Volunteer Jeremiah O’Mahony

 

Volunteer Jeremiah O’Mahony (aged 29) of The Paddock, Enniskeen (Ballyvelone Crossroads near Enniskeen)

Date of incident: 5 March 1921

Sources: Death Certificate, 5 March 1921 (registered 30 Oct. 1923); Philip Chambers’s WS 738, 6 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 207; Barry (1949, 1989), 97-98, 236; Abbott (2000), 83; Crowley (2010), 193; Volunteer Jeremiah O’Mahony Monument, Ballyvelone Crossroads, Enniskeen.

 

Note: A captain of the Coppeen or G Company of the Fourth Battalion of the Cork No. 3 Brigade, O’Mahony either accidentally shot himself while cleaning his rifle at home at The Paddock, Enniskeen (as Tom Barry recalled), or more likely, he was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow Volunteer (as Philip Chambers reported). Tom Barry remembered O’Mahony as ‘a first-class officer who had fought valiantly at Kilmichael’. Barry recollected only two other deaths among members of the West Cork Brigade from the mishandling of firearms—those of Volunteers Patrick O’Driscoll of Mohanagh, Skibbereen, and Timothy Whooley of Currycrowley, Ballineen. See Barry (1989), 97-98.

 

In his BMH witness statement, Chambers, the captain of the Coppeen Company of Volunteers from March 1921 to the Truce, in succession to O’Mahony, provided the following account of O’Mahony’s death and burial: ‘On the 5/3/1921 I was detailed under section leader Denis Hickey to commandeer men and tools for road cutting operations in our company area. The Company O/C (Jeremiah O’Mahony) was to meet us with some arms. We waited at the appointed place until well after midnight but he failed to turn up. Eventually, his brother Dan arrived with the sad news that Jeremiah had been accidentally shot dead by a comrade Volunteer. We dismissed the commandeered party and proceeded at once to the scene of the accident. I got the late Canon O’Connell of Enniskeane to administer the last rites and, on the suggestion of Canon O’Connell, we buried him temporarily in a rifle dump on his own farm. The following night we produced a rough coffin and removed his remains to the graveyard at Castletown-Kenneigh, where we buried him in the Republican Plot alongside the three Volunteers who had been shot in the Kilmichael ambush some months before.’ See Philip Chambers’s WS 738, 6 (BMH). Other sources—including Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story, Barry, and Abbott—have all incorrectly assigned O’Mahony’s death to December 1920. There is a memorial to O’Mahony at Ballyvelone Crossroads, where the fatal accident occurred.

 

Volunteer O’Mahony was one of the seven children of the farmer Denis O’Mahony and his wife Nora of The Paddock (Castletown-Kinneigh). Husband and wife were separated in age by almost 19 years; in 1911 he was 66 and she was 47. Their children (five daughters and two sons) ranged in age from 3 to 19. Their son Jeremiah (then aged 19) was their oldest child. Aged 29 at the time of his death in March 1921 and still unmarried, he died of a ‘bullet wound of abdomen, shock and haemorrhage, [in] 5 minutes’. See Death Certificate, 5 March 1921 (registered 30 Oct. 1923).  


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