Paddy McCarthy story re­sem­bles Bu­gle

The Corkman - - NEWS - MARIA HERLIHY

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.

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