Civilian Jerome O’Reilly


Civilian Jerome O’Reilly of Darrary near Clonakilty (Darrary)

Date of incident: 25 or 26 Jan. 1923

Sources: CE, 29 Jan., 5, 6 Feb. 1923; SS, 3 Feb. 1923; Fermanagh Herald, 3 Feb. 1923; CW/OPS/04/04 and CW/OPS/04/08 (Military Archives).


Note: A postman from Clonakilty entering the sub-post office at Darrary, about four miles from the former place, discovered Jerome O’Reilly’s dead body. The body showed the marks of several bullet wounds. The dead young man ‘was much respected in the district’, and his elderly mother was the only other person in the house. This killing might have resulted from an attempted robbery, but the IRA had been conducting a campaign against postmen and post offices throughout much of the city and county of Cork. See CE, 29 Jan. 1923.

Thus, when active Irregular John Desmond of Coolcower was arrested in the Kilmurry district on 3 February 1922, he was charged ‘with holding up the postman from Macroom to Toames, burning mails, helping to break [the] post office box at Kilmurry, and threatening [the] postmaster’. See CE, 6 Feb. 1923. A postman at Ring near Clonakilty had been murdered some time earlier, and when Eugene Barry was arrested on 4 February 1923 as ‘a very much wanted man’, it was claimed that he had been implicated in the robbery of Reenascreena Post Office and in the murder of the postman at Ring. See CE, 5 Feb. 1923.

An operations report of the National Army for 7 October 1923 mentioned that Patrick (Spud) Murphy of Clonakilty, a prominent member of the anti-Treaty IRA, was suspected of having been involved in the episode in which postmaster Jerome O’Reilly of Lackenduff (Ring) had been killed. See CW/OPS/04/08 and CW/OPS/04/04 (Military Archives).

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,