Volunteer John Lyons


Volunteer John Lyons (aged about 27) of Aghabulloge (Cork Military Detention Barracks)

Date of incident: 28 Feb. 1921 (executed by crown forces)

Sources: FJ, 28 Feb., 1 March 1921; II, 28 Feb., 1, 15 March 1921; CE, 1 March 1921; CCE, 12 Feb., 5 March 1921; Connaught Telegraph, 5 March 1921; Kerryman, 5 March 1921; Ulster Herald, 5 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/155B/1 (TNA); Peter Kearney’s WS 444, 12 (BMH); Denis Dwyer’s WS 713, 5-10 (BMH); Denis Collins’s WS 827, 18 (BMH); Daniel McCarthy’s WS 1457, 6-7 (BMH); Michael Mullane’s WS 1689, 8-10 (BMH); Daniel McCarthy’s WS 1697, 13-14 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Barry (1949, 1989), 165-66; Last Post (1976), 81; War of Independence website for County Cork, under First Cork Brigade, and under ‘Capture of I.R.A. Volunteers at Dripsey’; Kautt (2010), 125-30; Sheehan (2011), 107, 230; Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 156-60, 274; http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/objectfocus/razor (17 Sept. 2015); http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015); Dripsey Ambush Monument; Donoughmore Cemetery IRA Memorial; UCC IRA Memorial.


Note: Lyons was one of six Volunteers executed by firing squad at Victoria Military Detention Barracks in Cork city on this date. He had been captured in the abortive Dripsey ambush of 28 January 1921. Born at Clonmoyle near Coachford in 1895, Lyons attended the Aghabulloge National Schools and later became a member of the Aghabulloge Hurling Club. Though he was ‘a very quiet and unassuming young man’, he decided to join the Volunteers in 1917, serving as a member of D Company in the Sixth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. Mobilised initially only to assist with the preparations for the ill-fated Dripsey ambush, he sought permission to take an active part in the engagement—a request that was to cost him his life. See http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015).


Volunteer Lyons was one of the seven sons and two daughters of the Clonmoyle East farmer Timothy Lyons and his wife Margaret, all of whose nine living children (ten born) co-resided with their parents at the time of the 1911 census. Their second son John was then aged 17. Like the five other Volunteers executed on 28 February 1921, John Lyons was buried in the grounds of the Cork County Gaol. The British military authorities deliberately refused to deliver the bodies of the executed Volunteers to their relatives, no doubt because they wished to avoid another set of republican funerals with huge turnouts.

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