Volunteer Joseph Morrissey


Volunteer Joseph Morrissey (aged about 21) of Castlemartyr and Athlone, Co Westmeath (Clonmult)

Date of incident: 20 Feb. 1921 (killed after surrender)

Sources: CE, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Feb. 1921; II, 24, 25 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/155A/53 (TNA); Seán O’Mahony Papers, MS 44,047/3 (NLI); Joseph Aherne’s WS 1367, 52-58 (BMH); Michael Kearney’s WS 1418, 21-23 (BMH); Patrick J. Whelan’s WS 1449, 51-58 (BMH); John P. O’Connell’s WS 1444, 15 (BMH); John Kelleher’s WS 1456, 23-24 (BMH); Patrick J. Higgins’s WS 1467, 3-7 (BMH); Diarmuid O’Leary’s WS 1589, 4-8 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Last Post (1976), 80; O’Neill (2006), 62, 96-100; Borgonovo (2007), 88; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 84-85, 143; Rebel Cork’s FS, 190-95; Sheehan (2011), 125; Midleton IRA Memorial, Main Street, Midleton; Cork No. 1 Brigade Memorial, Holy Rosary Cemetery, Midleton; Clonmult Ambush Site Memorial; Clonmult Village Memorial; 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: Volunteer Joseph Morrissey was killed after surrendering at Clonmult. He was buried in what now became the Republican Plot of Holy Rosary Cemetery in Midleton. Citizens of the town and surrounding district were determined to show public grief in spite of British military efforts to restrain it. Shops had closed beginning at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 February. About 5 p.m. that day ‘crown forces arrived and insisted on having the shutters taken down and business places re-opened’. See II, 24 Feb. 1921.


But over the next three days little business was transacted. In death Volunteer Morrissey was grandly mourned alongside the seven Clonmult victims from Midleton: ‘Impressive scenes were witnessed at Midleton on Wednesday night [23 February 1921] when 10 coffins, containing the remains of those killed at Clonmult, arrived from Cork. The church bell tolled from 4 p.m., though it was 9 o’clock before the hearses arrived. Dense crowds filled the streets. Canon [Denis] O’Connor, P.P., and the curates of the parish headed the cortege. Rev. J. Kelleher, C.C., Drumcondra (a native of Midleton), celebrated the Requiem Mass yesterday [24 February], after which the coffins, covered with the tricolour, were carried by Volunteers to the Rosary Cemetery adjoining. The remains were interred side by side in one large plot near the church. Only a limited number—principally the chief mourners—were permitted to enter the graveyard till the coffins had been covered over. Innumerable wreaths were placed on the graves. No crown forces visited the town during the obsequies. All shops are still closed in token of general mourning.’ See II, 25 Feb. 1921.   

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