Civilian Michael Nagle


Civilian Michael Nagle (aged 55) of Millfield House, Blackpool, Cork (near Cork Military Barracks, Cork city)

Date of incident: 16 Dec. 1922

Sources: CE, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Dec., 4 Jan., 22 Feb. 1923; Evening Herald, 19 Dec. 1922; SS, 23 Dec. 1922; FJ, 22 Feb. 1923; Keane (2017), 341, 412. 


Note: During an attack on Cork Military Barracks (formerly Victoria Barracks) and on the National Army post at Garvey’s Bridge on the night of 16 December 1922, Michael Nagle was wounded first in the left heel while lying in bed at home and then in the left leg (shattering the thighbone) after he rose from the bed to seek cover. The IRA attackers operated from the Fair Hill side of the barracks and used machine guns. In a last-ditch effort to save his life, surgeons amputated his gangrenous left leg above the knee on 19 December, but he died of his wounds at the Mercy Hospital later that day. Nagle was ‘a victualler well known in the trade, who transacted an extensive business at his Oliver Plunkett Street premises’. See CE, 20 Dec. 1922.

At the time of the 1901 census the victualler Michael Nagle (then aged 33) resided at 56 York Street in Cork city. His eldest sister Catherine (aged 36) kept house for the family, but every other member of the household—two brothers (John and James) and two sisters (Abina and Mary)—all of them unmarried at the time, worked in the family’s victualling business. 

Michael Nagle left a wife and six children, the eldest of whom was about 17 years old in December 1922. He was said to have been a member of  ‘an old Cork family closely identified for years with the victualling and cattle industries of the city. He enjoyed equal popularity with his esteemed brothers, Mr John Nagle and Mr James Nagle, and the other members of the family.’ See CE, 22 Dec. 1922.

Michael Nagle’s funeral ‘took place yesterday morning [21 December] from the Cathedral after Requiem Mass at 10 o’clock, for St Joseph’s Cemetery. The exceptionally distressing circumstances of his death stirred the deepest and widest sympathy. . . . A regular storm was raging at the time, [with] heavy rains being driven by strong winds, but despite the elements a large congregation assisted at the Mass, and the funeral procession was one of the largest seen in Cork for some time. The associations identified with the cattle trade and industry were strongly represented, testifying their respect to a valued an honoured member, and the large numbers of the general public present reflected the popularity of the deceased with all classes, a popularity won by his gentleness, kindness, and large-heartedness.’ See CE, 22 Dec. 1922.    

It was much disputed as to whose bullets had struck Nagle. A court of military inquiry, after extended deliberations, eventually found that Nagle had died ‘from shock and haemorrhage caused by a bullet wound fired by National forces in repelling an attack on their post. The court exonerate[s] the officers on the double turret [in Cork Military Barracks] from all blame and recommends them for their action on the occasion. . . . The court is also of opinion that no shots were fired from Mr Nagle’s house on that night. The court . . . regrets that the life of such a well-known citizen should be lost through the action of those who, using his house as a screen, attacked the National forces.’ See CE, 22 Feb. 1923.

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