Volunteer Thomas O’Brien (aged about 20) of the Model Village, Dripsey (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: A resident of the Model Village at Dripsey, O’Brien was one of six Volunteers executed by firing squad at Victoria Military Detention Barracks in Cork city on this date. He had been wounded and captured in the attempted Dripsey ambush of 28 January 1921 while trying to cover the retreat of the main body of Volunteers.
Born in 1900 at Upper Riverstown in Glanmire, O’Brien was educated at the Coachford National Schools and later went to work at the Dripsey Woollen Mills. In 1911 he was the eldest son among the four children (three sons and a daughter) of the Lismahane (Dripsey) wool dyer Thomas O’Brien and his wife Mary; the four children and a boarder who was a weaver co-resided with the elder O’Briens. Thomas O’Brien was a keen sportsman and played with the Inniscarra Junior Hurling Club. He joined the Volunteers in 1918 and became a member of E Company of the Sixth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. After his execution in January 1921 he was initially buried in the grounds of the Cork County Gaol, but his remains were later exhumed and reinterred in the Republican Plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork. See http://irishvolunteers.org/cork-county-gaol-ira-volunteers-executed-memorial/ (accessed 3 Nov. 2015).