fired at the cart, someone in the car had let loose eight or nine rounds at them, prompting them to return the fire. After the firing ceased, Egan’s body was found ‘lying across the car dead’. It was thought that she had probably accepted the offer of a lift on the car. A doctor testified that he had found ‘a bullet wound in the back of the neck, which caused a fracture of the spine’. See CE, 21 Nov. 1922. The men in the car escaped.
Mary Egan was in 1911 one of the three living children (five born) of the master tailor and widower John Egan of house 13 in Newtown village near Charleville. In that year only his two unmarried sons were co-resident with him. But in 1901 Mary Egan (then aged 3) and her brother Peter (aged 1) were the co-resident children, and their mother Mary (then aged 26) was still alive and living with her husband John Egan at house 15 in Newtown village.