County Clare and 1916
8:00 p.m. Friday 6 May 2016
Cooraclare Community Centre
by Paddy Waldron
You can listen to the audio version of this talk on Mixcloud while you read these notes and follow the links.
Con Colbert's family in 1911 and 1916
- Norah Colbert née McDermott died in childbirth on 17 September
1892, leaving her husband Michael Colbert to raise 13 children aged
- Family tree by Con's great-great-niece Cathy Dempsey Baumgartner
- Family tree by myself
- Con born in Moanleana
- Family returned to Gale View House c.1890 after grandfather Colbert died in 1886
- Dan Irving and Brigid Troy were appointed principals of the boys'
and girls' schools respectively in Cooraclare when the schools were
separated on 1 Jan 1895 after the death of Con Colbert's maternal
grandfather Conor McDermott on 24 Sep 1894. Daniel had married
McDermott's daughter on 27 Dec 1894, and Brigid married fellow teacher
Joseph Kelly on 16 Feb 1896
- Con and siblings in 1901:
- Con moved to Dublin c.1903 to finish school and live with his sisters
- Con and siblings in 1911:
- Michael (Irish Oaks 1911, Galway Plate 1919, obituary) and Daniel (Irish Grand National, Easter Monday 1920, 1921, obituary) were leading jockeys - See The Irish Field, Saturday 7 May 2016 (I hope!)
- The jockey brothers married McDonnell sisters from Callahy near Tuamgraney
- James and their first cousin Michael were Fianna Fáil T.D.s for Limerick (Families in the Oireachtas)
- Con's father's siblings, children of William Colbert and Mary Quilty(?):
- William, married three times, lived in New Park House in Templeathea West (1901, 1911)
- Margaret Teresa Colbert m. Martin Hogan
- Patrick, 1850-1873
- Elizabeth, 1851-1932, of Ballysteen, Shanagolden (1901, 1911)
- Con's mother's siblings, children of Cornelius McDermott and Catherine Breen:
- Dr. Cornelius, d. 1895, published the poetry of Peter Honan, Irish Republican Brotherhood member (see Art O'Donnell's BMH WS)
- Mary, m. Simon O'Donnell of Knockaderreen, Tullycrine (1901, 1911), parents of Art O'Donnell
- James, teacher?, law clerk, workhouse porter? (1901, 1911?)
- Margaret, postmistress, m. Michael Walsh (1901 - with her widowed mother) - did she return to England?
- Timothy, chr. 1866
- Catherine, m. Daniel Irving N.T., who succeeded his father-in-law (1901, 1911)
- In addition to descendants of his aunts Mary and Catherine, there
are lots of more distant cousins of Con Colbert still living around
- More on Conor McDermott in 'The Cooraclare Schools' by Paddy Irving in Christian Brothers Kilrush 1874-1974 (pp. 124-5)
My family in 1916
- Easter Week in Limerick, from my grandmother Ciss Waldron (née McNamara)'s last diary entries of 1916:
today, too bad a day. This
day 12 months we were in
Cratloe. Terrible ex-
citement this evening. News
of an insurrection in Dublin. All
communication cut off.
No reliable news from Dublin
but hundreds of startling rumours.
The city in the hands of the
Sinn Féiners ?????? and
hundreds killed. The air in
Limerick is _electrical_, but no
outbreak here. The soldiers
are on guard everywhere.
- Double first cousins born 14 December 1916 and 5 February 1917
- Six babies called Cornelius Colbert XXX registered in Ireland in 1917 and 1918, in addition to those named after Patrick Henry Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, et al.
- Ciss was reared by her Uncle George Clancy, draper, 48 William Street, Limerick (not to be confused with the Murdered Mayor)
- Uncle George reputedly used "Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin" as an advertising slogan before Arthur Griffith founded the political party
- The official story is that the party name was suggested to
Griffith by Mary Ellen Lambert Butler, daughter of Peter Lambert Butler
of Bunnahow, Crusheen
- Mary Ellen was a fifth cousin to George Clancy and a first cousin once removed to Edward Carson.
- 1916 correspondence from Flo Clancy of Kilrush to Ciss Waldron: postcard, message, letter-card, message
- 1916 holidays snaps from Kilkee: paddling on the beach, Morrissey cousins, a survivor of the Great Famine evictions (tagged Facebook version)
- Irish Ironies and the night the circus tent blew down in Kilkee
What it said in the Clare papers in 1916
- The past is a different country.
- A letter from Miltown Malbay dated 15 January referred to the 'dead
volunteer movement of the town'. The former drill instructor Mr John
Moloney was by now fighting in the blood-stained fields of France.
About £ 40 collected for the Volunteers was now resting quietly in the
National Bank, and the letter-writer proposed that part of the money be
distributed to the poor of the town and part to provide tobacco and
cigarettes for the soldiers of this town fighting at the front, as they
were members of the Volunteers.
- The Kilkee Strand Races, under the I.R.A. Rules, were advertised
on 1 January 1916 for Tuesday 25 January 1916, with 40 pounds in
stakes. Thousands attended, coming by special excursion trains
from Limerick, Galway, Ennis, Kilrush and intermediate stations.
Another meeting was to be held in mid-summer.
- The Co Clare Prisoners of War Aid Committee published a list of over 50 Clare Prisoners of War on 1 January 1916.
- In a letter from Kilrush published under the heading of THE
VOLUNTEERS (Clare Champion, 15 January 1916) and over the nom-de-plume of
LIBERTAS, the writer called on the Irish National Volunteers and the
other faction of the volunteer movement to reunite under the banner of
the GAA. This sparked several lengthy replies from both
locally-based and Dublin-based correspondents in the issue of 29
January. Libertas of Kilrush came back with a three-column reply
on 5 February. The correspondence continued until 4 March when
Libertas admitted defeat and declared the discussion closed.
- The Cunard line advertised weekly departures from Liverpool to New York through its network of 24 agents around County Clare.
- Tomás Ághas's second cousin Pádraig Ághas was married in Doonbeg
on 8 January 1916 and the Clare Champion notice (in English) stated that
the marriage took place "with Nuptial Mass, and in Irish", the Mass
presumably being celebrated in Latin.
- The West Clare Board of the G.A.A. met at Cooraclare on Sunday 23
January 1916, to arrange fixtures, etc. F. J. Breen was
chairman. (Was this Francis Joseph Breen of Teernagloghane, first
cousin of Con Colbert's mother?)
- John Redmond's manifesto to the Irish people, calling for more
recruits to the Irish regiments, was printed on the front page on 26
February 1916. On the same day, the Kilrush Board of Guardians adopted
a resolution supporting the manifesto, with only two dissenting voices,
Mr O'Brien and Mr Lillis. The same meeting passed a vote of
condolence to Mr. J. McGarry and the other relatives on the death of a
cousin in the Australian forces at the Dardanelles (Norman Docker?),
who had visited Kilrush before his death.
- Mrs. Clement Dilger was in receipt of assistance from the Ennis
Board of Guardians since the internment of her husband. He was
one of the many German watchmakers in Ireland (1911).
- Frank Barrett got into a spot of hot water in early 1916 due to a
conflict of interest between his sympathies for the Irish Volunteers
and his duties as Master of Ennis Workhouse. The Clare Champion
of 22 January 1916 confirmed that Ennis Guardians had given permission to
Mr. M. J. Brennan, Meelick Cross, to hold a meeting of the Clare Co.
Board of the Irish Volunteers in the Boardroom of the Workhouse on
Saturday 29 January 1916. The report of the meeting carried in the
Clare Champion on 5 February 1916 noted the unanimous resolution tendering
`sincerest thanks to the Ennis Board of Guardians for their kindness in
unanimously placing their Boardroom at our disposal for our meeting and
that we absolutely ignore the authority of the Local Government Board
to interfere with us or to try and prevent us from holding our
meeting'. 25 corps were summoned, but only 20 (Carrigaholt,
Crusheen, Meelick, Inch, Tullycrine, Cloona, Ruan, O'Gonnelloe,
O'Callaghan's Mills, Kilenna, Garranboy, Feakle, Tulla, Corofin, Doora,
Kildysart, Kilnamona, Cranny, Barefield and Darragh) attended. A
decision was made to divide the county into East and West
sub-boards. The sequel at the Guardians' meeting the following
Wednesday was covered in more detail on page 6. Mr. Meade, who
presided at the original meeting, now said that he was under the
misapprehension that the application was from the National
Volunteers. The Master (still unnamed) reported that he was not
allowed to leave the board-room after asking the Volunteers (who
clearly had a key and locked the door behind him) to do so. The
female clerk of the union Mrs. M. Fitzgerald said that she had notified
the secretary of the volunteers by registered post of the Guardians'
change of mind (under orders from the Local Government Board).
There were accusations that Carson or Redmond would have been allowed
to use the board room. It was understood that one party was under
the leadership of John Redmond and the other under the leadership of
Eamonn MacNeal [sic], and the only difference between the two parties
was due to the question of leadership.
- On Thursday 17 February 1916, a sworn inquiry was held into the
incident by A. P. Delaney, Local Government Board Inspector, in the
boardroom itself, which made the front page of the following Saturday's
Clare Champion. This named the master (Francis Barrett) and
clerk; previous articles referred to them merely by their
positions. About 42 people had attended the meeting. Seán
McNamara of Crusheen was senior in years to the other men and acted as
their spokesman. McNamara told the inquiry that "We might have a
second Bachelor's Walk if the police came in". It was pointed out
that a precedent had been set when the United Irish League held a
meeting in Corofin boardroom as recently as New Year's Day. In
their defence, the Volunteers quoted Carson: "There are illegalities
that are not crimes" - and when he says that, it is hard for anyone
else to say he is not right! Most of the witnesses signed their
names and addresses on the depositions in Irish.
The Easter Rising in Clare
- John Fennell of Carrigaholt, light-keeper, monitored the
progress of the Aud from Loop Head lighthouse, and kept his brother
Eamon Fennell informed
- Clare Volunteers were due to cross the Shannon on Easter Sunday 'to compete with the Kerry Volunteers for a shooting trophy'
- Arms were expected to be landed along the Clare coast of the Shannon, somewhere between Kildysart and Carrigaholt
- Clare Volunteers were under the command of Michael Colivet in Limerick, who supported MacNeill's countermanding order
- If they were under the command of Liam Mellowes in Galway, the outcome may have been different
- On Easter Sunday and Monday, volunteers who had not seen the
countermanding order mobilised in several parts of Clare, but waited in
vain for further orders.
Some Clare people in the Easter Rising
- Bernard 'Casement' O'Reilly, R.I.C., who arrested Roger Casement
in McKenna's Fort near Banna Strand on Good Friday 1916, was married to
Bridget Ronan from Vandeleur Street in Kilrush
- Only one Clareman is believed to have died in the rising, Michael
Lahiff, D.M.P. of Knockaderreen, the same townland as Art O'Donnell (photos, in memoriam card from Irish Examiner 11 April 2016, house, ruin, 1901, Dublin 1911, Knockaderreen 1911, Find A Grave, Facebook discussion)
Son of Michael Flahiff/Lahive/Lahiff sr. and Eliza Synan.
Constable Lahiff was shot three times in St Stephen's Green on Easter
Monday, April 24, and died in the Meath Hospital. Kevin Myers says that he
was shot by Constance Markievicz, Irish Citizen Army, but the evidence
of this has been contested, as she was at City Hall at the time that he
For full details, see Houlihan, Michael: D.M.P. Constable Michael Lahiff, a casualty of the Easter Rising 1916, The Other Clare, Volume 40 (2016), 45-47.
- Three 'Claremen' sentenced to death:
- Con Colbert, executed 8 May 1916 (Clare and Limerick have been squabbling over him ever since)
- Peadar Clancy of Cranny, reprieved, killed on Bloody Sunday 1920, reputed cousin of George Clancy (in memoriam card, cover letter)
- Éamonn de Valera, reprieved, future T.D. for Clare, 1917-1959
- Two Claremen wounded:
- Peter Barrington, Caherclogh; see Art O'Donnell's WS p.16:
'When the Ennistymon boys heard of events in Dublin they collected all
the shotguns in the district. One man resisted and discharged his gun
through the door. One of the Volunteers, Peter Barrington of Clooney,
got most of the charge in his forearm and rather than run the risk of
medical attention he had all the pellets extracted with the aid of a penknife only.'
(Not related to Barringtons of Cloonwhite North.)
- Murty Tubridy
Like Con Colbert, studied at Skerries College; lodged with Peadar Clancy at 437 North Circular Road.
Treated at Richmond Hospital, forewarned by a 'friendly young doctor' and evaded capture.
Subject of 'The Ballykett Rebel, Alive, Alive O'.
Son of Patrick Tubridy from Drumellihy (Westby) who emigrated to
Australia and bought a farm in Ballykett on his return to Clare.
Buried in Drumellihy.
- Was the 'friendly young doctor' Sir Thomas Myles, of Myles
Creek fame, who aided several wounded rebels to escape from the
- According to his daughters, Seamus Hughes, connected to
Carrigaholt Irish College, was on sentry duty on the roof of Jacob's in
1916. He saw an enemy sniper firing from the spire of St Patrick's
Cathedral and took aim at him; the shooting from that direction
stopped. Many decades later, renovation workers were surprised to find
unidentified human bones in the Cathedral tower. Gráinne Hughes was
convinced that they were the bones of the sniper that her father put
out of action.
- Others involved in the rising, besides Myles, holidayed in Kilkee, where Tom Clarke proposed to his wife Kathleen Daly