Volunteer Commandant Diarmuid O’Hurley (Dermot Hurley)


Volunteer Commandant Diarmuid O’Hurley (Dermot Hurley) or Jeremiah Hurley of Baurleigh near Bandon (Carrigogna near Midleton)

Date of incident: 28 May 1921

Sources: FJ, 3 Nov. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/152/82 (TNA); Con Leddy’s WS 756, 15 (BMH); Michael Kearney’s WS 1418, 25-26 (BMH); John P. O’Connell’s WS 1444, 18-19 (BMH); Patrick J. Whelan’s WS 1449, 65 (BMH); Daniel Cashman’s WS 1523, 12 (BMH); Seámus Fitzgerald’s WS 1737, 35 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Rebel Cork’s FS, 179, 197; Last Post (1976), 88; ‘Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 148; Midleton IRA Memorial, Main Street, Midleton; Commandant Diarmuid O’Hurley Monument, Gortacrue; http://midletonheritage.com/2015/12/11/few-families-suffered-as-we-did-war-of-independence-pension-files-associated-with-midleton/ (accessed 13 March 2016).   


Note: Commander of the 4th Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade ‘East Cork Flying Column’,  O’Hurley was on his way alone to investigate a report that British forces ‘had shot up the town of Carrigtwohill without any action being taken by members of the local I.R.A. company’. Angry about the lack of an IRA response, he was armed only with his revolver and a Mills grenade. See John P. O’Connell’s WS 1444, 18-19 (BMH). Shortly after setting out on 28 May 1921, he was surprised by a foot patrol of Black and Tans, accompanied by two policemen, who ‘unexpectedly appeared around a bend in the road at Gurtacrue’. While running for his life, O’Hurley was fatally struck by a rifle bullet at Carrigogna. He was buried secretly by his comrades the next day in a tomb at North Churchtown Cemetery; after the Truce he was reburied with full military honours in the Republican Plot at Holy Rosary Cemetery in Midleton. See Rebel Cork’s FS, 197.


Volunteer Daniel Cashman, one of the first members of the East Cork Flying Column, assessed his column commandant in the following way: ‘Diarmuid Hurley, better known as “The Gaffer”, was a fearless leader. He was a strict disciplinarian, particularly as regards drink. When planning an attack on the enemy, he never worried about the odds against him, believing that a surprise attack with a very much inferior force would sway the balance in his favour. His death was a very great loss to the column and to the “movement” generally in East Cork. After his death Paddy Whelan was appointed to take his place.’ See Daniel Cashman’s WS 1523, 12 (BMH).  


Hurley came from an impoverished background. He was in 1911 one of the nine children of the Baurleigh caretaker Charles Hurley and his wife Ellen. Three of the children (two sons and a daughter) were then co-resident with their parents. When his mother Ellen Hurley of Baurleigh near Bandon later applied for a pension on account of the death of her son Volunteer Jeremiah Hurley, an official in the office of the Garda Chief Superintendent in Bandon reported in April 1924: ‘I beg to state that applicant is mother of the deceased [Hurley] and is aged 68. She lives in a cottage with an acre of land attached, the poor law valuation of which is 14/-. . . . The claimant has a family of eight children whose ages range from 24 to 36 years. She has only one son and daughter living at home. The son is working on the roads earning about £2 per week, which sum he contributes to the support of the family. The other members of the family are in England, two of them being married and the rest working. They do not contribute to the support of applicant except at Xmas when they send her a few pounds.’ See Garda Chief Superintendent’s Office (Bandon) to Garda Commissioner (Dublin), 23 April 1924, at http://midletonheritage.com/2015/12/11/few-families-suffered-as-we-did-war-of-independence-pension-files-associated-with-midleton/ (accessed 13 March 2016).   

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