Volunteer John Ryan


Volunteer John Ryan (aged about 29) of Woodstock, Carrigtwohill (west end of Carrigtwohill)

Date of incident: night of 14-15 May 1921 (death recorded 15 May 1921)

Sources: Death Certificate (Midleton District 2, Union of Midleton), 15 May 1921, for ‘John Regan’; CE, 16, 17, 24 May, 24 June 1921; FJ, 28 May; CWN, 4 June 1921; Irish Bulletin, 5:5 (7 June 1921); MSPC/RO/31 (Military Archives); Lieutenant-Colonel John M. McCarthy’s WS 883, Appendix, 11-12 (BMH); John Kelleher’s WS 1456, 27 (BMH); Francis Healy’s WS 1694, 5, 17-21 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 197; Last Post (1976), 87; Falvey (1998), 146; McCarthy (2008), 135-36; “Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area,” Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 147; Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Midleton IRA Memorial, Main Street, Midleton; John Ryan and Michael Ahern Memorial, Carrigtwohill. 


Note: Ryan was killed by soldiers of the Cameron Highlanders who claimed that he had been trying to escape from a military escort after his arrest. The IRA maintained that Ryan and two other Volunteers had been killed in reprisal for the IRA’s killing of members of the crown forces in Midleton on the previous day. His name appears on the Midleton IRA Memorial at the north end of Main Street in Midleton. On the other hand, John Ryan’s name does not appear on the Roll of Honour of the Cork No. 1 Brigade deposited in the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park in Cork city. Still, former Carrigtwohill Volunteer Francis Healy (section commander of D or Carrigtwohill Company) later stated that both Michael and John Ryan of Woodstock had been members of this company. See Francis Healy’s WS 1694, 5, 17-21 (BMH). The weight of the evidence, then, supports this victim’s Volunteer status.


According to Kieran McCarthy, the Cameron Highlanders came looking for Michael McCarthy but could not find him and took John Ryan instead. See McCarthy (2008), 135-36. Ryan was one of the six living children (four sons and two daughters) of the Woodstock farmer Michael Ryan and his wife Mary. A seventh child apparently died in infancy. Volunteer John Ryan was the second son. He was buried in the Republican Plot at Holy Rosary Cemetery in Midleton. 


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