Friday, December 13, 2013

Funeral Card Friday/Limerick Funeral

    On the night of March 27, 1921, the Irish War of Independence was in full swing.  Three of Limerick's leading citizens were home with their families that evening, before morning all three would be dead and one of their wives wounded.

     The caption on the photo above reads: 
 Final prayers being uttered in the Gaelic tongue as the coffins of Irishmen killed in reprisals were committed to the Republican Plot of the cemetery in Limerick.  The bodies were those of Alderman Clancy, Mayor of Limerick; Mr. M. O'Callaghan, ex-mayor, and Mr. Joseph O'Donoghue; a prominent local Sinn Feiner.  They had been shot dead in their homes by a body of armed men.

     Translation-- That night in Limerick, the Back and Tans, members of the crown forces in Ireland, murdered the mayor and the ex mayor along with a member of Sinn Feine.   George Clancy and Michael O'Callaghan were shot dead in their own homes, Mrs. Clancy was shot trying to defend her husband from the assassins; Joseph O'Donoghue was found shot to death in the street.  No one was ever brought to justice for these crimes.  

     In case you're wondering, the "Republican Plot" was a section of the cemetery set aside for Irish patriots who supported an Irish republic apart from England.  Many cemeteries had such plots.  An Irish Republican is in no way related to the American political party of that name.

    You can find more here  -- while this link is to a preview of the book, Limerick's Fighting Story 1916-1921: Told by the Men Who Made It, most of the section written by Mrs. Clancy is readable by using the search term "curfew murders".  A few lines from the book:

     Raids were an outstanding feature of  the English campaign against Irish nationality in the years 1916 to 1921.  They usually took place late at night when the people had retired, or in the early hours of the morning; and the searchers were not provided with anything in the nature of a search warrant.  At first the armed forces were usually accompanied by a responsible police or military officer but as time went on, unauthorized raids freely took place... in the final stages of the terror, armed forces of the crown raided private houses with the set purpose of murdering prominent republicans.

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