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Civilian Eric S. Wolfe


Civilian Eric S. Wolfe (aged about 31) of Ringnanean near Kinsale (Ringnanean)

Date of incident: 16 Dec. 1922 (probably killed as suspected spy by IRA)

Sources: CE, 18, 23 Dec. 1922; Evening Herald, 19 Dec. 1922; FJ, 20 Dec. 1922; Nenagh Guardian, 23 Dec. 1922; Application of William and Frances M. Wolfe to Irish Grants Committee, 22 Dec. 1926 (CO 762/72/10, TNA); Application of William Wolfe to IGC, undated (CO 762/147/1, TNA); Murphy (2010), 249, 251; Keane (2017), 340-41, 420.


Note: After driving home in a pony and trap from Kinsale, Eric Wolfe was accosted on 16 December 1922 by armed men in the long, shaded avenue leading up to his house at Ringnanean near Kinsale. These men ordered him out of the trap and riddled him with bullets. There were at least five wounds in his body, which was discovered about midnight by his brother when he later came down the same avenue. The Protestant Wolfe was ‘a well known figure at point-to-point meetings and at agricultural shows, particularly in the jumping enclosures’. See CE, 18 Dec. 1922. Wolfe had obviously offended the anti-Treaty IRA.

Wolfe’s funeral ‘took place on Tuesday [19 December] from the residence to the cemetery, Kinsale. The cortege was of large dimensions. The people from the town and district attended in large numbers and bore testimony to the popularity of the deceased young man and to the sympathy felt for the family on the loss they have sustained under such tragic circumstances. The Rev. H. H. Pearson, LL.D., officiated at the graveside.’ The Kinsale branch of the Farmers’ Union adopted a special resolution of sympathy with his family and passed a similar resolution directed to the relatives of the recently murdered Brigadier-General Seán Hales. See CE, 23 Dec. 1922.

Eric S. Wolfe was in 1911 one of the six living children (eight born) of the farmer William Wolfe and his wife Francis. Their three sons and three daughters (ranging in age from 12 to 21) co-resided with them on their farm at Ringnanean in Kilmonoge parish in the Kinsale district. Eric Wolfe (then aged 20) was their second son and the second eldest child in the family. The family farm must have been substantial, as the household also sheltered three male farm servants.    

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