Volunteer Michael Dineen or Dinneen (aged 23) of Caherbarnagh near Millstreet (Tooreenbane near Millstreet)
Date of incident: 24 June 1921
Sources: CE, 29 June 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/149A/65 (TNA); Cornelius Meany’s WS 787, 26 (BMH); Matthew Kelleher’s WS 1319, 12-13 (BMH); Rebel Cork’s FS, 169-77; Last Post (1976), 89; Ni Chadla (1994), 73; McCall (2010), 152; http://www.millstreet.ie/blog/2014/06/16/on-this-day-1921-the-rathcoole-ambush (accessed 12 Nov. 2015); IRA Memorial, Main Street, Millstreet; Volunteer Michael Dineen Memorial, near Kilcorney village.
Note: The Rathcoole ambush of 16 June 1921 by the Cork No. 2 Brigade was followed by ‘the most extensive and concentrated comb-out of an area ever undertaken in the South’ by the British (the so-called ‘Mushera Round Up’); it began on 23 June 1921. Volunteer Michael Dineen was seized that morning at his brother’s house at Ivale, Kilcorney, by a party of Auxiliaries: ‘They took him some distance away and rifle and machine-gun fire was heard later. When the British moved on, the relatives of Mick Dineen found his mangled remains three hundred yards from the house. His arms and legs had been broken by the blows of British rifle-butts before they murdered him.’ See Rebel Cork’s FS, 177.
The Cork Examiner gave 24 June as the date of Dineen’s death. He was identified as the ‘youngest son of Mrs Mary Dineen’ of Caherbarnagh in Drishane parish near Millstreet. Mary Dinneen (note the unusual census spelling) was a widowed farmer in 1911 at Caherbarnagh; she was the mother of eight living children (nine born), with a daughter and three sons including Michael (then aged 13) co-resident with her in that year. Michael Dineen indeed appears to have been her youngest son. See CE, 29 June 1921; 1911 Manuscript Census.
According to Matthew Kelleher, second lieutenant of the Kilcorney Company of the Millstreet Battalion, British forces—including soldiers, Auxiliaries, and Black and Tans—came close to capturing IRA Southern Division Commandant Liam Lynch and Paddy O’Brien, the vice-commandant of the Cork No. 2 Brigade, when they surrounded the Kilcorney area in late June. Lynch and O’Brien were billeted in the district at the time. ‘As a result of good intelligence work and efficient scouting, we were able to get these officers safely outside the enemy ring within a matter of hours. During this round-up Mick Dineen—a member of Kilcorney Company—was shot by the enemy, and about six members of the company were taken prisoners and later interned in Spike Island.’ See Matthew Kelleher’s WS 1319, 12-13 (BMH).
Dineen had taken part in the Rathcoole ambush about a week earlier. On 24 June 1921 he answered a knock on the door by British soldiers, who asked him where he had been on the day of the ambush. He replied that he had been thinning turnips in a field beside the house. He was then taken down the field and shot in the back with dumb-dumb bullets. His funeral was probably the largest ever seen in that locality. Dineen was buried in Millstreet. See Ni Chadla (1994), 73.