Civilian and Ex-RIC Constable Michael Williams

Civilian and Ex-RIC Constable Michael Williams (aged about 38) of Cork city and Garrans near Stradbally, Co. Laois (Knockraha near Cork city)

Date of incident: 20 June 1922 (executed by IRA)

Sources: File on Michael Williams in Department of Justice/2007/56/11, NAI); Murphy (2010), Appendix 2; Keane (2017), 287-88, 415.


Note: Michael Williams had served as a head constable of the RIC in Cork city until the force was disbanded. (Disbandment of the RIC took place mostly in April and May 1922.) Williams then returned to his home at Garrans near Stradbally in County Laois. Anti-Treaty IRA members kidnapped him there on 15 June 1922 and brought him back to Cork city, where he was court-martialled for alleged complicity in the murder of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain in March 1920. Williams was found guilty (wrongly, it seems) and executed. The execution and the burial were carried out on a farm at Glounthuane belonging to local IRA leader Martin Corry. See File on Michael Williams in Department of Justice/2007/56/11, NAI). The Riverstown/Glounthuane-area Volunteer Charles Cullinane was later to claim in his pension application that he had participated in the guarding and execution of Head Constable Williams while he was attached to the Knockraha Company of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. See MSPC34/REF59839 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 287-88, 415.

Michael Williams was in 1911 one of the eight children of the Catholic farmer George Williams and his wife A. Maria Williams, who resided at house 8 in Garrans townland in Curraclone parish near Stradbally in Queen’s County/Laois. Of these eight children, two daughters and three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 27, lived with their parents in that year. Michael Williams had left the family farm and presumably joined the RIC by that time. After he returned to Garrans following the Truce of 11 July 1921, he was pursued by the IRA, kidnapped, brought back to Cork city, and finally executed by the IRA. At the time of the 1901 census Michael Williams still resided with his parents and with his four younger brothers and three younger sisters. Michael Williams was then 17 years old and the eldest of all the children.    

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,