Protestant Cork decline 1911-1926 Murders, Mistakes, Myths,and Misinformation updated 14th April 2013


Introduction. 3

The joy of Maths and Statistics. 4

Using online sources to improve evidence. 11

International military perspectives on the War of Independence. 14

Dunmanway Murders April 1922. 15

Protestant flight-evidence from the sources. 21

Compensation claims for loss. 28

Mrs Lindsay, Frank Busteed and Dunmanway. 30

Truth matters more than reputation doesn't it?. 32

The murder of the Hornibrook family. 36

Countries do not have morals, only interests. 41

Conclusion. 42



Since the initial publication of The IRA and its enemies (1998) and the IRA at War (2003) as the considered view of the late Peter Hart the controversy has not abated. John Regan's article in History Ireland[1] re-ignited the debate surrounding what is commonly known as the Dunmanway or Bandon Valley Massacre. It is distracting some scholars from new research no matter how valid the reason for the debate, and another line by line re-examination of the books would prove superfluous. However, it is impossible to avoid discussion of Hart in this debate, and even though this leads to repetition of other work it is necessary to clarify details for the reader.  The purpose of this article is to use new material available on the internet to re-examine some of the evidence and conclusions in these stories.


The habit of researchers referencing the work of previous scholars to make an argument has also lead to errors not only being repeated but amplified. Where an obvious mistake as been made, this is dealt with by return to the original source to confirm the actual position. Finally, some researchers seem addicted to selective quotation to suit their argument, and where this has happened the full quote is provided to allow the reader make up their own mind.


Peter Hart's work has been exhaustively critiqued by the Aubane Historical Society, Meda Ryan, Niall Meehan, and Brian Murphy among others. His work has been defended with equal vigour by others including Jeffery Dudgeon, and Professor David Fitzpatrick.[2] It is an intensely parochial debate focussed almost exclusively on what other Historians are saying, and some of the analysis is intense to the point of tedium. Other disciplines are neither referenced nor considered. It is not that they are difficult to find: ask who else might be interested in the Irish War of Independence, type it into any search engine and you will be more than rewarded with the results. There is a clear divide between the 'trained' and 'untrained' historians in the debate. No single book has generated such parsing, debate, and analysis, but with the advent of internet archives it is now much easier for scholars to make up their own mind by looking at the actual document. This article should not be seen as an attack on Hart, but an attempt to work towards the truth using the main source.


While the 'Peter Hart' debate has become an increasingly bitter dispute among historians, it also points to an opportunity to appeal to the wider public. This will require more focus on teaching historical method rather than research to allow History reach out from the documents in a way it could not possibly hope to do in the past. History needs to be re-engineered, [3]


The joy of Maths and Statistics

Irish Historians and Geographers may have been taught Statistics as an integral part of a degree, but few have a background in maths. This is a function of an Irish education system that sees students weak at science being encouraged into Geography and History. Much of Hart's excellent statistical work in The IRA and its enemies is difficult to follow for non mathematicians, and most people have been willing to take it at face value. This is a difficulty across Irish academia which embraced the computer in the 1980's without the reader really understanding the results. Many scholars ask Mathematicians to check their analysis, but others don't. This may be a critical weakness in Irish research.


The IRA at War; key statistics

In Part IV: Minorities at bay[4] of the IRA at War Peter Hart uses the 34% decline of the non Roman Catholic population in the South of Ireland between 1911 and 1926 to say '...this catastrophic loss was unique to the Southern minority and unprecedented: it represents easily the greatest measurable social change of the revolutionary period, being the only example of the mass displacement of a native ethnic group within the British Isles since the seventeenth century.'[5] While the mass displacement of 1 million native Irish during the Great Famine is ignored, the statement is not supported by the statistic. The reader is invited to conclude that the entire 34% decline was caused only by native Irish born Protestant migration, but it has been known since 1926 that 25% of the decline was non native military migration.[6] It is wrong to conclude that the entire decline was caused by native Protestant migration when it clearly was not. [7] By way of example, 83% of all people reading this who expressed a preference agreed with this point, but how many of those who read it expressed a preference, and how many people read it? As the 34% decline is the starting point for the thesis that there were 'campaigns of what might be called 'ethnic cleansing' in parts of King's and Queen's Counties, South Tipperary, Leitrim, Mayo, Limerick, Westmeath, Louth, and Cork'[8], then it is absolutely vital not to misrepresent it as to do so undermines this argument in the first paragraph.


This leads to further difficulties when applied to Hart's West Cork study area. The Roman Catholic decline for County Cork was 2.9% and the Protestant decline was 43%. In West Cork the Roman Catholic decline was 10% which is significantly greater, and the Protestant decline was 30% which is significantly less. My recent research has shown that the 'excess' Protestant decline in West Cork was 9%.[9] All this information has been freely available since 1926, and should have been the start point for any analysis, and not the tail end. My research on the Church of Ireland in 1986[10] is mentioned in the bibliography of 'The IRA and its enemies'- which is impressive given the obscurity of the Journal of the UCC Geography Society- and showed that the military made up a minimum of 38% of the decline in Cork between 1911 and 1926.[11] This information was not used.


Secondly, Peter Hart states 'Attendance at [Church of Ireland] Sunday Service averaged year by year was higher in 1918 and 1919 than 1911 or 1914. After 1919 attendance fell by 22 per cent, with more than two thirds of the decline taking place in a single year-1922. Methodist congregations in Cork followed an almost identical path, as did congregations throughout the three southern provinces. Methodist membership was higher in 1918, 1919, and 1920 than in 1914, but fell precipitously thereafter. Once again 1921-23 were the crucial years accounting for 74% of the decline'.[12]


This suggests there was dramatic population loss without any explanation other than native Protestants fleeing from IRA violence. In 1911 there were 16,000 British military in Ireland.[13] This had risen to 60,000 by 1919.[14] As the British Army in Ireland was overwhelmingly English and Protestant, and West Cork was flooded with thousands of British troops in 1919-1922[15] it is reasonable to expect an increase at Church of Ireland services in these areas. As neither the 1914 figure nor the 1919 figure is given the only fact presented is that Church of Ireland, and (apparently) Methodist communities lost 22% of their congregations between 1919 and 1923. Hart suggests the Church of Ireland lost 14.52% (66% of the decline) of its congregation in 1922, while Methodists lost 16.28% (74% of the decline) of their congregations between 1921 and 1923.[16] Why is this not the military withdrawal given that 30% of Church of Ireland congregations and 16% of Methodists were foreign born military in 1911?[17] In short, what does it prove?


Furthermore, Hart includes Carrigrohane Union in his West Cork Church of Ireland figures. This parish contained Ballincollig military barracks with its decline of 492[18] and this wildly distorts the figures and timing of the decline because it was evacuated in May 1922.[19]


The figures presented by the Methodists in their history published in 1931 both support and contradict Hart. They show that in the Cork District the local Methodist population dropped by 332 between 1910 and 1915, 94 between 1915 and 1920, and 286 between 1920 and 1925. The information extracted from the article by Dr. Alley in Irish Methodism in the Twentieth Century,[20] for the south of Ireland shows that the steepest declines among local communities occurred between 1910 and 1915 suggesting that the Great War had a far more dramatic effect on Methodism than other religions. This is borne out by other evidence presented in the article pointing to the large number of students from Wesley College in Dublin who joined up, and the fact that many sons of the clergy served in the war. A memorial in the Cork Methodist Church in Douglas lists 24 members of the district[21] who were killed in the Great War and 72 others who served and survived.[22] This apparently excludes the British Army stationed at Cork.


Locally, in Ballymodan parish (South Bandon) there were 373 male members of the Church of Ireland in 1911.[23] 34% were either too young or too old to volunteer for war so this left approximately 245 males between 16 and 70 possibly eligible to sign up. The parish has a similar profile in 1901 91 males from the parish are recorded on two memorials in St. Peter’s Church in Bandon as having served in the Great War, and of these 19 died. This would suggest that 40% of possibly eligible males signed up. As it was unlikely that men over 50 would have been encouraged to enlist, and others would have been declared unfit then it is had to escape the conclusion that all the able bodied men in the parish enlisted. This figure is significantly more than previously assumed and greatly in excess of the equivalent Roman Catholic figure. In Dunmanway 8 local men died in the war including Clarence Buttimer whose father James was shot in April 1922.[24]

Claims of Ethnic Cleansing and sectarianism

These are the most contested of Hart's claims, and we have evidence that at least one IRA commander recognised that there was an element of sectarianism within the Catholic population. In Guerrilla Days in Ireland Tom Barry states 'Alas religious bigotry was not confined to the Protestants for the ignorant and petty minded Catholics too, had their fair share of this ancient curse'.[25] Later in the same book Barry lays out the brutal logic for the destruction of the 'big houses' which it has been suggested were ethnic in origin. The language he uses is couched in terms of the lessons learned from the burning of the Boer houses by the British in 1902. The justification uses exclusively nationalist rhetoric.[26] Simply put the ‘big houses’ were burned to create enough of a storm in the House of Lords to bring about an end to official British reprisals and nationalist house burnings. Barry is being honest when he says that in response to the Bandon based Essex regiment

'They said I was ruthless, daring, savage, blood thirsty, even heartless. The clergy called me and my comrades’ murderers; but the British were met with their own weapons. They had gone in the mire to destroy us and our nation and down after them we had to go.'

There is equally no doubt that he regretted some of the actions he took, but his view was that 'From February 1921 terror would be met with counter terror'.[27] This is the essential logic of guerrilla war.


The general view in the House of Commons throughout the period from 1920 to 1923 was that sectarian relations in the South and West of Ireland were substantially different to Ulster.[28] In August 1920 Lieutenant Commander Kenworthy bizarrely argued against gun licenses stating,

'An hon. and gallant Member representing one of the Southern constituencies in Ireland bears me out in this. His co-religionists in the South and West have left alone the Unionists and Protestants as such, and impartial and fair-minded testimony has been borne to that fact in this House, and by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and others whose words carry weight.'[29]

While there was obvious panic around the time of the murders in April 1922 this was exceptional despite the best efforts of Ulster Unionist M.P.s to suggest that there was a sectarian campaign being conducted against Protestants in the South. Even the House of Lords was almost more concerned with military 'reprisals' four weeks before the Kilmichael ambush than with the campaign of the IRA.[30] On the same day in the Commons a Vote of Censure in Sir Hamar Greenwood's handling of the situation was defeated by 346 votes to 79, but the debate is telling in the way that the opposition destroyed the Irish Secretary's denials of 'Black and Tan' misbehaviour. Greenwood is already talking of generous Home Rule- he only had a problem with the word independence.[31] Even the other 'Treaty’ debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords were characterised more by prophetic worries about the implementation of Ne Temere as a legally binding contract in the South, than with sectarianism[32] However, there was another narrative present from both Ulster Unionist, and Southern unionist members, which pointed to individual massacres and atrocities perpetrated against Protestants based on their religion. Tempers were sometimes short, and robust personal exchanges were not unusual as can be observed in the above debate, especially between the Member for Falls (Joe Devlin), and the Member for Finchley (Colonel Newman)[33]


Peter Hart claims ethnic cleansing?

Peter Hart allegedly claimed that what happened in Cork was an example of ethnic cleansing caused by underlying sectarianism. There is confusion about his use of this phrase, and he appears confused himself. In 2006 he stated I have never argued that “ethnic cleansing” took place in Cork or elsewhere in the 1920's- In fact quite the opposite.[34] On page 246 of The IRA at War he states 'What happened in Southern Ireland did not constitute “ethnic cleansing”'. The reader has been invited to consider that 'campaigns of what might be called 'ethnic cleansing' in parts of King's and Queen's Counties, South Tipperary, Leitrim, Mayo, Limerick, Westmeath, Louth, and Cork took place on page 237, but Hart never actually called it ethnic cleansing. His opponents have concentrated on the 1992 thesis, the 1998 The IRA and it enemies[35], and the 2003 The IRA at War to argue their case, but none seem to be aware of his 1993 article in Cork History & Society, which was published by UCC. He stated 'The gunmen wanted revenge, but they also wanted to exterminate or drive away all Protestants in the area. This idea of a final settlement of old grievances was a common one in 1921 and 1922'.[36] The United Nations definition of Ethnic Cleansing is 'a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas'.[37] What Hart alleges in 1993 is ethnic cleansing, is it not? He is entitled to have revised his position in 1998, and again in 2003, but in his first published article[38] his view is clear.


Peter Hart presents a detailed list of victims in The IRA and its enemies,[39] and suggests why they were attacked. While the details are personally horrific there is still little evidence of a targeted policy of sectarian intimidation by the IRA. Only an idiot would suggest that there was no sectarianism within the IRA, but arguing that it was a main driving force of the war based on the list presented by Hart is stretching the evidence to breaking point and beyond in certain notorious examples.[40] Adapting Boer strategy Collins instigated a policy of making it impossible for the British Military to operate, and discouraged any military contact no matter how innocent.[41] This point has not been given sufficient weight in the debate. Terence McSwiney was actively de-constructing the British state in Cork before his arrest on August 12th 1920. On 14 July 1920 he wrote to Daniel Corkery seeking a General Order requiring all English Justices of the Peace in Ireland to resign.[42] By 25th October 1920 the House of Commons was told that 1,069 out of 5,000 had resigned.[43] This doesn't tell the full story, and in a question on 28th October Sir Hamar Greenwood told Mr. Moles that in the six counties of Ulster up to 30th September 62 out 1,379 had resigned. In Antrim the figure was zero out of 303.[44] This also means that out of the 3,621 Justices of the Peace in the 26 counties 1,007 (27%) had resigned. A 1920 manuscript in the archives details his methodology in winding up the RIC including compulsory resignations organised by deputations visiting their homes and emphasising to their families the necessity of retiring,[45] and extraordinarily asking them to swap sides.[46] 890 RIC had resigned across the country up to 9th August 1920, with 62% taking place from 31st May. According to Niamh Brennan the RIC 'had survived the killing of over 400 members, the injury of 725, and the resignation of almost 2,000', and in June 1922 the Southern Irish Loyalist Relief Association stated 'it had assisted 3,000 RIC men who had fled from Ireland in fear of their lives.'[47]


This was a new type of war. The side who could suffer the most would triumph in the court of public opinion, which is really where the war was fought.  By 1921 anyone who still supported the British no matter how innocuous became, to use that dreadful phrase, 'a legitimate target'. Shooting Alfred Cotter in his mother's house in Ballineen because he was supplying bread[48] to the army in Bandon is an appalling event in any normal society.[49] Yet there is a vicious logic to it. If you can cut off the supply of food to the occupying power then that power cannot function. The same reasoning applied to the railwaymen's refusal to move army supplies around the country. These methods of low-level total warfare by inferior forces were adopted by Ho Chi Minh in the Vietnam War against the vastly superior American forces with similar results.[50]


Using online sources to improve evidence

It would be churlish to criticise Peter Hart's examination of some of his examples, but with the placing of a vast quantity of primary documents online over the past fifteen years it is appropriate to re-examine them. He quotes extensively from the submission of John Bolster Barrett of Kilbrittian to the Irish Grants Committee[51]. This is a key quote as elements of it crop up again and again as a graphic example of the terror. Hart states that the historian must 'always ask in whose interest a statement is made'.[52] The Irish Grants Committee is not explained until later in the book,[53] and as Mr. Bolster Barrett was seeking compensation from the British Government as a loyal victim, it was in his interest to make sure that his difficulties were as dramatic as possible. Hart suggests that Mr. Bolster Barrett's troubles are typical of the IRA war against Protestants, but they are only typical of the IRA war against loyalists.[54]


Mr. Barrett was twice told that 'all the Protestants in West Cork were going to be shot'. He 'therefore had to sleep in the fields' and his wife had to secretly bring him food. The obvious question is not asked. If all Protestants were to be shot why did he leave his wife vulnerable in his house and go into hiding himself? John's Census return for the Barrett family in Laherne (Garretstown) in 1911 shows his brother William Barrett is described as a 'Trooper of South Irish Horse'.[55] This may suggest a more political motive than the strictly sectarian one advanced by Peter Hart, but this evidence is not presented. Hart's own view is to 'look at all the evidence before coming to your conclusion'.[56] He used the 1911 census when researching the people shot in the Dunmanway killings, and it is unfortunate that he did not do so for Barrett.[57] If he had looked at the 1926 census for Laherne he would have found that the Protestant population of the district increased by 7 from 32 to 39 or 21%. The Protestant population of Kilbrittain had declined by seven. The son of the local Protestant RIC Sergeant who died in 1911[58] William Fitzell Blennerhasset Johnston was shot in KIlbrittain on 9 February 1921, and while no reason was given the Cork Constitution thought it was important to also mention the RIC connection along with his religion.[59] Kilbrittian and Laherne 'were a hot zone of republicanism and violence',[60] but that does not seem to have been directed specifically at Protestants.


In the next sub-section ‘How sectarian was the revolution?’ Hart deals with the case of hotelier R.C. (Richard Christopher, or Dick) Williams from Coolcower House in Macroom. Hart states, 'In the Irish revolution an unobtrusive unionist was still a unionist as Richard Williams found out when the IRA burned his house outside Macroom in June 1921. His situation could stand for that of thousands of others'.[61]


Mr. Williams was not an unobtrusive unionist, he was still a Justice of the Peace in 1921, and remained a member of the uncompromising Irish Unionist Alliance after the split with the Anti-Partition League in 1919,[62] which might suggest another motive. Thom's Directory of 1921 shows R.C. Williams was appointed in 1906, and it is a salient and relevant point.[63] Neither the house's strategic position on the River Lee to the south of the town nor the fact that Dick William's hotel was used by the Auxiliaries is considered.[64]  These may be valid motives for the burning, but as they are not presented the reader is not able to decide their relevance.


Dick Williams did not flee, he was compensated[65], the house was rebuilt, and he ran his hotel until the 1950's, when it was sold to the current owners and renamed the Castle Hotel. In December 1923 he was elected Chairman of Macroom Golf Club, and was crucial in purchasing Macroom Castle demesne from Lady Ardilaun for the town golf course. The hurt caused by the anti-Treaty IRA's destruction of her Castle is evident in her reply from her home[66] in St. Stephen's Green. She concludes 'I am pleased to think that at all events the old inhabitants and the best elements in the town grieve with me for this great loss.'[67]


The burning of a Protestant social hall in Bandon has been presented as evidence that the IRA extended its campaign against all Protestants. [68] As always the actual story is both simpler and more complex than this. The original source Liam Deasy[69] actually stated that,

The Allin Institute was a Protestant social hall commanding the main bridge crossing the river in Bandon town, and it was earmarked for enemy occupation. It was a rather substantial building, and had a considerable strategic importance because of its position’.[70]

From a military point of view this is entirely correct. It is still extant today; anyone who stands at its front door will appreciate its strategic importance commanding the bridge, river, railway station and four main roads. Any military commander would have to occupy this building or the Methodist Church on the other side of the bridge.[71] However, it is possible that revenge was also a motive. On April 14/15th 1921 the 1798 monument called the Maid of Eireann on Bandon bridge was destroyed and thrown into the river by Unionists (allegedly members of the Allin Institute) and by the British army using an armoured car.[72] The hall was burned three months later. St Peter's Church of Ireland was broken into in 1924 and the Town Mace was stolen, but there is no suggestion that the motive was anything other than robbery. St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church was similarly desecrated in 1905.[73]


Quality of source

To bolster the Southern Star report quoted by Hart in the example above a friend of Mr. Williams, is quoted, 'They could have left him alone, I suppose, but they didn't leave anyone alone, that's the point’[74] to show that the motive for the attack was sectarian. This is an anonymous quote made in an interview with Peter Hart. In researching this article I interviewed MK, EOL, NL, EOD, and MOC, and they provided me with a wealth of information about Ovens, (where Ballygroman Upper is). They are my mother and aunts. We had a chat for an hour, and I wrote down some of what they said. Anyone who wishes can inspect these notes. I might be telling the truth, but how is the reader going to know?



International military perspectives on the War of Independence

Of course Irish Historians are not the only group to have an abiding interest in the Irish War of Independence. Counter-insurgency and Counter-terrorism specialists regularly review and research the war from the perspective of how the overwhelmingly superior British forces failed to achieve their aims in a Military Operation Other Than War (MOOTW). Writing at the same time as Hart Lieutenant Commander Michael Fierro of the US Navy shows that the effectiveness of the British response changed fundamentally in 1921, but by then ineptitude and failure to accept that they were already at the end-game of an insurgency by 1918 meant that their good work came too late. However, they managed to fight their way back to a draw allowing British politicians to offer less favourable terms than might have been offered in January 1921. As a very different and succinct analysis of the war which draws heavily on  three core sources of Townshend, Bowden, and Mockaitis it gives a dispassionate perspective, and should be essential reading for any student of the period.[75] A military think tank called the Cornwallis Group[76]  held a seminar entitled 'Analysis of Societal Conflict and Counter-Insurgency' in 2009. Gordon Patterson[77] from the U.K. Ministry of Defence argues that the British Government initially underestimated the effectiveness of the IRA campaign in the War of Independence, but by 1921 they had become very successful in limiting the ability of the IRA to operate everywhere outside Cork, West Cork, and Dublin.  He concludes that the critical weakness in the British strategy was not once the War of Independence was under way, but in the period between 1916 and the middle of 1919. He states 'The biggest opportunity was missed during 1917/18 when Sinn Fein were able to claim legitimacy and begin to undermine British institutions. By the time alternative courts and tax raising bodies have formed and are seen as legitimate, an insurgency is deeply rooted and will be extremely difficult to overturn without massively coercive forces'.[78] If he is correct then the War of Independence was a pointless exercise not from the perspective of the Irish, but from the perspective of the British.[79]



Dunmanway Murders April 1922

Between the 26th and 29th of April 1922 nine Protestants were murdered[80] between the towns of Dunmanway and Bandon in West Cork. Another was murdered in Clonakilty, and another was shot and badly injured in Murragh. Three Protestant men disappeared- presumed murdered- from Kilumney thirty miles away in the Lee valley, and four British soldiers were kidnapped, and executed while on intelligence work at Macroom twenty miles north of Dunmanway.[81]



Henry Kingsmill Moore was one of the first to use the term the 'Dunmanway massacre' in his autobiography written in 1930.[82] He stated that it was in response to the Belfast pogroms, and gave details of the events 'from someone who was there'. Tim Pat Coogan ascribed the murders to 'latent sectarianism of centuries of ballads and landlordism' without evidence. Coogan also shows that Diarmuid O Hegarty (Irish Cabinet Secretary) accepted liability 'for the large and increasing number of persons who have been driven from their homes by intimidation', and Hegarty repeated assurances given to the Church of Ireland by Collins that the government would secure 'the restoration of their homes and property to any persons who have been deprived of them by violence and intimidation.'[83] The accepted view was that the murders 'violently in conflict with the traditions and principles of the Republican Army' were an aberration, and a stain on the West Cork IRA.[84] Hart had formed a different opinion from the same documents in 1998.


Looking at the primary sources, Peter Hart rightly recognised the importance of the murders of John Buttimer and James Greenfield in Caher near Ballineen, and quotes their inquest extensively in the IRA and its Enemies. It is relegated in The IRA at War.[85] Others give less weight to Frances Buttimer's account of these murders.

'Frances Buttimer (his wife) stated that she heard noise and shots- Her son said 'we are being attacked', and jumped out of bed. She became weak, but recovered quickly. She met her husband on the landing, and said 'for God's sake get out', and he said 'shure I can't'. Greenfield called on her to stay with him. She came down stairs, and met a man and said 'Where are you going?'. He replied 'Where are the men?' She said ' I do not know. What do you want them for?' He said 'only very little'. She said to him 'Take my house, my money, or myself and spare the men'. She put her hand to his chest to keep him back, and he pushed past her, and went upstairs calling on her husband in a blasphemous manner to come down. She went away from the house and returned after a while[86] and met a man and said 'You have killed them, but you cannot kill their souls'. She went into the house and found her husband dead in a sitting position in Greenfield's room, and Greenfield was dead in bed'.[87]


Anyone who reads her testimony must conclude that the killer was calm, and entirely focussed on his mission. Mrs. Buttimer's bravery in putting her two hands out to bar the way of an armed man who had broken into her home in the middle of the night, and who was looking for 'the men', is sobering. Acknowledging the general prohibition on killing women, it is extraordinary that the gunman did not harm her person in any way, again suggesting that he was focussed only on his mission. The extract speaks for itself: this was not a random killing. The Buttimer family home was targeted for a reason; the killers knew who they wanted; and they apparently pursued the son relentlessly though the source is another anonymous interview.[88]


New evidence from the recent online release of the Bureau of Military History files presents the strongest evidence from inside the IRA. Former GAA president Michael O Donoghue from Cappoquin was an engineering student in UCC and became Engineering Officer for the Cork Brigade. When Tom Hales was released from prison in January 1922 O Donoghue was moved to Bandon and was intimately involved in the 3rd Brigade’s affairs until his transfer to Donegal at the end of March. He, along with Michael O Neill, certainly saved one Black and Tan's life in Bandon in February 1922. His view of the Dunmanway murders was,

Several prominent loyalists - all active members of the anti-Sinn Féin Society in West Cork, and blacklisted as such in I.R.A. Intelligence Records - in Bandon, Clonakilty, Ballineen and Dunmanway, were seized at night by armed men, taken out and killed. Some were hung, most were shot. All were Protestants. This gave the slaughter a sectarian appearance. Religious animosity had nothing whatever to do with it. These people were done to death as a savage, wholesale, murderous reprisal for the murder of Mick O'Neill’.[89]

It will be noted that he states that the killings were murders, and even if those murdered in Dunmanway had passed information during the War of Independence to the British Military as alleged by O Donoghue and some historians this is irrelevant as an amnesty had been granted by both sides once the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in December 1921. Equally, the suggestions that the attacks were carried out by British agents rest on the testimony of Mrs. Alice Gray who recalled that when her husband was shot the killers said 'take that you Free Stater' several times.[90] While there no doubting Mrs. Gray's recollection, there is no evidence trail that leads to the British. The leadership of the IRA were out of the county on 27th April at a final meeting in Dublin to avert the Civil War as reported in the Irish Times on May 2.[91] When they returned the killings stopped.


If we accept Michael O Donoghue’s evidence, and there is no reason not to, then the Dunmanway/Ballineen murders were carried out as a direct targeted murderous reprisal for Michael O Neill’s death. John Borgonovo has privately expressed the view that the killers were working off a list and it is hard to disagree. It is even possible that David Gray was shot in error as he lived next door to James Buttimer. Mr.Buttimer (A prominent Home Ruler) was shot 20 minutes after David Gray according to the inquest report in the Cork and County Eagle. There is no known connection between the kidnapping and murder of four British intelligence officers in Macroom and the Dumanway murders. 


British Cabinet papers[92] for the period (now available online free) and referenced in Calton Younger's Ireland's Civil War[93] published in 1969 show the British Government were shocked but not particularly concerned by the Dunmanway murders. General Macready, Commander-in-Chief Ireland, refers directly to the murders on April 29th, but also says that the situation in the South is improving. Churchill reported on May 16th that the refugee problem was not large in volume, but if the situation became worse there might a large stream of refugees. Lloyd George noted that there had been 37 murders in the South from 6 December 1921 to 30 May 1922 at the cabinet meeting of that date. Churchill told the House of Commons the day before that 'The number of members of the Royal Irish Constabulary murdered since the signing of the Treaty on the 6th December, 1921, is 26, of whom 15 were Roman Catholics and 11 Protestants. The number of ex-members of the force murdered since that date is eight, of whom five were Roman Catholics and three Protestants' across the whole of Ireland.[94] Lloyd George felt while there some merit in holding a Judicial Inquiry into the murders in Belfast one in the South was neither necessary nor appropriate as the IRA had committed those,[95] and the Free State was a dominion so not part of the UK. Hart however claims that out of more than 200 people shot by the IRA in Cork 70 (36%) were Protestant. This would be five times greater than their percentage of the population. He argues that this is evidence that they were targeted for their religion.[96]


Lloyd George got the information on the southern murders from Michael Collins when they met in Downing Street early in the morning on May 30th. He reported that Collins said the Dunmanway murders occurred as a result of the Belfast pogroms, and continued that Collins and Griffith were distressed and angry.

'They talked of the extermination of the Catholics. I retorted that that was a great exaggeration, 80 Catholics have been killed, and 168 wounded since December 6th, 1921. They are considerable figures, but they do not Justify Mr. Collins description. It just happens that 72 Protestants have been killed, and considerable numbers wounded. We could get Mr. Collins to talk of nothing else, and when we were at last able to point out that there had been 37 murders in the South, he replied that this was due to the excited state of feelings provoked by Belfast[97], and that unless something were done the whole of Ireland would get out of hand.'[98]

When asked why he was not giving protection to the RIC and the Unionists, Collins replied 'he does in fact provide protection and prevents many outrages', and behind 'fanatical republicans who were pure in motive' there were 'desperate elements of the population who pursued rapine for private gain'. There was concern on both sides that the situation could deteriorate, but there is no evidence at British Cabinet level that there was any massive flood of refugees. There was undoubted political concern that if any such flow developed it could have a negative effect in the UK, Churchill's suggestion on May 16th that the British might have to set up a Pale around Dublin would probably have brought a few wry smiles around the Cabinet table.


It is easy to conflate personal disasters with general panic and it is a fact that both the Methodist and Church of Ireland Ministers of Dunmanway declared that they had neither been attacked (as reported in early news reports) nor had there ever been sectarian trouble in Dunmanway.[99] The District Council in Bandon declared on May 8th that

'these cruel shootings were contrary to every conception of justice and liberty and to every sentiment of religious and moral obligation to one another,'...many of the men who were most 'wanted' in that strenuous time were sheltered and supported by their Protestant neighbours.[100] There was no more need for fear or alarm. The trouble was at an end, and they hoped to live with their Protestant neighbours in the same friendly spirit as in the past'. [101]

How Bandon District Council was in a position to know that 'the trouble was at an end' is a moot point, but Meda Ryan provides a wealth of verifiable information about the pro and anti Treaty IRA response to the murders across West Cork.[102] This suggests that there was a clear intention to protect the minority after the leadership returned,[103] but no amount of good deeds or good intentions were likely to calm fears when the bloody evidence pointed in the opposite direction. Indeed, when the first reports reached Cork on the 28th April the Cork Corporation declared that while they condemned Michael O Neill's murder they called on 'our men of West Cork to show every conceivable restraint in the present trying circumstances [of Belfast]' and tendered 'our sincerest sympathies for the cruel and unusual murders' of 'Protestant fellow countymen'.[104] The motion was circulated to all public bodies including Cork County Council who objected to 'an insinuation in the Cork Corporation resolution that the shootings of the Protestants were reprisals for Commandant O Neill's death’, but otherwise did not demur.[105] Most other public bodies including Macroom and Skibbereen UDC's adopted the resolution and Roman Catholic Parish priests in Bandon, Castletown Bere and Dunmanway all roundly condemned the murders in the strongest terms.[106] The Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork Dr. Coughlan had telegraphed the parish priest in Enniskeane  to cancel planned confirmations on Sunday May 1st stating that celebrating the sacrament would be an ‘unseemly and painful contrast with the feelings of insecurity and panic in the Protestant community’ as part of a direct forceful condemnation of the murders. He concludes that while the Roman Catholic bishops could not offer physical protection they could offer moral protection and he demanded that all such attacks stop immediately.[107] However, all these fine words were followed by action and guards were placed on many vulnerable homes across West Cork starting with Skibbereen and Bantry as soon as the first hint of the murders reached these areas. Many of those who had 'evicted' Protestant and Catholic 'land-grabbers' in Cork had been arrested, lodged in the county jail, and refused bail by May 19th when the Irish Times reported that that the police were determined to put a stop to such practices.[108] The matter had been raised in the Dail on the same day and Patrick Hogan the Minister for Agriculture said ‘It was bad enough when this thing was dictated by mere greed, but when notices like this are served on Protestants....’. This forced the Anti-treaty side to condemn land confiscations in general. This removed one of their main attractions to the landless who were supporting them. Anti treaty TD Art O Connor replied on behalf of the opposition,

I do not approve of the confiscation of the lands of any individual. The only parties in this country who have any power to order lands to be dealt with in any particular way for the benefit of any individuals, or of the community in general, are the Government of the Republic and that is Dáil Éireann.[109]

All this suggests that the IRA leadership had regained complete control over the region 20 days after the last of the killings.


In another context the Irish Times argued throughout 1922 that what was happening in the South and West was not sectarianism but greed. In this they agreed with Michael Collin's analysis of 30th May. Its leader on October 3rd is a good example,

'We can detect no signs of a 'well organised system' in this campaign of destruction. The ex-Unionists have not been the only victims. They have been the chief victims, because their local isolation and their relatively high standard of prosperity have made them easy marks for lawlessness and greed.'[110]

The Irish Times continued: the vast majority of ex-Unionists had not fled, they were willing to tough it out, and as Irishmen they were willing to serve the new state. Equally, Paul McMahon shows that despite a wide range of pessimistic reports being fed into the British Cabinet and Churchill in particular neither Alfred Cope who was in Dublin working with General Macready on the withdrawal of British troops nor Lionel Curtis who arrived in the country to see for himself on 17th September 1922 could support the pessimistic view with Cope going as far to state that ‘loyalists were not especially victimised’.[111]


Protestant flight-evidence from the sources

There is absolutely no doubt that the murders resulted in a flight of some of the Protestant population from the area. On May 2nd an Irish Times article called Sisters in Sorrow about a meeting at Amiens Street (Connolly) Station between a Dunmanway Protestant woman going to Scotland to give her nerves a rest, and a Belfast Catholic woman returning to Belfast a month after her house was burned typifies the personal tragedies at the heart of the shootings. Another article on the same date noted ten Protestant families arrived from Cork into Belfast on Friday April 28th. They had been left to fend for themselves until helped by a member of the Royal Black Preceptory who took in seven families. The writer also notes press reports that large amounts of Southern Protestants were in Rosslare heading for England. The Irish Times didn't mince its words in its editorial on the same day, 'Nine innocent persons have been done down- apparently for no other reasons than they were Protestants. The public conscience is shocked by this hideous- and in Southern Ireland- unprecedented outbreak of sectarian violence.' [112]


The paper went on to blame the power vacuum for the breakdown of order, and demanded that the Provisional Government take control of the country. The Cork Examiner noted the flight from West Cork on Wednesday 3rd May in a brief report, and the Constitution reported that the preliminary meeting for the Protestant Convention heard that, '...until the recent tragedies in County Cork hostility to Protestants by reason of their religion has been almost, if not wholly, unknown, in the twenty-six counties in which Protestants are a minority'.[113] Locally, Con Connolly leader of the Skibbereen IRA warned on Friday May 5th that 'it has been brought to our knowledge that threatening notices have been sent to protestants warning them to leave this district under pain of death.....we will do all in our power to protect the lives and property of all citizens irrespective of creed'.[114] The same report also provides direct evidence from Bantry of cause and effect between the murders and Protestants fleeing the area. The leader of the local brigade[115] states 'there was no necessity for the wild stampede that took place. Parties that did apply and seek such protection at the barracks did receive it, and ample provision was made and steps taken to ensure that the wave of human destruction did not enter this particular Brigade area'.[116]


On May 12th The Irish Times quoted a leading article in The Morning Post asking did Lloyd George  'form a mental picture of a crowd of refugees streaming into this country with their harrowing stories of murder, outrage, and arson?...It may at any time reach the dimensions of a flood. We are only at the beginnings of the Irish Trouble’. The Morning Post had a very pessimistic view of what the future held stating that 'the true government of Ireland at the present time is a secret society in close touch with our enemies'.[117] On the following day the British Government wrote to the Provisional Government that ‘a large and increasing number of persons who have been driven from their homes by intimidation, or even actual violence, by men acting openly in defiance of the Provisional Government’.


Alice Hodder

The much quoted, and seldom read, Alice Hodder letter[118] clearly refers to ‘Protestant loyalists’ and ‘loyalists’ as opposed to Protestants and the examples she gives of people who had fled are the Williamson family[119] from Mallow who were ordered out in six hours, and the Hayes family of Crosshaven House whose son went to England as a precaution. Both were Justices of the Peace, which as we have already seen meant a declaration of Unionism in the eyes of Republicans. It is interesting that the rest of the Hayes family remained in Crosshaven House until 1973 and the Hodder family still live in Fountainstown House. Despite Mrs. Hodder’s graphic re-telling of the rumours about their murder and her obvious revulsion at what happened these families decided to hold their ground.


In relation to illegal evictions she writes that Johnny Derant was evicted in Fountainstown and when he reported the matter to the Irish Republican police in Carrigaline he was immediately re-instated. She didn’t hold out much hope for his state of mind. Kingston of Gort, Grennan of Fountainstown, Nicholson of Hoddersfield, Mc Locklan, and the previously mentioned Frank Hayes were all visited by the IRA police who told them to ignore notices to quit if they got one and to inform the regular IRA who would presumably provide any necessary protection. Mrs. Hodder is convinced that the impetus for the evictions came from the Trades Union Council in response to farmers reducing wages because of the post-war recession and this was the main cause of ‘land grabbing’. She concludes by saying that Noel Furlong was ordered out and went. This is presumably Noel Furlong of Riverstown.[120] There is an obvious and justifiable fear that the Dunmanway Murders might happen elsewhere, but it is clear that the IRA were determined to maintain order. When the letter finally made it to the Colonial Office on 29th June it was indeed obsolete, as Lionel Curtis observed. The Provisional Government had just taken possession of the Four Courts. It is also noteworthy that the Hodder letter is one of very few direct eyewitness reports in the file. This seems to be at odds with Tim Pat Coogan’s reading of the same file who suggests that there was a large number of similar letters there.[121]


British reactions

Sir Edward Carson eloquently summed it up in a House of Lords debate on May 11th when he asked what loyalists were expected to do,

After being faithful to British rule for all these years, and fighting your battles—and these are the men who did fight—surely it is not much to say: "What do you advise us to do? Do you advise us to stay here till we are shot, or 'til we die of our nerves as a consequence of this terrible treatment, or do you advise us to emigrate to England?’.[122]

The picture painted by Sir Edward is not supported in the Irish Times report of the full Protestant Convention in the Mansion House on the same day.[123] The report reiterates that until the murders in Cork there was little or no sectarianism in the South, but also notes that while murder would always be immediately condemned the cruelty of taking of a man's livelihood tended to excite less protest among citizens.[124] The speaker, Sergeant Hanna, continued ‘unless this campaign of murder, exile, confiscation and destruction of property comes to an end in Southern Ireland an exodus of Protestants must ensue’. He continued that they had been raised from the depths of despair by ‘the prompt and vigorous denunciations of those outrages by individuals throughout the length and breadth of the country’.[125] Roman Catholics wrote in desperation on 4 May 1922 that the Irregulars were ordering leading Protestants out of Castlebar and Ballina (see Mayo threatened attacks on Protestants in Castlebar and Ballina April & May 1922 on this site).

The Convention sent a delegation to Michael Collins as leader of the Provisional Government to find out if Protestants would be welcome in the new state. As was expected Collins answered yes, and furthermore promised to ‘restore everyone who had been a victim to their house and property. If that were not feasible- or wanted- Ireland would pay reasonable compensation’ via the British Government to bone fide claimants. The level of compensation was increased on all claims by 10% in 1925. [126]

This was mostly an urban flight, and it represented approximately 100 to 150 families across West Cork. Some fled to Cork and Kinsale, some fled to Bantry- according to the Bantry estate archives in UCC[127]- some fled to Dublin and Belfast, and some fled to England. No reasonable person in the circumstances would do otherwise. The majority of native West Cork Protestants had returned or remained in place by 1926, and this is especially true in the rural areas.


The Cork and County Eagle (Skibbereen Eagle) and Southern Star recorded some of this Protestant exodus. On May 20th the Dunmanway Doings section of the Southern Star noted that some of those who had fled in late April had returned but many had sold up and left. Clarina Buttimer had instructed the house in Dunmanway to be sold on June 8th, while Killowen Cottage was sold on the 15th June on the instructions of Thomas Bradfield. In the same month the Gray’s Medical Hall in Dunmanway had re-opened under the management of Mr. Owen. However, it must also be stated that other Protestant and Roman Catholic houses and farms were for sale before the murders for a variety of reasons including giving up farming, retiring, moving to better farms in the east of the county, and retired British Military returning to ‘the mainland’, as can be seen from the sales advertising for the month of April 1922. The figures doubled in May and June but this only increased them to eight in the Protestant Unionist Cork and County Eagle where it would be expected most advertisements would be placed. It is of course possible that houses were sold without being advertised.

The Church of Ireland Gazette

I first read the Church of Ireland Gazette in 1986  when I was researching Church of Ireland decline in Cork. As it has been suggested that the Church of Ireland Gazette records a litany of attacks on Protestants in the early part of 1922 and this did not agree with my hazy recollection I re-examined it in March 2013. A careful reading of the bound volume in the Representative Church Body Library suggests that while there were deeply troubling attacks these were not extensive. A clergyman and his family were attacked in Limerick, the same church was broken into twice in twelve months,  nine Protestants were murdered in West Cork (May 5th), there was a campaign of intimidation and forced eviction  initially in Ballinasloe (June 16th) and then in Mullingar, Athenry, Loughrea and the area outside Nenagh, (June 23rd). Possibly most upsetting the tombstones in Kilmacthomas County Waterford were dug up and thrown around. (August 12th) Yet on May 17th St. Finbarries Cathedral in Cork was packed to overflowing for the unveiling of the Great War memorial without incident. Throughout the period the Gazette is demanding fair treatment for Protestants and and makes clear from its first editorial of the year that it recognised the fact that having lost the struggle Southern Unionism no longer existed. As a barometer of minority hopes and fears it is an invaluable source but it must always be remembered that this is a cross-border newspaper and it is as much affected by events in Belfast as elsewhere. On March 24th it declares we must protest with all our hearts against the murder of [Belfast] Roman Catholics. At the same time it goes out of its way to mention the fact that Belfast was a Presbyterian city which was a subtle way of saying that they were responsible for the rioting rather than members of the C of I. Above all its demand is for tolerance between Protestants and Roman Catholics and a demand that all work together as Irishmen. While it might be argued that this is too benign an analysis of the Church Gazette all I can suggest it that other scholars of the period read it for themselves and form their own opinion.


Bishop Dowse of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross

If anyone was going to provide direct evidence of the effect on the Protestant population of the Dunmanway murders Bishop Dowse of the United Diocese of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross in his annual report to the Diocesan Synod in October 1922 would have done so. He stated that six Church of Ireland clergy (and presumably their families) had left for England, but two of them had returned.[128] He called the Dunmanway murders 'ghastly massacres', and highlighted that 'the Cork Roman Catholic Young Men's Association had expressed their utter abhorrence of the terrible murders perpetrated in West Cork, and tendered their sympathy to their fellow countrymen,' along with Cork Corporation, and the Cork Harbour Commissioners. He then states,

'...we could not have wondered had panic seized our people, and a wholesale exodus followed as a result of these events. But such was not the case. With splendid bravery the vast majority held their ground, and went on quietly with their work'.[129]


He acknowledged that some 'have had to leave, but we can never value too highly the courage and resolution of those who have determined to stand fast.'  In the second half of the speech he states that he regretted the course the country had taken 'believing that it was not for her real happiness or prosperity', but looks forward, and sets out the terms of Protestant citizenship in the new state. He says

'our full rights of our citizenship are not to be conceded to us as favours; they are fundamental rights; they are rights attaching to every man, and we recognise with satisfaction that our present government regards them as such'.


He concludes by saying that the right course of action was to continue to remain and expect that 'the future holds days of great opportunity for those who refuse to be cast down.'[130]


Finally, he comes firmly down on the side of law and order and the Free State Government. This is done in the middle of a Civil War and could be regarded as truly courageous or wildly reckless. It would be hard to suggest any of these words are of a cowed and frightened minority and Cork had borne the brunt of the fighting in the War of Independence.  To be blunt, in this speech either Bishop Dowse is lying or he is telling the truth. If he is telling the truth then the vast majority of the Church of Ireland remained in Cork and those who left the county were the Church of England. Virtually all of these were part of the huge British military industrial complex stationed in the county and had to go as their jobs were no longer there.


At the next synod on 14th June 1923 Bishop Dowse is even more explicit, and states that the Church of Ireland had lost 8% of its population in the past 2½ years (Jan 1921- June 1923).[131] While he does not provide a source for this figure each parish was required to submit an annual return of Protestant numbers to the Bishop, and these 'blue sheets' were freely available in the Diocesan Office when I was researching Protestant decline in 1986. This is substantially different to the picture suggested by Hart and is virtually the same as the evidence presented for West Cork in my 2012 History Ireland article. Why are the Bishops figures so different to those published by the CSO in 1926? In short, if there was a 43% decline between 1911 and 1926 and the Bishop only starts mentioning decline in 1922 then why does he only record an 8% decline? The answer is to be found in Cole’s (1902) Church and Parish Records of the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross. Using the same ‘blue sheets’, he explains in Fermoy Union,[132] that the Church population was 460 with a military population which varied between 600 and 1,500. The rector of Kilworth notes ‘an enormous floating population’ of ‘up to 2,000 members of the Church of England’ at the new camp in Kilworth.


The remainder of the speech is again a call to arms and a demand that the members of the Church become part of the 'doing class'.[133]  In 1924 he remarked on the passing of Lord Bandon, and stated that

'he was a man who lived among his people, and loved his native land; that any should be found capable of burning his home and wrecking his life seemed incredible. Yet, this was done, and Ireland's name was stained with crime'.[134]

These words were spoken less than a year after the Civil War. If there had been 'the mass displacement of a native ethnic group' then Bishop Dowse of all people would have said so. It was not his style to do otherwise.


Similarly, writing before the Civil War Lionel Curtis, Secretary to the British government had a more nuanced position than a simple sectarian head count.

To conceive the struggle as religious in character is in any case misleading. Protestants in the south do not complain of persecution on sectarian grounds. If Protestant farmers are murdered, it is not by reason of their religion, but rather because they are under suspicion as loyalists. The distinction is a fine but a real one[135]


Migration to the North-some evidence from Fermanagh


Other evidence from a local census presented to the Boundary Commission in 1925 for Fermanagh[136] shows that slightly more than 2,100 Protestants moved from the Free State to Fermanagh between 1920 and 1925. This was used to support a claim that Fermanagh should remain part of the United Kingdom on the grounds that Protestant numbers were rising and Roman Catholic numbers were falling in a county where the sectarian head count was slightly in favour of Roman Catholics. There is also a suggestion from the 1926 census in Northern Ireland that 14,000 people had migrated from Southern Ireland between 1911 and 1926[137] In Fermanagh 14 families had come from County Cork representing 33 people. This represents 1.6% of the migration stream. It is of note that 11% of the island wide Protestant population lived in County Cork in 1911 so this suggests that Cork Protestants who migrated did not choose Fermanagh as a destination. Much more importantly the census gives the occupations of the migrants: 3 ex-RIC/RUC, 3 teachers, 1 Army pensioner, 1 clerk, 1 postmaster, 1 motor engineer, 1 designer, 2 farmers, 9 wives or no occupation given, and 11 children. As this fragment is the only detailed list of the migration between the Free State and Northern Ireland available it may well be significant that 8 out of the 14 Cork families are directly connected with the British government.  Obviously, why the other six families migrated is of far more importance and when the manuscripts of the 1926 census material for both parts of Ireland become available these will allow a detailed examination of this.


In time of Civil War

This is not to suggest that there was no reason to flee. Of the 30 senators appointed by W. T Cosgrave to the first senate in 1922 16 were ex-Unionists. After the execution of Erskine Childers in November 1922, Senators were warned that unless they resigned they would be targeted. 37 of 60 senators’ homes were burned, (along with that of Mr. Cosgrave) before the end of the Civil War. In the War of Independence period 76 'Big houses' (30 in 1920, 46 in 1921) were burned across the country.[138] Yet many equally large houses nearby were not touched. In Ballygroman DED where the Hornibrooks' house was torched, the Bradfields' house 1,000 metres down the hill and on the main road remained untouched. Even more incredible was the survival of Grange House, and Sirmount House, both of which would have been obvious and highly visible targets for anyone who wanted to make either a reprisal or sectarian statement. These houses were as Protestant as the Hornibrooks, with the Reids of Grange building the local Church of Ireland school and providing the altarware for St. John's Church at Athnowen where Thomas Hornibrook was vestryman. Equally, Kilcaskan Castle and Manch House, three miles west of Ballineen, were unscathed throughout the War of Independence and the Civil War. Why were these prime targets spared? What was it about these Protestants that allowed them to continue unmolested? How did the West Cork and Cork brigades of the IRA make these distinctions?


Some of the house burnings throughout the period were terribly polite affairs. Correal House in Athlone was burned on 14th June 1921 and the IRA 'regretted they had to burn the house, which they believed was about to be commandeered by the military'. All contents were removed over a three hour period, and neighbours brought the goods to safety as the owner Mr. Walker found out when he returned.[139] Other attacks were bestial and savage as Lord Carson reported to the House of Lords on 3rd July 1922[140]  that an affidavit from a householder in Tipperary stated,

On Friday morning, June 22, about 12.30 o'clock, men smashed windows and demanded admittance.The owner says ‘On opening the door I was forced by two men, one of whom levelled a gun at me, into a room adjoining, with an old gentleman, 74 years of age, who lived with us, and they locked us in.’ Three men then entered the bedroom of his wife and all three, she says, outraged her. The whole party ransacked the house; they took everything of value that was portable, throwing everything about.[141]

Despite everything it was clear that by 1923 the Provisional Government was beginning to deal with the collapse of law in the normal way. An alleged IRA attempt to extort money from a bookmaker called Joshua Mullineaux ended in the Dublin Police Court on 24th July 1923, as did an attempt by the Evicted Tenants and Land Settlement Association to redistribute land.[142]


Compensation claims for loss

The first interim report of the Irish Distress Committee on October 16th 1922 shows that less than 2,000 'loyalists' had asked for aid since the committee had been set up in early May that year. Unsurprisingly, at this time the majority of claimants were Roman Catholic with 909 from the South and 91 from the North, which were presumably RIC and Belfast refugees. It was estimated that the denominational breakdown was 50/50 on December 12th 1922, with the majority from the South.[143] However, a clearer picture emerged when the re-named Irish Grants Committee issued its second report on 2nd February 1924. The distress committee had received 7,500 applications of which 5,600 were for immediate assistance, and 4,330 of these were granted. The committee spent £23,943 in loans and grants with an average pay-out of £5. At the same time the British Government paid out £52,256 to the end of April 1923 in compensation. In 1924 the Grants Committee had dealt with 6,621 applications. 3,921 were for finance and there were 2,037 payouts averaging £9. The compensation amount had ballooned to £187,200, and continued to grow with claims being submitted up to 1930.[144] If both years of financial payments are added together this suggests the number of valid refugee claims were 6,367 across the island up to that time. Some of these were multiple claims relating to a single incident or family. The final report of the committee in 1930 stated that claims after the July 1921 truce had come to 4,030[145] with total compensation of £2,188,549 paid averaging £543 per claim.[146]

The Woods-Retton Committee dealt with property loss during the War of Independence, and by 31st March 1924 they had dealt with 10,176 claims with a roughly 50/50 split between both sides in the war. The total awards were £5,704,000 of which £4,360,000 had been paid out. The British Government were judged to be responsible for £2,560,000 with the Irish responsible for the rest. £1,000,000 of this would only be paid out if the premises was rebuilt, and this was a source of continuing anger among victims throughout the period, who formed the view that the committee was trying everything to avoid paying out. In total the committee had received 39,475 claims including duplications, and had dealt with 25,695 by 29th February 1924. They had made 9,473 awards, and were 80% through their work. The claims were all property. Malicious injuries were dealt with separately, and looting claims were not allowed.

For example, Lord Muskerry's home at Springfield Castle in County Limerick was burned on 4th July 1921[147], and he claimed £300,000 compensation for the loss. He was awarded the current market value of £61,500 based on his uncontested evidence in the High Court, and in a contested appeal to the Woods-Retton committee this was reduced to £51,000. His displeasure was obvious in his contributions to the three House of Lords debates on Loyalist compensation in 1924.[148] Yet even in the midst of this he states 'the only protection that has ever been afforded in Ireland was when the republicans were in force in the district. They did try to stop looting, and give protection, but they were well armed men.'[149] This comment has great significance as Lord Muskerry has just provided a litany of damage perpetrated by the self same IRA against him. It clearly shows that far from attempting to drive loyalists out the IRA were doing the opposite, and he had no need to bring this information to the attention of the House of Lords.

The two committees decided to resettle many of the claimants including the Ross family from Cork, who were resident in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire in 1925. While the family expressed interest in a 1,000 acre farm at Castletreasure (just to the south of Cork city) high taxation was a deterrent.[150]  Incidentally, in 1927 Robert Howe's wife Catherine (nee Fuller) was still living in the house where he was shot at Kinneigh, and in a letter discusses her compensation claim with her cousin Edward Fuller,

'I expect to be compensated by the English Government for Bob's murder. It is expected to be paid soon - I made the application more than a year ago. I got £350 a few months ago. It was left to Bob after his sister Annie's death so I claimed it. I don't know what we will get from England, my claim is £4,645 but of course I won't get anything near that.'[151]

Irish Grants Committee claimants came from all religions, many remained in Ireland, and in other cases even when the option to return was available economic imperatives played their part to prevent a return.  It has to be emphasised that these payments were to loyalists and not to Protestants even though many of the recipients were Protestant. While they are an excellent, detailed and personal source care should be taken when attempting to draw generalisations out of them. It is clear that even in Cork they deserve greater scrutiny than they have had thus far.


Mrs Lindsay, Frank Busteed and Dunmanway

The killing of Mrs. Lindsay of Leemount House Coachford is tangential to the West Cork massacre, but regularly appears as Frank Busteed the local IRA commander who claimed responsibility for this was an apparent link between the Dunmanway murders, the Hornibrook 'disappearance', and the British officers murders in Macroom, The linkage depends on who is writing (and when) as Frank is sometimes central and sometimes irrelevant.  At the time Mrs Lindsay's killing was a cause celebre; even reaching Virginia Wolfe's Diary in August 1922,[152] but she is more concerned with the layout and size of the print rather than any comment on the killing.


Mrs Lindsay informed the RIC at Ballincollig that an IRA ambush was planned for Dripsey in January 1921 resulting in the capture and execution of 5 members of the ambush party in Victoria (Collins) Barracks in Cork City in late February.[153] She and her driver James Clarke were kidnapped as hostages and shot in retaliation.


When General Sir Peter Strickland's diaries were placed in the Imperial War Museum, Terence de Vere White wrote an analysis of the Lindsay case for the Irish Times on 17 October 1978, which outlines the sequence of events.[154] Among other comments he showed that Mrs. Lindsay was a regular visitor to General Strickland, and met him on 2nd February 1921 when he 'found her in a great state. Apparently ____________[155] gave the information about, and thinks they know it'. For some reason she was not taken into protective custody at this time, and was kidnapped a few days later. On 27th February the General noted there was much worry re priests and executions. On the same day the Dean (of St. Finbarries) brought her neighbour Mrs. Bowen-Colthurst to see Strickland at Victoria Barracks but her conversation was dismissed with the comment that she is at the same old thing- so I told her nothing. Mrs Bowen-Colthurst had been forced to sell her home and farm at Dripsey in 1920 as a result of a boycott to prevent occupation by her son Captain John Bowen-Colthurst who murdered Francis Sheey-Skeffington during the 1916 rebellion. At the court-martial of the Dripsey IRA she stood up in open court six months after her house was burned to offer a character reference for the accused much to the embarrassment of the court, and the IRA. Three days before the court-martial 350 acres of land were advertised by Mrs. Colthurst for sale by public auction.[156]

The relevance to Hart is that he quotes a conversation between Mrs Lindsay and Frank Busteed recorded in Execution,[157] Hart claims that this is evidence of an insurmountable ethnic barrier, but it is unfortunate that he doesn't continue the quote in which Busteed refers to his mixed Protestant and Catholic heritage.[158]

Listen you old bitch, you think that you are dealing with a bunch of farm labourers, the men who will touch their caps to you and say 'Yes, Madam' and 'No madam'. Well, we're no bunch of down-trodden tame Catholics. [My grandfather was Protestant and my bloody cousins are Protestants all over West Cork. This is not a religious war we're fighting. I don't give a damn for any religion.]

The section in the square bracket is not quoted by Hart, and this turns a nationalist rant into a sectarian one. He also suggests that the chauffeur was shot in revenge and because he was an Ulster Protestant, but it is just as likely that he was shot as he drove Mrs. Lindsay on her fatal mission. The reader will have to make up their own mind on this, but there is little doubt that Mrs. Lindsay did: inform the military, was kidnapped as a hostage, and was shot in retaliation for the (unusual)[159] execution of six IRA members.


Truth matters more than reputation doesn't it?

While there has been great enthusiasm to point out the errors in other people's research in the debate surrounding the Dunmanway killings- many of which are accurate- the motive appears to be to tear down the arguments of the other researcher rather than working towards the truth. If mistakes occur they should be pointed out and corrected: this should not result in a call to war.[160] However, if any researcher comes across new information that adds to or changes current thinking, then are they not honour bound to present that information fairly even if it damages their own argument and reputation.

  1. The census commissioners in 1911 and 1926 had a habit of placing a statistical table in one part of the census, and not referencing it in another part of the report. Researchers could happily read through the entire General Report of the 1911 census and there is no breakdown of the Anglican/Episcopalian community. The Episcopalian population of Ireland was broken down into Church of Ireland and Church of England in the Preliminary Report of the 1911 census,[161] This would have proved invaluable in 1926 when the Central Statistics Office were attempting to estimate the military and non-Irish element of the decline, but they clearly were not aware of it.[162]
  2. Neither were they aware of the denominational breakdown of towns with more than 1,500 population in the General Report, as they note that this information was not available for Dunmanway in 1911. As it turns out it was not only available for 1911, but 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 as well. As a result the conclusions drawn, for Dunmanway district in 'Ethnic Cleansing?- Protestant Decline in West Cork 1911-1926', must be modified.[163] Dunmanway town's Protestant population declined by 107 from 236 or 45%, and the previous article downplayed Dunmanway's urban losses[164].  This new evidence shows that flight from the town must have been a significant factor as the Roman Catholic population increased by 3%. Because of the centrality of Dunmanway to the debate about Peter Hart's research the small size of the 1911 population should allow individual analysis to work out precisely what happened when the 1926 census appears. A reasonable estimate can be made from Guy's Directory for 1914, 1921, and 1924 (all available in Cork City Library), and these suggest that 12 families[165] left between 1921 and 1924 though Guy's is not comprehensive.[166] The Protestant postmaster was replaced by a Roman Catholic: the Protestant Clerk of Petty Sessions was replaced by a Roman Catholic District Court Clerk, and of course there had been three murders. This is not to suggest that Protestant meant Unionist, but if you remained a local servant of the British State as late as 1921 it was unlikely that you would retain your position once independence was granted.[167] However, the Protestant population of the town had declined by 71 between 1901 and 1911 (23%), while the Roman Catholic population declined from 1,469 to 1,383 (9.4%) so it is important not to overstate these statistics. The rate of Protestant annual decline was unchanged between 1901 and 1926. Equally, the rural decline for Dunmanway North and South DEDs is four between 1911 and 1926, which is 1.8%, and suggests a very different rural dynamic in play.
  3. Gerard Murphy's The year of disappearances website states that three Protestants were killed in Innishannon namely Edward Olliffe, Fred Stenning, and Colonel Warren Peacocke, and they were reported in the History Ireland 'Ethnic Cleansing' article as three ex-soldiers. In fact, Fred Stenning was the estate sub-agent for the Frewen estate, and was responsible for collecting the rents in the village. He was 55 when he was shot on the 30th March 1921.[168] His son also called Fredrick was killed in the Great War[169], so the Fred Stenning shot by the IRA was not an ex-soldier in the normally accepted sense of the word. Edward Olliffe who disappeared on 10th July 1921 is noted in the list of the missing given to the British Parliament in August 1922, but appears nowhere else. Gerard Murphy had suggested that he was 18 when he disappeared just after the truce, and assumed he was murdered.[170] It is now agreed that Edward Olliffe from Innishannon arrived into New York aboard the Cedric from Liverpool on 26th November 1922 en route to his uncle in California so it appears that he emigrated. The possibility that his father also called Edward[171] was the victim has been discounted as he died in 1941 according to Murphy.[172] On May 30th Colonel Warren Peacocke was shot in his garage by two IRA members. According to the newspaper reports and the Parliamentary debate on the matter he resisted the theft of the car, and was shot dead.[173] The IRA stated that he was working with the Essex Regiment in the area, and he was secretary of the Cork Branch of the Irish Unionist Alliance in 1920. Tom Barry does not name him in Guerilla Days in Ireland, but gives enough details to leave no doubt that informer 'C' is Peacocke.[174] According to Barry four Black and Tans were guarding the house on the night of the killing, but although they opened fire the two members of the IRA were not pursued. On December 12th 1921 Mrs Ethel Peacocke wrote from Coombe House, Bruton, Somerset in England and protested at the Treaty. She outlined a litany of suffering[175] and concluded 'Is there no statesman left', she asks, 'to say a word for the despised and persecuted loyalists?' This is a political complaint rather than a sectarian one.
  4. While the dramatic losses in Innishannon were considered in Ethnic Cleansing? - Protestant Decline in West Cork there was an obvious gap in the explanation. Further research has identified that seven loyalists (not all Protestant) houses were burned between the 16th and 24th June 1921. Mrs. Esther Peacocke's house was burned out two weeks after her son's shooting on June 14th.[176]  Castlebernard- Lord Bandon's home- was burned on the 21st. Mrs. Stephenson's house at Castlecor. Colonel Godley's Riverview, the empty home of Fred Stenning owned by the Frewen estate, Michael Dennehy's (JP) home, and Brigader General Caulfield's rented home at Innishannon House (also part of the Frewen Estate) were burned over the next two days.[177]  On June 29th Mayfield House just outside Bandon, which was owned by H. R. Poole, was also destroyed.[178] As these were all estate houses this meant that the mainly Protestant staff also lost their jobs. I have previously stated that in Kilbrittain Coolmaine Castle owned by A.E. Heard (DM JP), who had retired to here, was also burned on the 16th June. This is not true. As it turns out the Southern Star  issued a correction on 18th June 1921 that the fire here was in fact a furze break which led to the wrong report elsewhere in the paper on the same date. The castle was sold in 1925. At Upton, two miles north of Innishannon, the homes of William Beazley, Charles Harold and Mrs Eileen O Mahoney[179] were burned on or before 23 April 1921.[180] This would help explain why the Protestant population declined from 237 to 87 in 15 years.  Ryecourt, Warren's Court, Crookstown House, Coolcower House and Mount Massey[181] all near Macroom were also burned between the 14th and the 16th.  Barry makes clear that this was an organised policy of reprisal against Britishers and known loyalists.[182] Many of these home owners were also members of the Irish Unionist Alliance.[183
  5. [‘During the past two and a half years our population has declined by 8%. It is serious, but does not call for despair.] Many of our people have gone. Neither we nor their country could afford to lose them. Their homes have been burned. Destruction has marched through the land. [The ruins of Ireland may well make all who love her weep. But notwithstanding all our losses we are not going to be chilled in inactivity, or give way to depression']. 
  • The middle sentences of this quote from Bishop Charles Dowse’s address to the Cork Diocesan Synod in June 1923 are used by Professor Brian Walker Queens University Belfast's Politics Department to suggest that these 'reports in The Irish Times reveal a harrowing picture of what many members of the Protestant community experienced at this time'. As has already been shown Bishop Dowse had a very different view to that suggested by Professor Walker. Two paragraphs later the Bishop is at pains to point out that they have 'lived in friendliness and good-fellowship with their Roman Catholic neighbours, and Roman Catholics and Churchmen have proved mutually helpful to each other all over the diocese', For some reason- probably due to lack of space- the Professor’s letter does not refer to this nor note that the extent of the losses are much less than suggested by the headline figure of 43%. The letter is used by DUP MLA Nelson McCausland Minister for Social Development in the Northern Irish Assembly to state,

'For too long this period of Irish history has been largely ignored. In recent years there has been a growing acknowledgement of the persecution of Protestants in southern Ireland in the 1920s but there is much more that needs to be done to research this era. A lot of attention has been focussed on the situation of Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland but much less on the plight of the Protestant minority in southern Ireland and the sectarian persecution directed against them by Irish republicans.'

It is clear that Mr. McCausland has been misled by Professor Walker's letter. Is it possible that any of those who left did so because they of their politics rather than their religion? Is it possible that Bishop Dowse it not telling the truth? Or is it possible that the man on the ground in the middle of the maelstrom is closer to the truth than those who quote him poorly 89 years later? As always Professor Walker, and Mr. Mc Causland are invited to comment if they so wish, and any amendment will [184]be included here.
6. I was originally critical of Peter Hart's suggestion that some of the Hornibrook's were hung as there was no documentary evidence for this. The family who saw Herbert Woods captured suggested he was half hung between the staves of a cart before being dragged behind the Hornibrook's car. As there is now other suggestions that the three men were well treated after their capture there is an obvious conflict of evidence. There are at least three different sets of rumours an facts between Ballygroman, Templemartin, and Newcestown. All are second hand in that the local historians are reporting information passed on to the children of the witnesses and then reported to them. There is however little doubt as to what happened to the Hornibrook family.

The murder of the Hornibrook family

Peter Hart states the trigger for the 'sectarian' massacre in Dunmanway was the disappearance of Thomas Henry Hornibrook, his son Samuel, and his apparent nephew/son-in-law Herbert Woods.[185] He states that the rest of the killings were random murders of innocent Protestants by up to five different groups of killers- some of whom appeared to be drunk- in response or retaliation for Michael O Neill's murder.[186] The Acting Commandant of the West Cork Brigade based in Bandon drove Charlie O' Donoghue, Stephen O'Neill, and Michael Hurley  to the Hornibrook House in Ballygroman Upper arriving at 2.30 am on the morning of the 26th of April 1922. Unsurprisingly, the Hornibrooks refused to let them in, so they broke in and Michael O Neill was shot on the stairs. He died on the roadside about 500 metres north of the Hornibrook house on the main Kilumney to Bandon Road. A small cross marks the spot about 1 km south of Kilumney. Charlie O Donoghue immediately motored to Bandon and returned with 4 other officers and confronted Woods, who admitted that he shot O Neill. The following morning Woods was declared to have murdered Michael O Neill at an inquest in Bandon.[187] O Donoghue would be seen these days as 'a person of interest to the Gardai' in the disappearance of the Hornibrooks as he is the last person known to see them alive. These are the known facts according to Charlie O Donoghue, Daniel O Neill-Michael’s brother and District Inspector Irish Republican Police and Stephen O Neill-no relation- at the inquest.


New information from inside the IRA is now available online in the witness statement of Michael O Donoghue (later President of the GAA) who stated in 1951 that,

Poor Mick O'Neill A grand chivalrous warrior of the I.R.A. Less than two months later, he called at the house of a British loyalist, named Hornibrook, to get help for a broken-down motor. As he knocked on the door, he was treacherously shot dead without the slightest warning by a bidden hand from inside the house. The I.R.A in Bandon were alerted. The house was surrounded. Under threat of bombing and burning, the inmates surrendered- Three men, Hornibrook, his son and son-in-law, a Captain Woods. The latter, a British Secret Service agent, confessed to firing the fatal shot, why? God alone knows. None of the three knew O'Neill or he them. probably Woods got scared at seeing the strange young man in I.R.A. attire knocking, thought he was cornered and fired at him in a panic’.[188]


Hart emphasises that O Donoghue returned with rope, which implies that someone was going to be tied up or hanged. The evidence for this is an anonymous interview, local folklore and now Michael O'Donoghue's statement which says that some of the victims of the Dunmanway murders were 'hung' and as all the recovered bodies were shot then only the Hornibrooks could have bee hanged. Anyone in the area would know this folklore, and Hart acknowledges that it is folklore in The IRA and its Enemies.[189] The rumour was also told to the later owner of Ballygroman House, and his source was Father Crowley the locally born parish priest of Ovens who was four at the time of the shootings (see below). .[190]

No person working with the sources of 1988 could have expected to unearth the information which is now easily available online about the Hornibrook/Woods family. There has been confusion about the relationships within the Hornibrook family, and it seems reasonable to clarify these. Alice Hodder was definite that Herbert Woods was their nephew in her letter to Lionel Curtis (British Cabinet Secretary).[192] The 1911 Census shows a Herbert Woods (aged 18) living with his uncle Edward Woods, and his aunt Matilda Warmington Woods (24) in Crosses Green Cork.[193] They were wine and spirit merchants. The census shows that Edward and Matilda married in 1909. Samuel Wood Hornibrook, Edward Mannington (sic?) Hornibrook and Matilda W. Hornibrook (14) appear in the 1901 Hornibrook household return at Ballygroman Upper. At that time Herbert Woods (9) is living in York Street, Rathmines with the Woods family who had moved there from Cork.


At no stage in any court report does she make any attempt to claim the Herbert Woods estate. Matilda describes Herbert Woods as their nephew, but fails to say who 'they' are in the 1927 report. As it turns out there should have been no confusion whatsoever; Matilda Woods clearly states that Herbert was her husband Edward's nephew in her Statement of Claim to the Irish Grants Committee.[194] Woods is called son-in-law by Peter Hart, and nephew by Alice Hodder within a couple of lines and almost everyone[195] repeats the contradiction without comment despite many having read both the Woods Statement of Claim and the Alice Hodder letter. Meda Ryan inserts [Herbert Woods] into the sentence My husband [Herbert Woods] and I were always staunch loyalists in the Statement of Claim, though she quotes directly from the same Statement of Claim that says Herbert was her husband's nephew.[196] Do editors read what people have written, or is this so unimportant a point that it doesn't need clarifying? What standard are we expected to apply? If something so basic cannot be got right, then how are we to have confidence in the rest of the research?[197]


Incidentally, in 1907 according to the Woodford Bourne archive in University College Cork the Nicholson family who were wine and spirit merchants in the city from 1829 to 1978 ended a trusteeship for the Hornibrook family,

Release made between Matilda W. Hornibrook, Ovens, Co. Cork, in the first part, Edward W. Hornibrook, Ballygroman House, Ovens, in the second part, James A. Nicholson (Merchant), Bellevue, Cork city, in the third part, and Frederick Nicholson (Merchant), Lochair, Co. Cork, in the fourth part. The Nicholsons convey a piece of ground on the north side of Elm Road, Thornton Heath, in the Parish of Croydon, Surrey, and the houses built on this land, held in trust for the Hornibrooks, who have now reached mature age.[198]

Matilda states that she had no independent means in her statement of claim in 1927 so presumably this property now belonged to Edward. Mr. Nicholson, was condemned as a spy by Din-Din O'Riordan, and allegedly[199] shot in late 1920 by the ubiquitous Frank Busteed . Din-Din said that,

'he had been recruited by another IRA man who worked for Mr Nicholson of Woodford Bournes and that he got money from Mr Nicholson. According to O' Callaghan, the Cork No. 1 Brigade IRA got information from Josephine Marchmont Brown (who worked in Victoria Barracks for Capt Kelley, I/O) that Nicholson was part of an Anti-Sinn Féin Society and they shot him and the IRA man who worked for him. Three other businessmen (Alfred Reilly, Harrison Beal and George Tilson) were subsequently shot by the IRA as spies'[200]

James Adams Nicholson died on 20th July 1920 aged 88, and was succeeded by Fredrick Norman Nicholson who died in 1976, according the firm's history- The Story of Woodford Bourne.[201] Therefore no Nicholson was shot, but James Charles Beale who was a manager in the firm was shot on 16th February 1921. His father-in-law and brother-in-law Frederick and James Blemens were abducted, and killed on 29th November 1920 as members of the 'Anti Sinn Fein Society'. The firm were also victims of the change of government, and lost the Victoria Barracks contract. This resulted in an annual profit of £6,200[202] reported in February 1923 becoming a £110 loss in February 1924.

The Irish Times reports on 3 April 1923 'Three men taken from home-never heard of again'[203] which is a description by Matilda Woods in a probate application about the murder of her father Thomas Hornibrook, J.P.[204] and his two companions (unnamed in the report). Presumably the transcript of the case is now in the National Archives. She was living in Glenbrae on the Cross Douglas Road in Cork at the time of this court report,[205] and granted probate of the Thomas Hornibrook estate including the house and land as confirmed by the Irish Grants Committee submission. While there have been suggestions that the lands were seized by the Irish Free State,[206] this is clearly untrue. There is no doubt that she was given the farm and the house along with her brother Thomas H. Hornibrook who lived overseas in 1923[207].  In her statement of claim she states that when she called to the house in July 1926 with Edward it was derelict and that the trees and fences had been cut down. In a 1928 report titled 'Taken away by armed party' she probates the estate of Samuel Hornibrook through an affidavit before Justice Hanna. This second probate hearing discloses that Matilda is his half-sister, and generally summarises what happened again.[208] The graphic details that appear in her claim for damages before the Grants Commission in London are mentioned in no court report which presumably means they were not revealed by Matilda.



 A number of days after the publication of 'Ethnic cleansing?- Protestant Decline in West Cork, 1911-1926' my doctor stopped me in the local supermarket and informed me that he had owned Ballygroman house for a short time in the 1990's. He had collected a number of pieces of information about the history of the house. The day after he moved in he was told the Hornibrook story with the injunction that he should get a mass said 'as there was terrible murder done here'. He states that subsequent owners believed that the house was haunted. He had read the deeds, and had noted that Matilda Warmington Woods had owned the house after the 1923 probate case. He also stated that he had found a carpenter’s mark in the attic dated 1929, which means the house was re-roofed at this time-after the Irish Grants Committee compensation claim in 1927. He further states that he noticed a piece of Queen Anne furniture in the cottage of someone associated with the house- which may or may not mean anything but he thought it was relevant. Most interestingly he states that at a 'Station' in a house in the parish in 1925 the parish priest was served his meal on the best china- as was normal. Before he ate a bite he got up from the table and left, which would be seen as a terrible insult to his parishioners. The crest on the china was the Hornibrook crest, and the source was Father Crowley. While I have not given his name this is to protect his privacy, but I am sure if I asked him he would be willing to go on the record or at least talk to other researchers.


After he sold the house he was invited to dinner which turned out to be a cover for discussing the history of Ballygroman, and this story appeared in the Cork Hollybough, 2002 written by R D Kearney[209]. Kearney states that 'a retired British Army Major named Hornibrook lived there with his wife, son, daughter and her husband Capt. Woods'.  He later states 'After some negotiations the mother, daughter and maid were allowed to go free, but the three men were reportedly subjected to violent torture before being taken to a secret location where they were summarily court-marshalled (sic) and executed'. Thomas Hornibrook was a widower in 1911, and Matilda was married to Edward Woods who lived in Crosses Green, This version of events is both incorrect and unprovable.


Robert Kearney is the source for the article written by Eoghan Harris 'Digging up the Hidden Ireland'[210], where Harris suggests that both Protestants and Catholics have conspired to hush up the details of this crime. While it is certain that Mr. Harris writes in good faith his source appears to have based some of his reconstruction of the murders on rumours discussed around a dinner table. When the house was advertised for sale in the Weekend supplement of The Examiner in 1997 Mary Leland referred to the murders, and noted the facts that Mrs. Hornibrook still owned the house until replaced by Matilda Woods who was described as occupier on the deeds in 1927. Ms. Leland referred to the rumours of torture with the observation that rumours feed on misinformation.[211] It is difficult to disagree with this assessment by one of Cork's most careful and well respected journalists.

Countries do not have morals, only interests

Finally, a valid question has been asked as to why nobody was ever charged with any of the murders. The answer appears to lie in a letter written by President William T. Cosgrave to the British Cabinet in November 1922 (during the Civil War) talking about the intelligence officers murders in Macroom.

'All our efforts to trace the perpetrators on our side of these crimes have failed up to the present. In all the circumstances of the time we have felt compelled to reject as impracticable the holding of any immediate enquiry into the circumstances of the individual cases. We do not, however, intend to lose sight of the matter, and when we discover, as we shall strive to discover, the persons responsible, it is our determination to bring them to justice. We have considered the question of compensation in the cases for which it appears that our nationals were responsible. We have decided that, the other parties being willing, the best way of assessing the compensation which we propose to pay is to submit the cases to Messrs. Howell, Thomas and Dowdall (members of Lord Shaw's Commission nominated by the two Governments), and (if this course be approved) to request them to enquire into the facts and to submit recommendations as to the amounts which ought to be paid.'

The Duke of Devonshire recommended to the British Cabinet that it should accept Cosgrave's proposals with the following comment;

'I am therefore disposed to agree that at the present time compensation is the only way in which reparation for crimes committed in breach of the truce can be made. This frank acknowledgement of the detestable character of these crimes may be some comfort to the parents of the murdered officers, and I propose to send them copies of Mr. Cosgrave's letter, unless my colleagues inform me of any objection to that course'.[212]

This was accepted by the British Cabinet. Politics is the art of the possible, and this was politics at the highest, most practical and brutal level between the two countries.



This article aims to correct our understanding of the issue through using new resources online to improve older research. As much written about this topic has either been incompletely researched, unverifiable, or supposition dressed up as fact, it is difficult to winnow out the fact from the fiction. It has often been necessary to return to the original source to examine its accuracy. To their credit those who have followed standard academic referencing to a verifiable source allowed this process to happen; the unverifiable sources should not be treated as being anything other than hearsay.


The War of Independence was driven by nationalism, and as 1921 continued it descended into the mire of a bloody war of reprisals. While this may revolt some people, and others may question the need for it; the people involved at the time had no idea if they were going to win or lose. If they had known the outcome they may have stayed their hand. Equally, if they had not pursued the savage course they took would the British have offered a truce. Was the impetus for truce the fact that the Ulster Unionists had secured partition? These are the questions that need answering.


The Dunmanway killings are different in that they occurred after independence. The Irish State failed to protect its citizens. No evidence has been produced to suggest that the IRA garrison attempted to leave the barracks and take control of the town, and at the very least this was a dereliction of duty. All we do know for certain is that 16 Protestants and one Catholic[213] were shot or disappeared in West Cork over a three day period. Others of both main faiths were shot at or targeted for shooting. We know who shot four of them in Macroom, and we can suspect who may have shot the others. However, there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with the killings. The murders were denounced by both sides of Sinn Fein, and vulnerable citizens were protected by the local Anti-treaty IRA. Civilians, and military were warned they would be shot if they didn't hand in all guns to the local IRA commanders throughout the area.[214] The killings resulted in the emigration of a small number of native Church of Ireland and other Protestant members from the county, but the contemporary Protestant sources stubbornly refuse to suggest a sectarian pogrom; Bolshevik certainly, agrarian definitely, nationalist undoubtedly but sectarian exceptionally.


There is no justification for the actual Dunmanway killings. Even if each and every one of the men shot were informers they had been granted amnesty by the truce. If they had breached the truce then they should have been brought before a court of law and tried. Whatever the reason for their killings, if the IRA were involved then it was a betrayal of their oath to the Republic. However to use this event to argue that there was a sustained campaign against Protestants because of their religion is not supported by any of the evidence from the time Protestant, Catholic, or Dissenter.


The murders had a destabilising effect on a community already concerned about a deteriorating situation, and there was an exodus from West Cork immediately after them. This was relatively short-lived but as the situation further deteriorated with the outbreak of civil war then some of this migration flow decided to stay where they were rather than return. No reasonable person would expect them to do otherwise and Bishop Dowse sets the figure for the entire War of Independence/ Civil War period at 8% of native Irish Protestants. The evidence supports him. Wild claims that the figure was much greater is based on a poor understanding of what the statistics presented in 1926 actually meant, and sloppy research to be charitable.


It is important neither to understate nor overstate what happened in the revolutionary period. This was a savage period in Irish history. A vicious war using methods which eschewed the norms of war up to that point was fought to a draw in July 1921. This was followed by an even more savage Civil War, which led to a complete breakdown of law. Those with property, and known Treaty supporters were most at risk, and ex-Unionists fell in to both these categories. The new Irish state did its best to protect all of its citizens, and yet there were appalling atrocities committed. The evidence does not support the theory that Protestants were targeted because of their religion. Historians are entitled to speculate, but in this case has the speculation run away with the story? Is it time to stop this pointless debate, and write true history?

Lest there be any doubt (and for the benefit of Jeffery Dudgeon in particular) the words 'pointless debate' refers to the first paragraph of this article and nothing else.

[1]   Regan John (2012) Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde in History Ireland 20(1) January/February Pages 10-13

[2]   All of this is considered in John Regan's article 'The Bandon Valley Massacre as a historical problem' in History Vol. 97:325 available online. Professor David Fitzpatrick's riposte 'Dr. Regan Dr. Jekell and Mr. Snide' is in History Ireland , 20(2) May/June Pages 12-13.

[3]   For example most references in this article come from the Irish Times. This is because their archive is the most accessible to the general public, and is free in Public Libraries, and Schools. Other newspapers have similar reports.

[4]   Hart (2003) Pages 223-258

[5]    Hart (2003), Page 223.

[6]    Ireland ,(1926) Census of Ireland , Volume X, p. 46

[7]   Hart (2003) Page 227: Footnote 14. Hart also states that a great proportion of Army wives and children were Roman Catholic and 'far more than an alien 'garrison': these were overwhelming Irish...'. This is entirely wrong for Cork. The online 1911 census shows in Ballincollig that out of 40 military families in the DED there were 2 Protestant/Roman Catholic mixed marriages, and in Fermoy out of 165 Church of England married soldiers 6 were in Roman Catholic mixed marriages. These figures exclude the huge number of single Protestant soldiers in both towns. Maguire, Martin (2002), 'Our People: the Church of Ireland and the culture of community in Dublin since Disestablishment’ In: The Laity and the Church of Ireland, 1000-2000,  Four Courts Press, Dublin, pp. 277-303 found the figures for Dublin were higher at 18%.

[8]   Hart (2003), Page 237.

[9]   Keane B. (2012) in History Ireland 20(2) March  'Ethnic Cleansing?- Protestant decline in West Cork between 1911 and 1926', Pp. 35-38. The Protestant population in West Cork declined by 1,200 for reasons other than expected economic decline and British military withdrawal.  West Cork includes Kinsale, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Schull, Banrty, Dunmanway and  Bandon Rural Districts.

[10] Keane  B. (1986) The Church of Ireland decline in County Cork 1911-1926, Chimera; The UCC Geographical Society Journal Vol. 2 Pages 53-59

[11] In 1911 there were up to 10,714 non native Protestants in Cork, and the total Protestant decline was 14,770. Most non natives were British military, and were forced to follow their job. Keane (2012) op cit. See especially Pie Chart on page 36.

[12] Hart (2003) Page 225-226

[13] Census, Ireland, 1926, General report Vol. X page 46.

[15] In West Cork the Workhouse was taken over by the British Military to create a barracks where none had existed. If this was not available or was burned out on of the local 'big houses' was commandeered as happened in Millstreet when Mount Leader became the barracks.

[16] This does not agree with the figures published in the Methodist Church history quoted below, which suggest that the 40% of the total decline occurred between 1920 and 1925. The figures are 1900: 1871,1905:1864, 1910: 1842, 1915: 1510, 1920: 1422, 1925: 1136, 1929: 1116

[17] Keane (2012) op cit

[18]          587 to 95

[19] The religious make up of the Ballincollig barracks in 1911 was RC: 33, C of E: 447, C of I: 11, Presbyterian: 17, Methodists: 11, Online Census, 1911. Hart (2003) P. 227 states 'they [British army] played no part in the West Cork figures'. This is simply untrue.

[20] Mc Crea Rev. Alexander (1931), Irish Methodism in the Twentieth Century, A Symposium, Belfast  accessible online

[21] The district included the three Methodist circuits of Queenstown, Cork, and Skibbereen according to Guy’s Almanac 1921.  There were few if any native Methodists in North and East Cork.

[22] The memorial was originally inside the front door of the Wesleyan Church on St. Patrick's Street until the congregation moved to Ardfallan in 1989.

[23]    To work out this figure requires adding the figures for Ballymodan DED to those streets inside Bandon town on the south side of the river in the online census.

[24]    See Clarence Buttimer, Sackville Street, Dunmanway Census 1901 & Canadian Great War Project Son of James and Clara Buttimer. Born Dunmanway 7th 1893 and died 10 November 1918.

[25] Barry, (1949) Page 113

[26] Barry, (1949) 'Fire with Fire' Pp. 114-119

[27] Barry, (1949) Page 99

[28] See Hansard Online: any search term including Protestant Ireland or Ne Temere will lead to the relevant debates.

[30] The Marquis of Crewe highlighted the destruction of Mr. Cole's jewellery shop in Fermoy. 'I know of no reason why the troops should attack my shop. I am a loyalist and North of Ireland Protestant, and have always been on friendly terms with the officers and men.'

[32] It is of course a great irony that it was a British Court that accepted the legality of the contract at the heart of Ne Temere where the children of a mixed marriage all had to be brought up as Roman Catholics.

[33] Colonel Newman's House was burned on the orders of the Headquarters, Cork, No. 2 Brigade. 29th June, 1921. Major Newman, Newberry Manor. Owing to the recent destruction of several houses in this brigade area, I do now hereby order your house to be destroyed. He reported to the House of Commons that he had received £25,000 to rebuild his house as it was, on 24 February 1922 HC Deb vol 150. Of course he couldn't resist suggesting that bombs stored by the IRA had destroyed St. Patrick's Street in Cork.

[34] Peter Hart (2006) Letter to Irish Times 6th  June

[35] Hart (1998) Page 288 Hart states 'The gunmen, it may be inferred, did not seek merely to punish Protestants, but to drive them out altogether.'.

[36] Peter Hart (1993) 'Class Community, and the Irish Republican Army in Cork' in Cork: History & Society Flanagan & Buttimer (eds.) Page 980.


[38] Post thesis article

[39] Hart (1998) Pp. 293- 314

[40] See also Hart's treatment of Frank Busteed's conversation with Mrs Lindsay cited below, and his chapter on the Hornibrook's in The IRA at War (1998) pp 279-282. If you exclude all supposition, and presumption you are left with very few facts, and these facts are in many cases incorrect.

[41] Irish Times October 1st  1919, Page 6, Col. 5,  Notices in Tipperary, Clare, and Cork warning that any friendship or communication no matter how innocent with enemy military and police would be regarded as High Treason.

[42] Mc Swiney Papers CCCA P4/4/62 P4/4/63 P4/4/64

[45] CCA PR4/4/92 Terence McSwiney Papers This led to unintended consequences; when the Irish Government attempted to pay the promised pensions for those who resigned for 'nationalist' reasons the British Government wouldn't give them the addresses. This mess of conflicting loyalties again points to the complexity of the break-up between the two countries. See Compensating the Royal Irish Constabulary 1922-1932 by Niamh Brennan.

[47] Brennan op cit.

[48] O' Leary, Daniel, (1975), Kilmeen and Castleventry Parish, Co. Cork, Page 89. 'A Ballineen baker supplied bread to the British soldiers stationed [at Oak-mount], and one of the bread van drivers was believed to be supplying information on the volunteers...two members of the Kilmeen Company shot the unfortunate horse...This served as a warning to the driver who was allowed to depart alive. This may be of significance as a cause for Mr. Cotter's murder, but there is no linking evidence.

[49] Irish Times 28th February 1921. Aged 35, shot at 9.15 pm at his mother’s home in Ballineen. No reason given. Master Baker.

[50] The weaker side did not win but as they could be not be defeated the stronger side had to come to terms in the face of opposition from the general public at home. That these wars are fought by democracies in the full glare of modern communications makes it easier to sway public opinion.

[51] Hart (2003) Page 224.

[52] 'Peter Hart and his enemies...'History Ireland' 13.4 available on their website.

[53] Hart (2003) Page 231.

[54] The Grants Committee list includes (as would be expected) many Roman Catholics including Nationalist Irish Party M.P. for Mid Cork Captain D.D.Sheehan (CO 762/24/14), James Gilgan RIC Barleyhill (CO 762/10/11) and Agricultural  Science Professor Thomas Wibberley (CO 762/12/10 ) among others. Many of the 769 Cork claims are submitted by individual family members about the same incident, and as such are duplicated.

[55]  W. S. Barrett was captured during the German Spring Offensive of 1918 which resulted in the virtual annihilation of the South Irish Horse. The South Irish Horse website provides a wealth of detail about the regiments formation, and disbandment in 1922

[56] Peter Hart and his enemies...' History Ireland 13.4 (2005) available on their website.

[57] As Laherne is a different District Electoral Division to Kilbrittain it is possible that he missed it through no fault of his own.

[58] His Roman Catholic successor Edward Bolger who had been recorded in Ballyvourney RIC barracks in 1911, was shot in 1919.

[59] Cork Constitution 10 February 1921. In the report it is stated that he was living with his mother and his sister and this suggests that the population had fallen by 4 before this date. As the figures are tiny it is impossible to draw any significant conclusions from them.

[60] Hart (2003) Page 224.

[61] Hart (2003) Page 235.

[62] On April 6th 1919 he proposed a motion at the Cork Branch of the Alliance regretting the resignation of Lord Barrymore. Irish Times 7th April 1919 Page 4. The IUA split on 24th January of that year with Lord Midleton leading the Anti Partition League who were willing to consider Home Rule to avoid partition.

[63] Hart used Thom's to state that Thomas Hornibrook of Ballygroman had resigned as a JP by 1921. R C William's name appears on the next page.

[64] Dick Williams owned what is now the Castle Hotel in Macroom, and it was from his hotel that the four British army soldiers were kidnapped on 26th April 1922 as confirmed in a written reply to the House of Commons on 11 July 1922.

[65] Starting with a £1000 loan from the Free State Government in 1922 pending compensation from the Irish Grants Committee.  CO739/14/15/16 National Archives

[66]            Rupert Guinness, the 2nd Lord Iveagh, continued to use the house on St. Stephen’s Green until the 1930s, when he offered the house to the Irish State. Following its presentation to the State, the house was officially re-named Iveagh House.

[67] The letter can still be sourced at the Golf club in Macroom. A history of the castle is available at Lord Ardilaun Arthur Edward Guinness gave St. Stephen's Green to Dublin. He bought Muckross Estate in Killarney from the Standard Life Assurance Company who foreclosed on the Herbert family in 1899. His wife Olivia was the 3rd daughter of the Earl of Bantry.. Jane, Countess of Bantry, was the youngest sister of Colonel Herbert of Muckross.

[69] Liam Deasy (1973) Towards Ireland Free Page 294

[70] See also Ordnance Survey Ireland Historic Maps available free online 25” version.

[71] With the best will in the world no military commander is going to occupy a church if they can avoid it.

[72] Cork Examiner 15th April 1921. See  also P Connolly (ND) Bandon: 400 years of history. Page 179 see also Page 173 for  Allin Institute. for a more detailed history of the Maid of Eireann's construction and destruction. The Unionist members of the town refused to pay for its construction in 1900.

[73] Connolly (ND) op. Cit. 180

[74] Richard was born in 1873, so would have been 119 when Peter Hart finished his thesis in 1992.  Given the controversy it is surprising that Peter Hart never supplied a redacted transcript of the tapes he used for these interviews. Since his passing who is in possession of these tapes? Who has his other research material?

[77] The British Army’s Effectiveness in the Irish Campaign 1919-1921 and the Lessons for Modern Counterinsurgency Operations, with Special Reference to C3I Aspects.

[78] Patterson (2009) ibid. Page 101

[79] His article will probably be dismissed by some as he quotes Hart to argue his case, though for a member of the British Army he does refer to the controversy.

[80]          The first group of Dunmanway murders was Francis Fitzmaurice murdered at 12.15 am, David Gray murdered at 1 am and James Buttimer murdered at 1.20 am on the night of the 26th/27th April in Dunmanway. The second group were John Chinnery and Robert Howe shot in Castletown-Kinneigh to the north of Ballineen at around 1.30 am (according to the Cork Eagle, May6th but 10.30 pm for Howe according to the Irish Times), Albert Gerald Mc Kinley in Ballineen at 1.30 am, and James Greenfield and John Buttimer at Caher two miles west of Ballineen at 2 am on the following night 27th/28th April. Ralph Harbord was also shot but not killed on the same night. The final victim was John Bradfield of Killowen Cottage at 11 pm on the night of 29th/30th of April.

[81]         For some reason people insist in getting their occupations wrong. There was a solicitor, a chemist, a retired draper, five farmers, a farm labourer, an ex-soldier, a postal worker, an invalid, an unemployed youth, and four soldiers. The retired draper James Buttimer was an 'ex-naval man' according to the Cork Examiner, but as yet there is no other evidence for this. Cork Examiner 28th April 1922. Page 3 Col. 2.

[82] Kingsmill-Moore H,. (1930), Reminiscences and Reflections from some sixty years of life in Ireland, Pages 275 & 278-9. Kingsmill Moore's also says that besides the Dunmanway massacre there was little sectarianism in the South. He had no need to make this case in 1930, but he did.

[83] Coogan T. p. (1990) Michael Collins: The man who made Ireland Page 391.

[84] Mc Ardle D. (1951), The Irish Republic page 705

[85] Peter Hart (1998) Page 275 He quotes the Cork Weekly Examiner, but it is substantially the same.

[86]        According to the Cork Constitution there were three raiders, one of whom put her out of the house.

[87]         Irish Times Tuesday 2nd May. 1922 The Cork Examiner report is more detailed and also mentions a third raider

[88]        Hart was still interviewing Dunmanway locals in late April 1993 just before his article in Cork History and Society was published in June of that year. Hart (1998) Footnotes 274-275.

[89]             Bureau of Military History WS1741 Part 2 Pages 186-337 P.227 available online. I am grateful to Henry O Keeffe for finding this reference.

[90] Cork Examiner 1st May 1922 Page 3. It is important to note that another victim James Buttimer and the Grays lived next door to each other on Sackville Street and that Mrs. Buttimer found Mr. Gray’s body. The Free Stater comment may have been directed at Mr, Buttimer a well known Home Ruler.

[91] Letter from Dan Breen, Tom Hales, H Murphy, S O Hegarty, Sean Mullan, R A Mulcahy, Owen O Duffy, Gearoid O Sullivan, Michael Collins to Four Courts garrison to end occupation and allow a plebiscite on the Treaty. Irish Times 02 May 1922.

[92] Hart refers to the cabinet papers for casualty statistics more than the actual discussions. All cabinet papers relating to Ireland are available free online from the National Archives in London.

[93] Younger C. (1969) Ireland's Civil War New York,

[94] See also 20 October 1920 Sir Hamar Greenwood to House of Commons. 94 RIC killed to that date Cork 22, Dublin 15, Limerick 15, Clare 15, Rest of Ireland 27. HC Deb 20 October 1920 vol 133 l.940


[95]  See Collins comments below

[96] Peter Hart, (2003) Page 234. See also The IRA and its enemies Page 304.

[97] The 'Belfast Pogroms' were going on from 1919, so why retaliation occurred at the end of April 1922 when they had subsided needs to be reconsidered as a cause.

[98] British Cabinet Papers for April-June 1922, Weekly report on the State of Ireland from the C-O-C, all available online from National Archives UK.

[99] Irish Times Monday May 1st  & Irish Times Tuesday May 2nd

[100]       O' Leary, Daniel (1975) Kilmeen and Castleventry Parish Co. Cork Page 92 shows that the Hawkins family of Geragh who were still in residence in 1975 had provided a pony and cart for injured I.R.A. Volunteer Jim Hurley to escape an Essex raid on 14th May 1921. The 1911 census shows that the Hawkins family were Cork born native Church of Ireland. Many of the other local histories for Cork have similar stories.

[101]       Irish Times May 9th Page 5

[102]       See also the report from the Dublin Peace Conference between pro and anti treaty sides which failed to agree on anything but 'its horror at the terrible events that have taken place in Dunmanway, Ballineen and Clonakilty'. Cork Examiner May 1st Page 4

[103]       Ryan Meda (2005) Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter Page 215.  I specifically went back and checked Meda Ryan's primary sources in this case, and she has accurately reported the facts.

[104]       Working from newspaper reports Hart unintentionally misleads by suggesting that there was two separate motions passed, but the minute book shows there was only one composed ex tempore, at the start of the meeting and passed unanimously. CCCA Minutes of Cork Corporation 1921-1923 Page 246. [of Belfast] is inserted into the original motion showing that it was being composed in the meeting, and not beforehand as is normal.

[105]       Cork Examiner May 5th 1922 See also Corporation resolution: endorsed by Bandon Town Commissioners on same page.

[106]       See Cork Examiner May 2 pages 5-6   and Cork County Eagle May 6. Some of the priests’ language is bizarre especially in Bandon and Dunmanway where reference is made to the fact that while these were men not true Christians or were pagans they were still entitled to be left alone.

[107]                    Cork and County Eagle May 6th 1922 P. 2 beneath the Tom Hales warning of capital punishment for any further attacks.

[108]       Irish Times May 19th 1922 Page 5. This was in complete contrast to what Tom Barry had in mind for the large estates when he ordered that those which had been abandoned should be broken up without being sold or compensated. Barry (1949) Page 116. See also Alice Hodder letter below.

[109]        REPORT OF THE MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE. Wednesday, 10 May 1922

[110]       Irish Times Editorial 03 October 1922. Page 4

[111]        McMahon, P. (2008), British spies and Irish rebels. Woodbridge, Boydell & Brewer. p. 91

[112]       Irish Times Editorial May 2nd  P 4 Col 4. The other articles are on the same page.

[113]       Cork Examiner May 3rd Page 3 and Cork Constitution May 3rd Page 3.

[114]       Cork Examiner May 6th 1922 Page 4

[115]                    Commandant Ross according to the Cork and County Eagle May 6th 1922

[116]       It appears that Peter Hart may have misread this report to suggest that the IRA were more concerned about an insult to their dignity than protecting Protestant citizens. Certainly he ignores Con Connolly’s statement and its specific reference to his allegence to Michael Collins and maintenance of the amnesty. This may suggest that once certain members of the IRA had renounced Collins they felt that they were no longer bound by the Truce and ‘cleaned up unfinished business’.

[117]       Irish Times May 12th 1922 Page 5

[118]        Coogan, T.P. (1990) Michael Collins P.359,  CO739/14/15/16 (16) National Archives Kew

[119]            Alice Hodder makes much of the fact that Mrs Williamson (who was 75) was a Cork native, but she was in fact born in India as was her daughter according to the 1901 census. She was visiting Alton in England for the 1911 census. Her husband Colonel Robert Williamson was at home in Mallow.

[120]    His entry for the Cork Contemporary Biographies held in the local studies department of Cork City Library and online which was published on the eve of the Great War states ‘Furlong. Noel Charles, Hermitage, Glanmire, son of Charles John Furlong, of Richmond, Fermoy ; born at Fermoy, December 4th , 1882 ; educated at Wellington College, Berkshire. Lieutenant in the South Irish Horse.Married , July 12th 1909, Rosemary St. John , eldest daughter of Albert St. John Murphy, of Tivoli House, Cork Clubs Cork County, and Cork Club. Major (1917) Noel Furlong moved to Skeffington Hall in Leicestershire and famously his horse ridden by his son Frank won the Aintree Grand National in 1935 and 1936. His wife Rosemary was a member of the Murphy brewing family and was a Roman Catholic.

[121]            Coogan, T.P. Michael Collins P.360. In fact, many of the letters in CO739 14/15/16 are from a series of well attended public meetings held in England by the Truth about Ireland League throughout the year in support of compensation claims from refugees and condemnation of British Government policy. Churchill understandably rejects the condemnation and declines to re-invade which is one of the proposals of the league.

[123]       Irish Times May 12th 1922

[124]  This was more by omission than commission in that these events tended to get overlooked in a troubled time rather than any suggestion of support according to the speaker Sergeant Hanna Irish Times May 12th 1922 Page 5

[125]  The Catholic Heirarchy, the Irish government, and the Dáil are specifically mentioned to applause

[126]  See also the House of Lords debate of 15 July 1925 where the people most affected by the burning of the 'Big Houses' including Lord Mayo tease out the extent and effects of the Irish Revolution.

[127]       Bantry Estate Archive No 1618 (25 November 1922- 13 December 1922). 

[128]       According to Guy's Almanac there were 93 Church of Ireland clergy in the United diocese in 1921. This would represent a 4.5% decline in one year.

[129]       Cork Examiner 26th October 1922

[130]       Irish Times 26th October 1922 Page 7 The speech is reported in all the papers, and while there are nuances between them they all fairly report the comments.

[131]        18% of the decline

[132]        Fermoy was a union of Fermoy, CastIehyde, Litter, and Clondulane civil parishes

[133]       Irish Times 14th June 1923 Page 8

[134]       Irish Times 26th June 1924 Page 5

[135]       Curtis L.,(1921) Ireland, Round Table, Vol. 11:43 Pages 496-97

[136]       Terence A. M. Dooley,  (1996), Protestant Migration from the Free State to Northern Ireland, 1920-25: A Private Census for Co. Fermanagh Clogher Record  15,3 , pp. 87-132


[137]       HMSO (1926) Census of Northern Ireland Preliminary Report P. XXV accessible on

[138]       Martin P. (2002) Irish Nobility and the Revolution, p156-157 in  The Irish Revolution, Joost Augustein (ed) Palgrave. See also The Big House and the Irish Revolution  blog by John Dorney

[139]         Irish Times 16th June 1921 Pge 5.

[140]       The IRA are not mentioned but implied. The ring leader fled the Provisional Government.

[141] The leader of the gang fled the country once the Free State police came looking for him according  to the reply in the House of Lords. On July 11th Churchill told the House of Commons that there was no political element to the attack and both Republican and Free State Police were in search of the gang.

[142]         Irish Times, 25 July 1923,  Page 3

[144]       See Catherine Howe letter below.

[145]       If we take average family size at the usual 5 then the total number of affected people would work out at 21,560. As we know that 1,000 claims were Roman Catholic this would suggest that Protestant claims came to a maximum 15,150. We also know from another source that by the end of 1924 8,160 British emigrants were re-settled out of Ireland to the other dominions. Finally 518 people left Cobh/Queenstown between July and October 1924. See Fedorwich 'Reconstruction and Resettlement: The Politicization of Irish Migration to Australia and Canada, 1919-29' English Historical Review Nov, 1999

[147]       Part of the house is still occupied and run as a guest house by the sister of the current Lord Muskerry who resides in South Africa

[148]       March 5th , March 24th and 16th July House of Lords debates. This included a libellous allegation against Under Secretary Alfred Cope of the Irish Office  who Muskerry claimed was a spy for Collins. Cole had worked hard to bring about a truce, and had set up the the meeting between De Valera and Craig. Unsurprisingly, Lord Fitzalan, the ex-viceroy- demanded and got a retraction, but as he said the damage was already in the papers. Overall Muskerry got very little sympathy from the government in the House of Lords.

[149]       House of Commons Hansard Report of the House Lords March 5th 1924.

[150] This letter suggests that after the Civil War high taxes needed to pay for the damage kept many of those who left from returning. Bessie Ross was a cousin of Robert Howe's wife. Robert was shot on April 27th 1922 as part of the Dunmanway Massacre.

[152]       Annie Oliver Bell (1929) The Diary of Virginia Woolf   Volume 2 Page 127 10 August 1922.  Irish Times (1978) October 17, P10, Col. 1 The shooting of Mrs. Lindsay where the relevant passage is quoted by Terence de Vere White

[153]       This was the official version of events recorded in the New York Times on 30 July 1921

[154]       Op cit. Irish Times (1978) October 17, P10, Col. 1

[155]       Blacked out in the original according to de Vere White

[156]       Cork Constitution 24th February 1921 It is possible that this is a second attempt to sell a portion of the farm, or the residue of the 930 acres owned by the family in 1884.

[157]       O Callaghan S. (1974) Execution Page 133

[158]       Hart (1998), Page 309. As it is harder to leave out the second part of the quote than to put it in any reasonable person would have to conclude that it is done deliberately to change the sense of it.

[159]       Usually those sentenced to death had their sentence commuted to life in prison before this date.

[160]       For example, in an otherwise reasonable polemic to prove Hart wrong, Jack Lane states 'in Dunmanway those killed were clearly urban and professional people- solicitor, shopkeeper, chemist, draper, estate agent, clergyman, post office clerk, etc.' to show Denis Lordan's comment about 'taking it out on the Protestants' does not refer to Dunmanway. Yet Robert Howe, John Chinnery, John Bradfield, John Buttimer and James Greenfield were all members of the farming community. Ralph Harbord (the clergyman) died in 1966 according to his gravestone. Presumably, these mistakes will be corrected at the first available opportunity. Lane (2012) The Dunmanway Killings- Curiouser and Curiouser. P 12. Lane immediately corrected this in the Irish Political Review on page 10 

[161]       In March 2012 I finally accessed the preliminary report of the 1911 census at I started research on this topic in 1983, and was never able to find a copy.

[162]       CSO Census 1926 Volume X (General Report) Page 46.

[164]       General report, Ireland, 1911 Page 223 General&ResourceType=TNA&SearchTerms=1911 census general report Ireland&simple=yes&path=Results&active=yes&treestate=expandnew&titlepos=0&mno=459&tocstate=expandnew&display=sections&display=tables&display=pagetitles&pageseq=289

[165]       Roughly 60 people based on an average Protestant family size of 5, though urban families were smaller.

[166]  James Buttimer who was shot on 26th April 1922 does not appear in Guys for Dunmanway in any of the years from 1911 to 1921.

[167]       This had been specifically provided for in the Treaty under Article 10. As of 21st March 1928 Minister Blythe stated 1,806 British Civil Servants had applied, or been asked, to retire under this clause. Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 22 No. 14 Page 4 Oral Answers Based on a ratio 1:4 per family this would suggest that 9,000 people were affected. On 21st February 1929 in the Dail Blythe stated that the total transferred was 21,035 of which 1,639 wished to retire under Article X. Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 28 No. 2

[168]       Irish Times April 1 1921 Page 5

[169]       Ireland's Memorial Records Stenning Fredrick George 30/09/1918 France Innishannon, Co.Cork Killed

[170]       Gerard Murphy (2010) The Year of Disappearances Page 230. RIC Daily Summary CO/904/146 National Archives Kew 16/07/1921 referenced in Murphy.

[171]       Five of the nine children emigrated to the USA in 1921 and 1922 His son Robert died in 1979 in Washington, Pennsylvania on December 2nd Observer Reporter Page 35 Col 2., and his obituary identified the whereabouts of the other children including Edward C. Olliffe living in Walnut Creek, California. A sister Margaret Angus  lived in Cork.     

[172]       Murphy is of the view that it was not the style of the Innishannon IRA to shoot people, but to suggest that they emigrate. This case now seems to back up this analysis.

[173]       Hansard 02 June 1921 Colonel Warren Peacocke, aged 32, an ex-officer of the Grenadier Guards and Inniskilling Fusiliers. Started Great War as second lieutenant but ended up commanding the regiment

[174]       Tom Barry (1949) Page 110

[175]       These are her son's murder, the burning of her home at Skevanish, the theft of the livestock, and the auctioning by the IRA of her machinery after the truce without interference from the British government.

[176]       Irish Times 16th June 1921

[177]       Irish Times 24th June 1921

[178]       Irish Times 29th June 1921

[179]       Mahoney's house was the brigade headquarters of the IRA, and its burning was the first of 5 republican homes burned in reprisal for the Crossbarry ambush. The loyalist houses were burned as reprisals to stir up loyalist opinion against the Essex burning campaign.

[180]       Irish Times 23 April 1921

[181]       Long repossessed by the bank, and empty at the time of its burning. In fact, it had claimed a victim the previous year when a young man who was trying to steal lead off the roof fell into the dry moat and died.

[182]       Tom Barry (1949) Page 114

[183]       Irish Times April 7th 1919 Page 4

[184]        Irish Times 14th June 1923 Page 8 Professor Brian Walker's letter is Irish Times Letters to the Editor 19 January 2011. See also Nelson McCausland

[185]       I am currently working on a detailed analysis of the murders at Ballygroman and hope to publish the results of this research within the next three months.

[186]       Hart (1998) Page 281

[187]       Meda Ryan Page 212. See also Cork Examiner 27 August, Page 4 for a detailed account of the inquest where Charlie O Donoghue gives an account of his movements on the night and day of 25th -26th April 1922 up to the meeting with Woods in the morning after the shooting.

[188]            BMH O Donoghue statement 1741 P. 227 See also the treatment of Black and Tan Clady in the same statement P .224-226

[189]       Hart (1998) Page 279-281. Hart's writing style blends proven fact with rumour and unverifiable interview in a compelling narrative. While it is a great story, can it be described as history? Each reader will have to make up their own mind on this.

[190]       The actual quote is 'Herbert Woods it was ascertained afterwards was hung drawn and quartered in the presence of my father and brother.' in her Statement of Claim to the Irish Grants Committee on 31 January 1927.CO/762/133/5.

[191]            O Donoghue’s BMH statement mentions that some of those killed in the Dunmanway murders were hanged, and these could only be the Hornibrooks as everyone else was shot. As he was in Donegal at the time of the murders it is possible that he is reporting the rumour.

[192]       28 May 1922 National Archives Kew (CO 739/16). See also Peter Hart (1998) P. The IRA at War P. 277 Tim Pat Coogan (1990) Michael Collins: A biography Arrow Books (edition), 1991 Page 359 which quotes the letter in depth. This is eight years is before Hart published his thesis, and it is somewhat surprising that the easily accessible Coogan  book  is not referenced in The IRA and its enemies.

[194]         Matilda states 'One of the attackers was shot by Mr. (crossed out and replaced with Capt.) Herbert Woods, nephew of my husband, who was defending with the deceased and my brother.

[195]       Peter Hart, (1998) Page 279. Gerard Murphy does clear up the relationships, but suggests that Herbert was looked after by Edward and Matilda from an early age. As Matilda was only six years older than Herbert this is unlikely. Murphy G. (2010) Year of Disappearances P. 186

[196]       Ryan M. (2005) Tom Barry IRA: Freedom Fighter Page 211. The statements of claim are numbered I, II, III and the details of the shooting are included in II.

[197]       In fairness to Meda Ryan with the exception of this, and the unavailable Dunmanway list of Informers she is accurate in her reportage of facts taken from primary sources.

[198]       Item Number 171. Archives UCC Mr. Nicholson was their uncle.

[199]       While Mr. Nicholson died in 1920 there is no evidence that he was shot.

[200]       DCU record End November 1920 Hart says  Reilly tried to save Terence McSweeney, and may have been shot because he refused to resign as a J.P.. Hart (1998) Page 299. Woodford Bourne rented a flat to ex-IRA commander Tom Barry in 1932, and he lived here until his death. (Item 54), which gives an idea of the tiny nature of Cork society.

[201]            Nicholson D. & Mackeown P. (2005), The story of Woodford Bourne: Wine importers, established 1750. Cork: W.B. Publications.

[202]       £6,200 in 1921 was more than £350,000 today.

[204]       Thom's Directory shows Thomas had resigned from the bench in 1921. Guy's general directory also shows this, but the Oven's (Ballygroman) parish directory in Guy's states he is a Justice of the Peace. Which is correct?

[205]       Edward had left Ireland pre-truce, and Matilda had remained to sort out the probate on Ballygroman. They were living in 'Eastwood' Crowestone Road North, Westcliff-on Sea at the time of the Grants Committee in 1927.

[206]       Hart (1998) P. 279. If they were seized, they were unseized a week later. Matilda also complained to the Grants Committee that the Irish Government appealed a malicious injuries award as she wanted to use it for other property and the Department of Finance demanded she use it to repair Ballygroman House.

[207]       Only Matilda is mentioned as beneficiary in either of the Court reports, but she acknowledges her (half?) brother's interest in the Grants Committee submission

[209]       'A time of revenge, a time of tragedy' Cork Hollybough, 2002, Page 64.

[211]       The Professor's House, Weekend, Saturday February 22, 1997, Page 15.

[213] I would like to thank Dr. A. Bielenberg for this reference that shows the driver of the Intelligence Officers was in fact a Catholic.

[214]       Irish Times May 2 1922