Feature Articles

“Something of the Nature of a Massacre”: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited

26 Mar 2015
John Borgonovo, UCC School of History

An historical podcast from Dr John Borgonovo and Dr Andy Bielenberg, UCC School of History

Introduced by Donal Ó Drisceoil, UCC School of History, this podcast captures a talk given by Dr John Borgonovo to mark the publication of the research in the Irish studies journal Eire Ireland. This podcast of the Bandon Valley Massacre, a paper by Andy Bielenberg and John Borgonovo, was recorded by the UCC School of History from a Public lecture, December 2014.


Listen this podcast about the Bandon Valley Massacre


In this podcast, Borgonovo reviews the three dominant motive theories which have been used to explain the origins of the Bandon Valley Massacre and the Dunmanway killings. These include revenge for Senior IRA Commander Michael O’Neill, sectarianism, and a desire to eliminate of Informers; however he concludes it is likely that the perpetrators were motivated by a combination of factors.

The massacre occurred in an area of the Bandon Valley which had been heavily contested by both the IRA and the Crown Forces, at a time when Republicans anticipated a renewal of armed conflict, by a faction of Cork No. 3 Brigade acting without the sanction of IRA leadership.

“The events of April 1922 were unprecedented, exceptional and highly localised. They occurred in a small part of West Cork. Nothing like this was ever attempted again either in West Cork or in the South of Ireland. It was a singular and unprecedented event. The Bandon Valley killings therefore cannot be used to draw wider conclusions about sectarianism nationally, or even in County Cork as a whole,”  says Borgonovo.


The paper is available in full here: Bielenberg, Andy, John Borgonovo and James S. Donnelly. 2014. 'Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited'. Eire_ireland. 49 (3-4): 7-59.

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University College Cork, Cork,