In July, I spotted this plaque at the Mouth of the Glen, Béal a’Ghleanna, on the road between Ballingeary and Renanirree – there are a number of different spellings but I am using the Post Office as a guide.
What struck me was the use of the word ‘first’, ‘céad’. My mental note was, on that basis, that there was 2 years post Easter Rising when there was no ambush.
A few weeks later, I was reading on Stair na hÉireann of Dan Breen and Soloheadbeg which was accepted as being the first event of the War of Independence.
Soloheadbeg was 6 months after July 1918 so the matter moved filing locations in my brain to ‘to find out more to clarify’.
At the weekend, I finished Cónal Creedon’s excellent book – The Immortal Deed of Michael O’Leary. The book is not just about the man who received the Victoria Cross but the history of the place from which he came – such history which definitely helped mould him.
The Ramble House meetings, the storytelling and the song tradition of his time meant that he had a greater understanding of his position in the history of his place than I did growing up less than a century later with the ‘benefit’ of books, radio and television. These technologies may have widened my knowledge base but they definitely reduced the depth of knowledge of things local.
Last week I was in the Celtic Bookshop in Limerick and was contemplating buying a book on Sean South – but decided to limit my purchases to three. I would have heard the song Sean South of Garryowen, probably at rugby, but not certain.
I always assumed that, probably automatic association with the rebel song, he died in the War of Independence. The assumption was most likely formed when I did not have such an inquisitive sense as to things local and things historic – and a desire to make just little connections between things. It was only within the last five years,that I realised that he died in 1957.
I have had a few blogs about the likes of Soldier Smith; the Inchigeela Lass,: and, Daniel Florence O’Leary.
As well as providing very many more connecting dots on these people, Cónal’s book did provide more information as to the ambush at the Mouth of the Glen.
My ‘current’ understanding is that each is considered first. In a style not unusual for Cork, one is ‘officially’ first and the other is ‘really first’…..
“Sa láṫair seo ar an 7ú lá d’Iúil 1918
“In this place on the 7th July 1918
“During the War of Independence, Jamie fought vigorously for what he believed in, and later in life he had a presence that resonated with the public. His bravery in armed conflict is legendary.
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