Civilian Michael Walsh


Civilian Michael Walsh (aged about 53) of Ballyshonock (at Ballyshonock near Kildorrery)

Date of incident: 16 Sept. 1923

Sources: Death Certificate (Kildorrery District, Union of Fermoy), 16 Sept. 1923; CE, 18, 19 Sept. 1923; II, 18 Sept. 1923; Belfast Newsletter, 18 Sept. 1923; Nenagh Guardian, 22 Sept. 1923; SS, 22 Sept. 1923.


Note: Farmer Michael J. Walsh was murdered at Ballyshonock in Farahy parish near Kildorrery on 16 September 1923 as he was returning at about 2 p.m. from Sunday Mass. A rifle was used in the attack, and the victim survived for only a few minutes. The violence was deemed to have resulted from an agrarian dispute over possession of a farm. See SS, 22 Sept. 1923.

At the inquest into the circumstances of the shooting dead of Michael J. Walsh held by Coroner Richard Rice at Thornhill’s Hotel in Kildorrery on Tuesday, 18 September 1923, certain facts emerged from the testimony of different witnesses. A neighbour named Michael Linnane gave the victim a lift home from Sunday Mass on 16 September 1923 in his pony-and-trap. As he dropped Walsh off at his gate and as  Walsh had gone about 8 yards towards his house, Linnane ‘heard a shot and a scream. He saw two men with guns in their hands running.’ The assailants were ‘running along inside the fence bounding the wall. They had guns in their hands and wore raincoats and caps.’ Linnane testified that ‘he had been called out of his bed about a fortnight ago and warned to take his daughter [Miss Mary Linnane] from [the] deceased’s employment and to keep away himself. He was aware that [the] deceased had suffered annoyance over the Tankardstown holding’. Mary Linnane confirmed her father’s testimony as to how the murder had been carried out between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m. at her employer’s house. She had seen Michael Walsh ‘lying on his face and hands in the trap. He was not then dead but died a few minutes afterwards.’ Dr David Barry, M.D., Kilworth, told the inquest jury that the victim had three gunshot wounds in the back: ‘The first entered about six inches from the spine, penetrating the liver, etc. The second entered over the right kidney, penetrating the kidney and bowels, and the third entrance wound was below the second.’ The jury determined that Michael Walsh had ‘died of shock and haemorrhage following gunshot wounds inflicted by some person or persons unknown, and that such person or persons were guilty of wilful murder’. See CE, 19 Sept. 1923. 

In another account Michael J. Walsh was described as ‘a respectable farmer’ killed by rifle fire, and it was stated that ‘the outrage is agrarian. The tragedy has thrown a gloom over the entire neigbourhood. There was some dispute over a farm [at Tankardstown] which Mr Walsh acquired many years ago, but it was not a case of an evicted farm.’ See CE, 18 Sept. 1923. Sergeant Higgins of the Civic Guard in Mitchelstown had begun to pursue criminal inquiries. See Nenagh Guardian, 22 Sept. 1923.        

Michael Walsh was in 1911 one of the four living children (nine born) of widower and farmer James Walsh of Ballyshonock in Farahy parish near Kildorrery. In that year three of the father’s four adult children co-resided with him (he was then 78 years old) and helped to manage the family farm, which also required the assistance of a live-in farm servant named Bob Cronin. Michael Walsh (then aged 40) also had two younger sisters named Kate (aged 25) and Johanna (aged 21). All three co-resident children were then unmarried.

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