Irelands Leading Churchman, during the Troubles
This story i have retyped from an old phamplet, in danger of falling apart, and the story lost for ever. this little book ,
Given to me
Oliver Kane by my
Uncle in California.
Monsignor Thomas Francis Maher.
Of Upland's Los Angeles.
He being Nephew of Cannon W O'Kennedy,Which makes me a grand nephew.
of Cannon William O' Kennedy. he being my grandmothers brother;
THE ABOVE GAELIC SCRIPT IS OF A NOTE WRITTEN BY THE CANNON DURING HIS INCARCERATION IN BEARA PRISON' WEST CORK ..
TRANSLATION....Heroic is the man who makes the great effort and still survives, one of these is S. O'C
health and long life to him.
priest/canon and president of St Flannans College
in Ennis Co Clare
on Beara 7 Oct 1921.
A Special thanks to Clare Cronin..Historian. Who contacted me during March 2015. and e-mailed me the above writings of the Cannon' praising her own grandfather during his historic hunger strike in Cork jail.
A suggestion made to me by Monsignor Maxwell P.P., Killaloe who was President of St Flannan's College, led to have this story published.
I am deeply indebted to Monsignor M Hamilton P.P.V.F., Nenagh ( who was a fellow Professor of Canon O' Kennedy at St Flannan's and assisted him in his national activities) for all the assistance and encouragement i received from him.
I also wish to express my indebtedness to Mr Dan Kennedy and to Rev, Sean O' Hogan, C.C., of St Flannan's College as well as to my nephews and namesake.
Aod O Naicir
( Hugh O' Heir )
By Rev. Monsignor M Hamilton, P.P., V.F.
The story of Ireland's resistance to British rule from the
Insurrection of 1916 to the Treaty of 1921 has not been fully nor adequately written. Many of the exciting episodes of those
grim, yet glorious, days have been forgotten; many of the heroes of the campaign have passed into the anonymity of unrecorded
A detailed record, county by county and parish by parish,
of the countless incidents that made up the history of those days is the only means of presenting to the present or to a future generation a picture of what the nation achieved and endured in the reaction to the ever increasing intensity of the repression by which the imperial government sought to maintain even a semblance of domination over this country.
The anger of the people was aroused by the execution of the leaders of the rising of 1916, just as their sympathy was being awakened to the ideals that inspired it. In speeches, ballads, and in displays of rebel flags and tokens the British were reviled and condemned ; arrests and imprisonments followed and these in turn led to wanted people going " on the run ".
Defence led to attack and gradually the " Flying Column " came into being.
Today they would be called commandos. History was made in Cork when the leader of the East Clare Brigade refused to recognise the authority of British courts to try prisoners.
The meeting of the first Dail in January 1919, gave the nation
a de jure if not a de facto government. Hunger strikes became a recognised form of resistance to imprisonment and world wide interest, even sympathy, was evoked by the 70-day agony of Terence McSweeney.
The Sinn Fein movement had grown from insignificant numbers to a nation wide organisation. It's policy was a national policy even though there still remained many who retained their faith in constitutional aims and methods. It was implemented on the military side by attacks and ambushes on Crown Forces, and in civil life by the establishment by An Dail of departments of Local Government and of Justice, and general non co-operation with the routine of British rule.
The final effort to stem the tide was in the introduction of the Black and Tans,And of Auxiliaries in a desperate hope that brute force, the indiscriminate shooting of defenceless individuals, the burning of homes and even of towns would terrorise the people into repudiation of Sinn Fein and force them to sue for mercy.
It was the repercussion of these atrocities that stirred public opinion in England, and it was a moral if not a military victory that the British Government with its empire strength proposed a truce to the severely harassed members of the Irish Government in Dail Eireann.
Throughout the entire period it was a question of action and reaction in the tide of events. Men were forthcoming in every part of Ireland to meet each problem with determination of mind and originality of method. Many accounts have been given of the military events, the Volunteers and their activities, but in the ultimate analysis, it was largely the civil aspect of the Sinn Fein movement that enabled to its eventual victory.
Unfortunately that phrase of the nation resistance has not had due recognition.
There was full understanding and co-operation between the groups that represented the military and the civil authorities.
Very often that represented the military leaders engaged in the administration of Sinn Fein Courts, and acted as members of local authorities; where they made arrangements for the collection of rates which could no longer be done through normal channels.
Public Officials played a noble part in Sinn Fein Administration. In fact these and other civilians frequently were in as much or more danger than the actual fighting men.
Communications were maintained under extreme difficulty and with serious risk between the most remote parts of the country and the headquarters of the military and civil administrations.
Such work was frequently done through people engaged in the normal routine of life.
In this respect due tribute has scarcely been paid to the wholehearted co-operation of the workers on the railway systems.
Into this catalogue of an ever increasing defiance of Crown Forces with a corresponding increase in the peril involved fit the names of many local leaders and enthusiasts who carried out the Sinn Fein policy in practice and figured in innumerable
An outstanding example of what was achieved by thousands, both laity and clergy, in most every district in Ireland is to be found in what was accomplished by the Very Rev. Cannon O'Kennedy of Ennis, who was the spear head of Sinn Fein
in Co Clare during the struggle for independance.
Only those who knew Canon O'Kennedy at close range can realise his utter dedication to the Sinn Fein Policy. His was strong personality that impressed itself upon his listeners at the hundreds of meetings which he addressed in almost all parts of the County Clare, In the Civil Sphere, whose Cheif Executive Officer he was, he exercised a dominating influence in every aspect of the campaign against aggression.
As a Professor, he was a recognised exponent of the classics,
and took a deep interest in the spiritual, educational and national
development of his students, he played with us in the hurling field, and i the handball court, and it was largely due to his inspiration that Irish was used so extensively in the playing
fields of St Flannan,s.
When he became President of the college in 1919, he was
deeply immersed in the national movement, and it is
difficult to realise how he could devote so much time and
energy to public affairs and yet reserve his main concern for
the College and its interest's. He initiated there a programme
of development which is still in progress. The introduction
of electricity; the provision of a much needed recreation hall;
and the installation of shower baths are but some of the improvement he effected, and with an instinctive love of the land
he was responsible for the early stages of the development of
St Flannan's College into an agriculturally self-supporting
In this sketch we are told by one who through active
participation is fully conversant with them, all the outstanding
events in which the Cannon was a leading figure, such as the
East Clare Election of 1917, the work in connection with the
Dail Loan in Clare in which the Cannon was in constant personal
contact with Michael Collins; the Sinn Fein Courts at which
he frequently presided; and his eventual arrest while he was
engaged on the Diocesan Retreat, which resulted in his detention for six months at Bere Island. He helped to minimise the
effect of martial law in Clare and to offset the intended isolation
of the County. He was instrumental in having a Sinn Fein
Currency issued in order to enable farmers to dispose of the
products that could not be brought to fairs and markets. He
was largely responsible for the establishment of a Land
Court to deal with various agrarian problems arising out of
" the troubled times ".
When the collection of rates was taken over by the Volunteers
from the normal Local Government Channels, the College
was a repository and from there the monies for public main-
tenance were paid out to the County Council Officers as required,
and arranged by secret code.
He taught his classes and attended to College Administration
every day, and in the evening it was not uncommon to see
him set forth on horseback on one of his many missions. On
half days he attended at Sinn Fein meetings or presided at
a Sinn Fein Court, while on Sundays he spoke at public meetings,
At one time to organise the White Cross which was established to relieve those who had suffered from the burnings or destruction,
or worse still, from killings by Black and Tans; at another
time to advocate support for the National Loan. It was in no
small measure due to his eloquence and energy that Clare led
Ireland in its contribution to the national fund. The entire
subscriptions from the then East Clare passed through his hands
and the records are still amongst his papers.
The constant danger of a raid on the College- it was actually
raided by Military Black and Tans on St Flannan's Night,1920-
rendered this a hazardous matter and it was in moments of
anxiety that thousands and thousands of pounds were checked,
counted and consigned to hiding places before the ultimate
transfer to Micheal Collins. He was in the counsels of the
leaders of practically every phase of the struggle, both civil
and military, apart from schemes of his own initiation,
were constant callers at the College for advice direction or
for the making of decisions. One result of that aspect of things
was the students of those days had the privilege of being
addressed by personalities as President DeValera;W T Cosgrove;Arthur Griffith; Cathal Brugh;Richard Mulcahy;
Brian O'Higgins and Sean Muirthile, names indelibly inscribed
in the annals of the nation, Other visitors that spring to memory
were our former President, Sean T O Ceallaigh; Tainiste Sean McEntee; the late Sean Milroy, ect, as well as Lieutenant
General Micheal Brennan and various other local leaders.
The strain of incessant action and varied involvements told
on his physical and mental energy. When his inevitable arrest
took place in July 1921. only a few days before the Truce,
He was tired man and it required only the privation of
internment--often in solitary confinement-- to break his iron
constitution, Indeed were it not for the devoted and much
Appreciated attentions of his fellow prisoners--notably An
Seabhac--it is doubthfull if he would have survived the ordeal
of captivity. He was released " on Parole " in December, 1921,
just as the Treaty negotiations were in their final stages and
with the general release of prisoners, his parole became freedom,
But his health was permanently undermined; his mental vigour
was impaired and he never succeeded in recapturing that breath
of vision which in other days had enabled him to meet every
problem with judgment and equanimity In spite of his failing health, however, he continued in his labour of love as President
of the college and rendered valuable services as a member
of various local bodies up to the time of his last illness which
occurred a few months prior to his deeply lamented death on
In the final story of Ireland's resistance to alien aggression,
in the epic tale of national resurgence, Cannon O'Kennedy
deserves to be remembered as a Priest, Patriot and Leader,
wise in judgment, strong in resolve and vigorous in action.
The praiseworthy effort of Aodh Haichir " now one of the few survivors of the East Clare Election Committee of
1917 " who was an intimate friend and a close associate of
Cannon O'Kennedy during this eventful period, should be
an encouragement to others to write, while memory still persists,
of local leaders and of local effort in different parts of the country.
Clare has been very much neglected in this respect.
A good many individual accounts have been handed in to
the Military History Bureau, but unfortunately these records
will not become available for more than a quarter of a
century to come.
Very Revd. Cannon W. O' Kennedy, B.D.
By Aodg O Haichir
Well over a quarter of a century ago, there passed away
at St Flannan's College, Ennis, in the person of Very Rev.
Cannon W. O' Kennedy, B.D. an outstanding Churchman
Educationist and patriot, whose name was revered throughout
Clare and Tipperary, But who now has faded into most
undeserved oblivion. The O'Kennedy Clan loomed largely
in the history of Tipperary where the Cannon was born at
Bawn, Nenagh, on January 6th1881, being the eldest of the
family of John Kennedy and Anne Kennedy ( ni Darcy ).
The family numbered eight in all, and of these, only two are
now alive, viz., Fr John Kennedy, now in the U.S.A., and Bridget
Kennedy ( now Mrs Bridget Gleeson ) who lives in the homeland.
Having completed his primary education at the local national
school, he became a student at St Flannan"s College, Ennis,
and on the completion of his course he passed on to Maynooth,
where he was ordained in 1905.
After his ordination he spent two years at Dunboyne, where
he was a tempory lecturer of classics.
In 1907 he became Professor at St Flannan"s College,
of which he became President in 1919.
From the outset he threw himself completely into the life
of the College, both educational and recreational.
Respecting the latter, he was himself a noted athlete in his
early days, and in addition to his work for the College Hurling
Team, he actively assisted the G.A.A. in the county.
When in 1914, Clare won its first and up to now its only
All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, he was on the
committee which took charge of the training arrangements.
Like all Patriotic young Priests at the time, he felt elated
at the magnificent fight for freedom by Pearce and him Comrades
in 1916 and in the national upsurge that followed.
In order that the present generation may fully appreciate
the part played in Clare by Cannon O' Kennedy in the eventful
years which were to come, a brief sketch of the principal
happenings in which he so prominently figured, is necessary.
In the first week of June, 1917, Mr Wm, Redmond, M.P.
( who had represented East Clare, as a member of the Irish
Parliamentary Party that had striven for many years in the
British House of Commons to obtain a measure of Home Rule
for this country ) was killed in France, and this event suddenly
threw the limelight on Clare.
Shortly after his death, an informal gathering at Ennis
provisionally decided to put forward a Republican Candidate
for the vacant seat. Peter Clancy, a young West Clare man
who had fought in Dublin in Easter week, 1916, and who
was then in Penal Servitude was the man chosen.
It was felt, however, that this meeting was not sufficiently
representative, and accordingly steps were taken to summon
one on a broader basis.
This was duly done about a week later, and at this gathering,
which was presided over by the late Sean Milroy, who was
an Easter week veteran, several names were submitted, It was
eventually unanimously decided to put forward Eamon De
Valera, then in Penal Servitude, who was Commandant at
Boland's Mills the previous year, although at that time his
name was practically unknown in the county.
An Election Committee was at once formed, of which Fr.
O' Kennedy was leading member. He was appointed Treasurer,
and in addition gave invaluable help to the late Dan McCarthy
of Dublin, who was in charge of the organisation.
The work was very much facilitated by the fortuitous
circumstance that during the election campaign the British
Government released the prisoners who had been sentenced
to Penal Servitude after the Insurrection.
A number of these, including De Valera himself, Eoin
McNeill, Diarmuid Lynch, Countess Markievicz, and such
outstanding men as Arthur Griffith, Count Plunkett, Brian
O'Higgins, and Sean Milroy came to Clare, where they remained
until the election was over.
The Parliamentary Party put forward as its standard bearer,
Mr Patrick Lynch, K.C.
Mr Lynch was a member of a very popular East Clare family
and was held in very high esteem, as he had defended many
Claremen who were tried during the Land League struggle.
Nevertheless, when the result was announced, it was found
that De Valera had an overwhelming majority, the exact figures
De Valera 5010
These numbers appear very small nowadays, but at that
time the franchise was confined to householders. Besides,
instead of having as at present polling booths in every National School, there were less than a dozen stations in the whole
constituency, and many people had to travel very long distances
in order to vote.
The Parliamentary Party , by putting forward such a strong
candidate, did an unconscious service to Republicanism by
creating an opportunity top have its policy fully expounded
throughout the Constituency.
As a result of this election, Sinn Fein Cumainn sprang up
not only throughout Clare, but all over the country, and when
shortly afterward in Kilkenny City a similar victory was won
by W T Cosgrave, also an Easter week veteran, it showed
unmistakably that the Parliamentary Party was a spent force.
The Sinn Fein organisation was established on a firm basis
at a National Convention held at the mansion House, Dublin,
in October 1917.
Shortly afterwards the treat of conscription loomed over
the country. Sinn Fein took a leading part in the work of
resistance to that imposition.
The so called German plot early in 1918, resulted in the
arrest of most Sinn Fein leaders. A few, however escaped
the net, the principal ones being Michael Collins, Harry Boland,
Cathal Brugha, and Rev. Father M O'Flannagan.
The General Election in December, 1918, at which there
was adult suffrage for the first time, resulted in the almost
complete collapse of the Parliamentary Party and in the estab-
lishment of Dail Eireann in January 1919.
This body formally declared Ireland a republic; launched
a National Loan; established Sinn Fein Courts and in fact
rendered British Rule in this Country a matter of naked force.
In Clare, Father O Kennedy took a leading part in all the
activities sponsored by An Dail. He was Treasurer of the
Loan fund of East Clare, a Brehon in the Republican Courts,
and a member of the Commission, the report of which resulted
in the abolition of the old workhouse system and the establish-
ment of County Homes.
His manifold activities did not escape the attention of the
British Government, he being one of the very few Priests who
underwent imprisonment during the period.
In July, 1921, the sanctity of a Retreat at St Flannan's College
was violated by enemy forces, who took him into custody.
This event aroused the deepest indignation in the county,
and indeed throughout the country.
The late Archbishop-Bishop of Killaloe, Most Rev. Dr.
Fogarty, exemplified his feelings by conferring on Fr, O'Kennedy
the dignity of Cannon and appointment his as Chancellor of the
The place of his internment was gloomy dungeon in the
military prison at Bere Island, where for several months he
endured the rigours of solitary confinement.
Even to a most placid individual, solitary confinement is a
very severe ordeal, but to one who's temperament was so fiery
and ardent as was that of Cannon O'Kennedy, it was a most
It was episode in his life that he never cared to refer to,
but its result was that even though it was not apparent
immediately after his release, his vigorous constitution became
gradually undermined and his death occurred in his early fifties.
At the time of his release the Treaty negotiations were in
progress in London.
The merits and demerits of the settlement arrived at aroused
bitter controversy, not to speak of the unfortunate Civil War,
and indeed it may be said that the passions then aroused have
not yet completely passed away.
Like all true Irishmen, Cannon O ' Kennedy deeply deplored
this unfortunate episode. `He held with Collins, that the settle-
ment arrived at gave the country freedom to achieve freedom,
but maintained his personal friendship with those who took
a different view.
When self-governmrnt came into operation in 1922, Cannon
O'Kennedy largely devoted himself to the work of local adminis-
tration, being a member of such public bodies as the Clare
Co. Board of Health; the Clare Mental Hospital Committee
and the Co Home Committee.
In addition, he was a member of the Agricultural Show
Committee and of the Committee of Technical Instruction,
as the present Vocational Committee was then named.
These activities did not interfere with his work as an
During his term as President of St Flannan's College, he
fully upheld the high traditions of that office, and he affected
many improvements which have greatly helped in making the
College one of the foremost secondary educational establishments in the country.
It was fitting climax to his work that at the annual
commemoration in honour of St Flannan which took place
in the December before his death,the late Most Rev.Dr.
Fogarty, Archbishop-Bishop of Killaloe, paid a glowing
tribute to what Cannon O'Kennedy had done in the educational
In addition, the Cannon was largely instrumental in the
establishment of the College Past Pupils Union, which still
As already stated, he always took a keen interest in the athletic
life of the College, and in this connection it is interesting to
recall that he addressed a personal letter of encouragement
to the team which was engaged in the Munster Colleges Hurling
Final of St Patrick's Day, 1932 just three days before his
death. he exhorted them to bring back the Cup, which in fact they did.
The late Cannon had a rather prolonged illness and his death
was not expected, but when it came on March 20,
1932, it was keenly felt on all sides, more especially by the
students and staff of the College.
Amidst every manifestation of regret, his remains were
removed on the evening of Monday, March 21, from the College
to the Cathedral Ennis, and on the following day, Mass was
celebrated by Most Rev.Dr.Fogarty.
In the afternoon, his remains were removed to Nenagh,
accompanied by thousands who travelled the entire journey.
His interment took place in the grounds of the Church
of St.Mary of the Rosary, Nenagh, where Dr Fogarty again
It has been truly said that it is not on the morrow of a man's
death, his worth can be duly appraised.
Even yet, the time has scarcely arrived when the outstanding
qualities of Cannon O 'Kennedy can be duly appreciated, but
when the future historian comes to chronicle the part played
by Clare in the struggle for independance, his name shall loom
large amongst the great ones of the period.
Address delivered by Very Rev Cannon. O'Kennedy at
the celebrations held in honour of St Flannan at the College
Ennis, on December 18 1921:-
On behalf of the staff and the boys, I wish to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming tonight to keep up
the festival of our great patron, St Flannan.
We welcome you all and we accept your presence here tonight
as an earnest of your good will to the College, and as your
appreciation of the fact that when the day of the trial came, we here did not flinch in our devotion and duty to the cause of
freedom. I must ask you to pardon the short and scrappy
Cuirm Ceol which has been set before you. The staff did not
Contemplate holding the feast while i was behind barbed wires,
So they had to set to work when i came out of captivity at the
beginning of the month and though short as the time was at
their disposal, I feel they have accomplished wonders. To
them i am deeply grateful and also to the boys who responded
so readily to their training.
Last year we kept the festival under difficulties and you
know how our rejoicing was unceremoniously broken into.
This year there is no obstacle and next year we hope to set before you a thoroughly Irish Cuirm Ceol. This has been
our aim and ambition for years, but now that freedom is all
but won , it will be the sacred duty of the College to develop
amongst the boys a thoroughly Celtic tone in language, in song,
in story, and in culture.
Now I'll beg your leave to introduce a few personal remarks.
You all know what i have gone through for the past six months,
so I'll not relate the story, nor do i wish to claim credit for
any hardship or sufferings I had to endure. God called on
me to shoulder the Cross for Dark Rosaleen, and it was my
privilege to submit cheerfully to tramp the Via Dolorosa with
the thousands of Young Ireland whose willing shoulders bent
beneath the burden. It was a privilege and a consolation
to be one of them.
I have met them in prisons and in barbed wire camps, and
wherever i meet them I was strengthened by their cheerfulness
by their courage, by the simplicity of their lives, and by their
unswerving devotion to the great ideal.
In Cork Detention Barracks there were twenty-six boys
from Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick and Clare who were condemned to be shot, had not the Truce intervened.
When i was with them, so cheerful were they that one could
set them down as fatalists. They were not fatalists, but boys
who fought for freedom and who never shrank to die for freedom.
Men of lofty ideals, they led lives of saints, and if it pleased
God to call them to the alter of sacrifice, they would have faced
the firing squad without a tremor, and with the composure of early martyrs they would have say upon the chair of death.
They saw fourteen of their companions die bravely on the
altar of sacrifice, and they too were determined to follow with
as steady a step.
under Providence they will soon be free, and I hope the
Irish people will honour them as martyrs in desire, as already
they humour those who died that all of us might live.
Not only those in Cork, but all in every prison, in Ireland and
England must we honour, as their sufferings have gone to
fill the cup of sorrow which has made the Motherland acceptable
to the Lord.
we must not forget them now. After our martyred dead
they are our sweetest treasure.
In far away Bere Island I met others--some 250--men of
similar build and mould.
Since October 1, when my three months of solitary con-
finement ended, I have lived with them as a Priest and as a
brother, I learned the inmost secrets of their souls. I have
been brought up to community life. I have tasted of its joys
here and in Maynooth.
Among the community of Bere Island I met men who for
purity of life and singleness of purpose equal any who have
been nursed in piety. Hard things have been said of these
men who fought on the hills. They have been denounced in
the Parliament of Great Britain, in the Press, in the drawing
Room, and even in the Pulpit.
Having lived with them, suffered with them, prayed with
them, I have learned to love and trust them, and tonight I
proudly proclaim that if religion is ever to go down the slippery
slope of infidelity, it will not be through the fault of the brave
men whose guns spoke freedom on the fair hills of holy Ireland..
Rather do i dread those who love to fatten on the flesh pots
I take this opportunity of thanking all my friends--so many--
whose letters and parcels helped to keep up my spirit and
courage, especially when for eleven long weeks I paced--in
lonely solitude--that Rock on Bere Island where, from behind
the barbed wire and the guns of my guards, I formed sweet
thoughts about God and my country, and as I looked out upon
the restless waves of Bantry Bay, I saw in their resistless power
the strength and glory of a fresh resurgent Young Ireland,
arisen from the death chamber, never more to die.
St. Flannan Commeration
of December 18, 1920.
Very Rev. M. Hamilton, P.P., V.F,. Nenagh, who was attached
to St Flannan's College in 1920, gives the following very
interesting explanation of Cannon O'Kennedy's reference to
what occurred on that date:--
Just as the annual entertainment and concert by the students
was about to conclude, word reached the President that the
College was surrounded by Military and Police and that ' a
raid ' was in progress. One of the first to be apprehended was
a student who had taken part in a play, and amongst other
things wore a stage moustache. He had difficulty in persuading
the raiders that he was a student who had taken part in a play,
and it was only after having searched his room that he was
released from custody. This room was the only part of the
College building that was searched, and this was fortunate,
as there was in the building at the time a revolver belonging
to a lay Professor; a rifle belonging to the steward ( the late
Tom Clohessy, who was an active member of the I.R.A. ) as
well as Sinn Fein literature and monies which had been collected
for the Dail Loan. The raiders had suspected, it would seem,
that amongst the guests were some of these " on the run " and all
the men folk present were compelled to pass in single file to
be identified. There was no arrest, but the lay Professor already
referred to ( Mr Eamonn Waldron ) was arrested two days later.
The raid lasted about an hour and it was interesting to note
that on their departure the Military apologised for their intrusion.
It was inferred that the raid was instigated by the Police, who
may have had information that some " wanted " people would
be present as there actually were. The local District Inspector
seemed to be in charge of the raid.
This Officer was a very sinister figure, who was responsible
for several raids at the time. The writer pamphlet was
a witness when, during a raid on the Ennis Workhouse ( now
Co Home ), he drew a revolver and treathened to shoot a member of the staff whom he suspected and aided the escape of
the late Commandant Frank Barrett, a much wanted man. This
member was the late Mr Peter Moran, then School Teacher.
In addition to the raid on St Flannan's College, there were,
during that event period, two raids on the residence of Most
Rev. Dr Fogarty.
As the younger generation are not aware of this and as few
of the older know exactly what happened, it is a matter of
historical interest that the facts should now be recalled.
The first of these two raids was certainly murderous in intent.
The raiders, one of whom was masked, made a thorough search
for the Bishop, and it transpired later that one of the party
declared the purpose of the raid.
General Crozier, a British Officer who wished to have the
struggle conducted according to the rules of War, subsequently
made a public statement that a warning had been sent to the
Bishop, but the latter stated that he had received no such warning.
this correspondence, however, led to the identity of one of
the would be assassins, and another of the murder gang was
At that time Archbishop Clune was in touch with Lloyd
George seeking a basis to carry out negotiations for a solution
to the Irish question. He had written to Dr Fogarty requesting
him to come to Dublin for a meeting. Dr Fogarty sent a prepaid
telegram to Dr Clune asking him to come to Ennis, but owing
to a misunderstanding, no reply reached him. He accordingly
decided to go to Dublin, and it thus happened that he was
absent when the murder gang arrived at the Palace.
The second raid, which occurred some time later,was a
counter reprisal for the burning of the residence of a noted
pro-Britisher who then lived in Ennis. This, in turn was a
reprisal for the burning by the British of the residence of the
late Senator T V Honan, a prominent Sinn Fein leader: and
of The Old Ground Hotel, where Sinn Fein meetings were very
I was in the Bishop"s Palace on the night of the second raid,
as well as Cannon O'Kennedy.
Tans came and threw petrol under the door and set fire to
it. We managed to get the fire under control before it spread
from the porch.
If the fire had got many minutes to make progress, the Palace
would, undoubtedly, have been gutted, so its escape can only
be described as providential.
Short Tribute to Cannon O Kennedy made by the late Most
Reverend Dr. Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, at St Flannan
Commemorations held at the College on December 18, 1931.
Having expressed pleasure at the entertainment, he spoke
as follows on the President:-
My only regret is that our distinguished President cannot,
on account of the state of his health, be present to witness the
Cannon O'Kennedy spent his life in bringing the College to
its present state of perfection. By his work he has stimulated
its intellectual life and energy, and he has attracted students
from every part of the country. For the increasing number
of students, additional accomadation had to be provided,
and this notwithstanding adverse times the College is full,
In addition to providing more accommodation for students,
Cannon O'Kennedy has carried out a number of very necessary
improvements such as heating, hot and cold baths, ect, ect,
which were greatly appreciated.
Dail Eireann Loan
Cannon O'Kennedy's capacity as Treasurer of the above
in the East Clare Constituency, the sum of £13, 859--14s--6d
passed through his hands, which was the largest
in any constituency.
Attached is a copy of one of the many letters sent to him by Michael Collins, with facsimile of his signature.
Father Culligan, referred to in the letter, was Treasurer
of the Dail Loan Fund for the constituency of West Clare,
and a very active in the Sinn Fein movement.
There were then two constituencys in Clare, viz East and
West, and there were Border Parishes, portions of which belonged to the East Clare Constituency and portions to West Clare.
The money referred to in this letter was probably a contribution
from such a parish, which was in error credited to East Clare
in the first instance.
It should be recalled that though the Mansion House was
the Head Office of the Department of Finance, most of the
actual work of this and the other Departments set up by An
Dail had to be carried out in obscure offices as there was a constant
danger of raids.
Copy of Letter
Dail Eireann Department of Finance
Aireact Airgid Mansion House
Ath Cliath, Dublin.
Rev Father O 'Kennedy
A Athair a Chara,
Re Dail Loan
Will you please note that there been forwarded
to you today, receipts numbered 99105 to 99211, both numbers
inclusive, representing applications in above amounting
to £239 ,0s ,0d. all being fully paid.
I trust they will reach you safely.
As these receipts belong to West Clare, it is I hope,
correct to forward them to you--if I am doing something outrageously wrong i would ask you to forgive me, and forward the to Father Culligan, or whoever is in charge of the particular area concerned.
During the Anglo--Irish struggle, Cannon Liam O'Kennedy composed
an additional verse
to the above popular song.
Hitherto it could not be said to have any special reference
to Ireland. the additional verse is included in subjoined:--
But should i live and you should die for Ireland;
Let not your dying thoughts be for me
But breath a prayer to God for our sire land;
He'll surely hear and then he'll set her free.
And i shall take your sword in hand my darling,
And strike a blow though weak that blow may be.
I'll aid the cause to which you heart was dearest,
And you shall sleep in peace until you sent for me.
The Tomb of Cannon W O'Kennedy B.D., St Mary of the Rosary, Neneagh, Co Tipperary.