IRA Soldier Sean Bulman

IRA Soldier Sean Bulman of 8 Step Lane, off Shandon Street, Cork (North Abbey Barracks, Cork city)

Date of incident: 27 April 1922

Sources: CE, 28, 29 April, 1 May 1922, 26 April 1924; MSPC/2RBSD514 (Military Archives); Cork One Brigade (1963), Roll of Honour; List of IRA Interments (Boole Library, UCC); Last Post (3rd ed.), 145; Keane (2017), 287, 415.

Note: Cork city IRA member Sean Bulman was killed on 27 April 1922 by the accidental discharge of his own revolver while on duty at the North Abbey Barracks (also called Shandon Barracks) in Cork. The victim had been removing or fixing a bed; a portion of the bed came into contact with the revolver that he was wearing, causing the revolver to discharge a fatal bullet. Bulman’s action was not considered negligent; he ‘was a careful & well conducted soldier’ in the judgement of IRA Section Commander Sean McCarthy. See MSPC/2RBSD514 (Military Archives). Bulman was a member of D Company of the First Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. He was one of the three sons of John and Julia Bulman of 8 Step Lane, off Shandon Street, Cork. See CE, 28 April 1922. Bulman was buried in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork city. See List of IRA Interments (Boole Library, UCC). He had played for the St David’s Hurling Club in Cork, and soon after he died, his club passed a vote of condolence to his parents ‘on their sad bereavement’. See CE, 29 April 1922.

Cork Examiner correspondent covered his funeral and reported that Bulman ‘was a young man who was held in the highest esteem and regard by his [IRA] comrades, by whom his untimely end is deeply deplored. The funeral, which left the Cathedral at three o’clock [on Saturday, 29 April 1922], bore ample testimony to the general regret that was felt at his death. There was a large attendance of the I.R.A. and the public, and as the funeral proceeded on its way to the cemetery, it attracted considerable sympathetic attention from the people who had gathered along the line of [the] route to the graveyard. The coffin, which was covered with the Tricolour, was borne on the shoulders of his late comrades [of D Company of the 1st Battalion]. There followed the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 1st Brigade, who were preceded by a firing party.’ The chief mourners included, besides his parents John and Julia Bulman, three sisters (Annie, Kate, and Bridget Bulman) and two brothers (Thomas and Daniel Bulman). See CE, 1 May 1922. This correspondent consistently spelled the surname of all direct family members as Bullman.     

Sean Bulman joined the Volunteers in 1919 and served with the IRA during the War of Independence and the Truce period. At the time of his death he was a member of the anti-Treaty IRA garrison at North Abbey Barracks. His mother Julia Bulman received a partial-dependant’s gratuity of £85 in 1933 and a dependant’s allowance between 1942 and 1944 under the Army Pensions Acts. See MSPC/2RBSD514 (Military Archives).

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