FAS­CI­NAT­ING BOOK ON VOL­UN­TEERS IS LAUNCHED

The Corkman - - NEWS - JOHN TAR­RANT

THE lives and times of Ir­ish Vol­un­teers from four Mill­street-based com­pa­nies, who mo­bilised dur­ing the Easter pe­riod 100 years ago, is re­called in a new pub­li­ca­tion ‘Ready Will­ing Wait­ing: Keale, Mill­street, Mushera, Rath­d­u­ane Ir­ish Vol­un­teers 1916’.

A ca­pac­ity at­ten­dance con­vened in the Wal­lis Arms Ho­tel, Mill­street for the launch of the grip­ping pub­li­ca­tion edited by Noreen Meaney. The book sheds new light on the Ir­ish Vol­un­teers from the four lo­cal com­pa­nies who mo­bilised dur­ing the Easter pe­riod of 1916.

“While com­pil­ing the pub­li­ca­tion, the com­mit­tee re­searched the iden­tity of all the Vol­un­teers and have listed their ad­dresses, which were not in­cluded in the Mil­i­tary Bureau wit­ness state­ments. For the first time, all the Ir­ish Vol­un­teers from the Keale Com­pany have been iden­ti­fied with ac­com­pa­ny­ing ad­dresses”, said Noreen.

At the launch, au­thor and mil­i­tary his­to­rian Gerry White fo­cused on the Cork Brigade and their mo­bil­i­sa­tion dur­ing Easter Week 1916 with graphic il­lus­tra­tions that met with huge in­ter­est.

Editor Noreen Meaney re­lated the gen­e­sis of the new pub­li­ca­tion goes back 12 months to when the Mill­street Com­mit­tee de­cided to pro­duce a book telling the story of Ir­ish Vol­un­teers in Mill­street and the four Com­pa­nies who par­tic­i­pated.

“Mill­street’s story in the strug­gle for Ir­ish self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and land re­form be­gan long be­fore 1916 but the fo­cus of this book is the time pe­riod of 1912 to De­cem­ber 1916. Re­count­ing the 1916 story through the Mil­i­tary Bureau Wit­ness State­ments, news­pa­per ar­ti­cles and pri­vate fam­ily pa­pers is just one di­men­sion to this pub­li­ca­tion”, she said. “Our Com­mit­tee also en­deav­oured to iden­tify the Vol­un­teers from the four Com­pa­nies that mo­bilised dur­ing Easter Week. Thirty names from the Rath­d­u­ane Com­pany, 15 from the Mushera Com­pany, seven from Mill­street Com­pany plus James Buck­ley, Church Street who was an Aux­il­iary Mem­ber and we had only eight names listed for 18 strong Ir­ish Vol­un­teers from the Keale Com­pany”.

Un­like the lists that were sub­mit­ted to the Mil­i­tary Bureau for the crit­i­cal dates of 11 July 1921 and 1 July 1922, which in­cluded ad­dresses of the Ir­ish Vol­un­teers, the 1916 list of names had no ac­com­pa­ny­ing ad­dresses, there­fore it was im­por­tant to give th­ese men an iden­tity, a home ad­dress.

“Not an easy task but we were suc­cess­ful in iden­ti­fy­ing 58 of the men and two Vol­un­teers were nar­rowed down to two pos­si­bil­i­ties. This was where the wider com­mu­nity be­came in­volved as de­scen­dants, cousins and neigh­bours of the 1916 Ir­ish Vol­un­teers went to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths ver­i­fy­ing names and ad­dresses – peo­ple con­tacted cousins abroad and right around the county and coun­try re­search­ing and lo­cat­ing pho­tos”, said Noreen.

Hav­ing writ­ten an ac­count of the for­ma­tive years of the Ir­ish Vol­un­teers, those be­hind the pub­li­ca­tion had a mat­ter to re­solve. “We only had the names of eight of the 18 Keale Com­pany Ir­ish Vol­un­teers. It would be im­pos­si­ble to find the miss­ing names un­less fam­ily mem­bers had a copy of pen­sion record ap­pli­ca­tion forms which spec­i­fied the Vol­un­teers in­volve­ment in Easter Week ac­tiv­i­ties”, said Noreen.

How­ever fate was with the editor and af­ter painstak­ing re­search for three days be­fore go­ing to the pre­ar­ranged ap­point­ment with the print­ers, Noreen made the all im­por­tant break­through.

“I ac­ci­dently found a hand writ­ten doc­u­ment by my grand­fa­ther buried in a folder, the head­ing read, ‘List of mem­bers of Keale Bridge Corps of I.V. in 1916’, it listed all 18 names their ad­dresses and the next of kin”.

Con Fo­ley, Tim Mur­phy, Jerry Le­hane and Donal Den­nehy with a mo­mento from a visit by Padraig Pearse to Mill­street in 1915.

Kath­leen and Tadgh Crowley met up with Frank Thorn­ton at the launch in the Wal­lis Arms Ho­tel, Mill­street, of ‘Ready Will­ing Wait­ing: Keale, Mill­street, Mushera, Rath­d­u­ane Ir­ish Vol­un­teers 1916’.

Donal Cash­man and An­thony Kelle­her from Kan­turk at the book launch.

Editor Noreen Meaney signs a copy for newly elected TD An­drias Moynihan.

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