Southern Star. 22. 8. 1964.



The mournful notes of a bugle sounding the “Last Post” pierced the silence of the churchyard at Clonmult on Sunday morning, and the large attendance stood in respectful silence, the men bare-headed and the memories of troubled times in the minds of all, as the monument to the memory of those who died a short distance away on a fateful day in February, 1921 was unveiled.

It was an inspiring scene as men remembered their fallen comrades, who had given their lives for Ireland. As the white sheet across the memorial was drawn away by Comdt. Michael Leahy from Cobh, the monument was revealed as a magnificent structure. The monument was designed by Walter Verling of Youghal. The limestone and marble work was done by Messrs. Sheedy of Midleton and the inlaid ornamental pillars came from the old Ballyedmond House. The blessing was performed by Very Rev. Wm. Egan, P.P., Imogeela, who also said Mass before the ceremony in St. Laurence’s Church. The actual battle of Clonmult took place at Garrylaurence.

The memorial commemorated: James, Jeremiah and Liam Ahern, Michael and David Desmond, Donal Dennehy, James Glavin, Michael Hallahan, Rd. Hegarty, John Joseph Joyce, Joseph Morrissey and Christopher O’Sullivan, who died at the battle, and their comrades, Maurice Moore and Patrick O’Sullivan, who were subsequently executed in the Military Barracks, Cork.


Rain fell incessantly throughout the morning and as the unveiling began, came down very heavily. Before the Mass, a procession to the Church, composed of members of the 4th. Batt. , Cork No.1. Brigade, Old I.R.A., led by Michael Kearney, Cork, took place.

Inscribed on the monument are the following verses;

“We fools, esteemed their life madness, and their end; Without Honour, Behold, how they are numbered among; the children of God and their lot is among the saints. Book Wisdom V.”

Diah libh a laoradh Gaedeal; Nior cluineadh claoiteacht oraibh; Riamh nior thuill sibh macla; In am catha na cogaidh.” There is also another Biblical quotation.

“The Last Post” was sounded by P. Savage of Midleton, F.C.A. A decade of the rosary was recited by Mr. Michael Hennessy, Youghal, Capt. Of the 4th, Batt. Representatives of national organisations were present from all over the country. Among those present were; Sen. Liam Ahern, Mr. Martin Corry, T.D., Mr. P. O’Mahony, Chairman, Cobh U.D.C., Comdt. Michael Kelleher, Innishannon and Youghal, who was O.C. at Youghal, Tadg Manley, Glanmire, ex-T.D., Cristoir de Baroid, Seamus O’Cisian, Ml. O’Donoghue, from Sceim gCeardcumann, Miss. H. Barry, Killeagh and Mrs. Nellie Kelleher, Youghal, both Cumann na mBan, Mr. F. Ryan, Tallow.

Survivors of the battle present were, Paddy Higgins, Aghada, Batt. Quartermaster, now residing in Howth, Co. Dublin; Sonny O’Leary, Killeagh, Company Capt. now living in Dublin; Edmond Terry, Ballylanders, Cloyne; Jack Harty, Cloyne, Company First Lieutenant.

In his oration, Comdt. Michael Leahy said “We are here to-day to unveil, in a simple ceremony, a monument to the men who died very near here on February 20, 1921. Fourteen men gave their lives fighting our one and only enemy, England. Twelve men were actually killed and two executed a few days later, in the Military Barracks in Cork. People look on the Battle of Clonmult and call it a tragedy, but they should be proud of it. Those men were willing to give their lives, so that we could enjoy the freedom we have here to-day.

“Many relatives of those men who died are here to-day and I welcome them. As long as Irish nation exists their names will be honoured”.

“In conclusion I would like to thank Fr. Egan and the committees and various people who helped in the erection of this monument. I think it is fitting to finish with a quote from the Book of Wisdom which if one had not known it came from there, might think it was written by the men themselves; “We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end; Without Honour, Behold, how they are numbered among; The Children of God and and their lot is among the saints”

There are two other survivors of the Clonmult Ambush, Mr. Bill Garde, Ballinamona, Shanagarry, and Mr. Bob Walsh, Ballymakeigh, Ballymacoda. Both are confined to their homes and were not present on Sunday.

Mr. Jack O’Connell, Cobh, then a Lieut. Col., who was the only man of the twenty-one to escape the ambush, is dead.

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