Paddy McCarthy story resembles Bugle
WHILE the central theme in Bryan McMahon’s play, ‘ The Bugle in the Blood’ deals with a son, Robby Trimble who is on hunger strike and the moral dilemmas coupled with the rights and wrongs of self sacrifice as seen through the eyes of his family.
While the play is set in Meelin by the Duhallow Players as part of the Meelin Rising Commemoration celebrations, there is an uncanny slice of history which resembles the play on home ground.
The director Michael O’Halloran who also plays a key role in ‘ The Bugle in the Blood’ uncovered a very appropriate Meelin connection with the subject mater of the play through the Volunteer leader, Paddy McCarthy, who was born in Meelin and joined the Volunteers immediately after 1916.
He was a key figure in the second Brigade IRA (North Cork) but it might not be generally known that he himself joined the hunger strike in Belfast in 1918 under Austin Stack.
He escaped from Strangeways Jail in Manchester in September 1919 and secretly returned to Ireland and made his way to O’Reilly’s undertakers in Newmarket which was a safe house.
Mrs O’Reilly, who is a grandmother of Michael, who runs the business today, was washing clothes in the back yard when she saw a very gaunt man make his way into a secret cellar underneath their house in Church Street.
McCarthy was so emaciated that she failed to recognise him, but she went to the door and gave an agreed knock – which he answered.
She then secretly and kindly fed and looked after him there
Michael O’Halloran (Botany connell), Eileen Fitzgerald (Moroya Trimble), Noreen Angland (Evelyn mcCann), Denis Sheehan (Joe Trimble) John F Ryan (Rab) and Michelle Enright (May Bridie) in a scene from The Bugle In The Blood which will be presented by Duhallow Players in Meelin Hall, Sunday 24th and Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th April at 8pm. Photo: Eileen O’Connor
in the following weeks, until his strength returned.
However, he was later shot in Millstreet and secretly buried at night in Kilcorcoran cemetery in Lismire. His body was later exhumed and there was a funeral mass in Meelin and he was buried in Clonfrert with full military honours.