Civil War, Michael Collins, News

Local Civil War Deaths 1922

O' Donovan

The sadness of the Civil War continued into October 1922 when three men, two with the same first name Daniel, were killed fighting in the Clonakilty, Rosscarbery, Timoleague and Rossmore areas of West Cork.

On Wednesday the 4th October 1922 a patrol of Pro-Treaty National troops under the command of Brigadier General Sean Hales was travelling from Dunmanway to Clonakilty. They were approaching Ballygurteen village when they were ambushed by Anti- treaty forces from high ground on both sides of the road. The position was in the townland of Kildee between Milenagun crossroads and Ballgurteen village. A National Army machine gunner called Patrick Byrne was seriously wounded in the engagement and was removed to Dunmanway hospital, where he died the following day. Before joining the army, Byrne lived at 12 The Crescent, Donnybrook, County Dublin, and had served from 1915 to January 1922 in the British army with the Royal Irish Rifles. On the day after gunner Byrne’s death his remains were taken from Dunmanway in a Lancia armoured car for transport to Dublin. He is buried in plot ID, South Chapel Section, Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin.

Sergeant Ted Hayes from Clonakilty, who was in charge of a flanking party, was wounded in the head and leg and it was initially reported in the press that he was killed. However, it was later clarified that he was recovering after Doctor Charles Nyhan in Clonakilty had carried out a difficult operation on him, during which he removed a bullet from his brain. One of the anti-treaty ambush party, Jim O’Hara from Kilmeen, suffered leg wounds in the engagement.

As part of their campaign during the War of Independence, the IRA knocked down bridges and trenched roads to stop the British military traffic from getting around. During the Civil War, the anti-treaty IRA used the same tactics against the Free State Army.

Also on Wednesday the 4th of October 1922, a group of anti-treaty IRA men were involved in destroying the bridge on the main road to Bandon, just outside of Timoleague village. After the explosive charge went off, the bridge was still standing. An IRA man called Daniel ‘Sonny’ O’Donovan, from Clogagh village, got into a boat and went underneath the bridge to remove the keystone. As he was working with a crowbar, the bridge collapsed on top of him.

His body was recovered from Courtmacsherry bay months later and he was buried in Clogagh churchyard.

It seems Dan was a bit of a dare devil because during the War of Independence, he once climbed the wall of Timoleague Castle, while it was occupied by British troops and removed the Union Jack.

On the 22nd of October 1922 a patrol of National Army troops were taking dispatches to the army post in Rosscarbery when they were ambushed by a group of anti-treaty IRA on Curragh Hill between Clonakilty and Lisavaird village. One of the soldiers, Daniel O’Sullivan, was hit in the head and shoulders with bullets from a Thompson machine gun and he died at the scene. His body was afterwards taken into O’Donovans Hotel in Clonakilty, which was a National Army post at that time. Daniel O’Sullivan was the eldest son of Thomas Sullivan and Hannah Sheehan of Burgatia, near Rosscarbery. Daniel was born on 1 May 1903 and he worked in a flax-scutching mill before joining the National (Free State) Army. He is buried in the Abbey cemetery in Rosscarbery.

Local historians laid wreaths recently on the graves of Daniel O’Donovan and Daniel O’Sullivan, two local young men who died on opposite sides.

Source “The Local Cost Of Freedom”