Clare Old I.R.A Honour Two Former Comrades

This week 72 years ago the 4th Battalion remembered two former comrades as reported in The Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune 27th Sept. 1958


Clare Old I.R.A Honour Two Former Comrades

There was a large attendance of surviving members of the Fourth Battalion Mid Clare Brigade I.R.A. at Callura, Lahinch, and Kilfarboy Church on Sunday (21st Sept 1958) when memorials were unveiled to two former members of the Brigade.

The memorial at Kilfarboy is to the memory of Comdt. Steve Gallagher, who died in July 1945 and the memorial at Callura is to the memory Vol. Michael O’Dwyer. Both memorials were unveiled by Mr. John Burke, Limerick, one time officer of the Mid Clare Brigade and a great international golfer.

A committee of former officers of the Brigade organised the project.

Speaking at Kilfarboy, Mr. Burke said that Comdt. Gallagher joined the movement at its inception in 1917 and was the first Captain of Moy Company in which he made a name for himself. His qualities as a soldier and a leader were fully brought home to his fellow officers after the Rineen ambush in which he distinguished himself. Later he was promoted Quarter Master of the Battalion and at the formation of the Active Servive Unit of the Flying Column he was automatic choice and remained its leader to the end of that hectic period.

It has now been generally accepted that the two most glorious pages in the history of our country were written in the years 1920 and ’21 when the country produced the greatest men of all time.

Mr. Burke said that the last of the debts had now been cleared for the monument which was erected last year at Rineen. Comdt. Seamus Hennessy contacted a nephew of his in Chicago and informed him of the debts. A committee was formed and a cheque was forwarded which enabled them to pit their financial worries aside and leave a substantial balance on hands.

The sum had now been spent in a very good cause in these two monuments unveiled that day.

The blessing ceremony was performed by the Very Rev. T. Canon O’Reilly. P.P., Milltown Malbay, assisted by Rev. P. Malone, St. Mary’s College, Galway, and son of the former Vice – Comdt. Of the Battalion Anthony Malone, of Miltown Malbay, and a decade of the Rosary was recited.

The blessing ceremony at Callura, Lahinch, was performed by Very Rev. Fr. J.G. Jennings, P.P., Ennistymon, assisted by the Rev. P. Malone, St., Mary’s Galway.

The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by Drum Major Paddy McCormack.

The guard of honour consisted of Comdts. Seamus Hennessy and J.J. Neylon, Vice - Comdt. A. Malone, Capts. P. Kerin and T. Burke, John Moloney, John Woulfe, Paddy Queally, Michael Queally, J. Mahony, M. Hayes, P. Hogan, Sean Gallagher, Paddy Nagle and Paddy Hogan.


Speaking at Callura, Mr. Burke said that at the organisation of the Volunteers in 1917 Michael O’Dwyer was one of the first to be enrolled as a member of the Lahinch Company. He was always ready to carry out any orders or instructions given him by his superior officers, and the part that he played in the Rineen ambush was not likely to be forgotten so long as life remained in any of his comrades who took part in that engagement.

Mr. Burke recalled the events of the night of the 22nd September, 1920, when Ennistymon, Lahinch and Miltown Malbay were practically burned to the ground and when seven men were murdered as a reprisal for the ambush at Rineen.

Dan Lehane lived on top of the hill close by Callura. The Tans paid him a visit, and he and his wife and family were compelled to look on whilst their home was burned down. He might have been considered by some old in years, but he was young in spirit and was looked upon by many as the “father” of the Battalion.


He and his three sons, John, Joe and Mickey, were then taken across the field and he was propped against the pier of his own gate and riddled with bullets. The sons slid down the railway embankment and avoided the bullets that were fired at them.

Mr. Burke continued: “Beside him lies his devoted wife, as well as his two sons Pake and Donal. Is it not only right and proper that the same plot of ground should hold the remains of that intrepid soldier, leader and personality, their son-in-law Commandant Ignatius O’Neill.”

The other former comrades comprise Micks Malone, a former Company Captain, and his brother, Patrick. Martin McMahon, Mickie Keane, Paddy Devitt, Baby Burke, Thomas Fitzgerald, Pat Doherty, Pat O’Brien, John Foley, Joe Burke, Sean Vaughan, Thomas White, Thomas Nagle, Jimmy Kinnane and Jimmy Shannon.

Paddy McCormack sounded the Last Post.

A luncheon was held later in the evening at the Claremont Hotel, Lahinch, where the guests of the party were Very Rev. Canon O’Reilly, Rev. Fr. Kelleher. C.C. Dr. O’Brien and Mr. Dan O’Hanlon, Creamery Manager.

Vol. Michael O’Dwyer Memorial Unveiling
21st September 1958

(Left to right): P. Mc Donagh, J Burke, A Burke, S Hennessy, A Malone, M Hayes, T Burke, J Woulfe, P Frawley, P Kerin, J J Neylon, G Curtin.

Comdt. Steve Gallagher
Memorial Unveiling
21st September 1958

left to right): Thomas Burke, Thomas White, Sean Gallagher, Paddy Queally, Anthony (Col) Burke, John Burke, Anthony Malone, Morgan Finucane, Seamus Hennessy, Timmy Connell, Tommy Gallagher, Michael Clancy, Steve Gallagher, Paddy Nagle, John Malone.