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Witness to War 1917 – 1923: Commandant Séamus Hennessy
by Colin Hennessy


Chronology of Events

22nd Feb. - Born Cloneyogan, Moy, Lahinch, Co Clare.

Joined Conradh na Gaeilge.
10th Oct. - Joined Moy Company, Clare Brigade Irish Volunteers. Promoted to Company Adjutant.

Dec. - Sent to Charlestown and Carracastle, Co Mayo, for Volunteer duty at General Election.

20th May 1919 - Home raided by R.I.C.
21st July - In party led By Martin Devitt who attacked Connolly R.I.C. Barracks.
1st Oct - Raid for arms Moy and Lackamore.
Nov. - Raid for arms on Colonel Tottenham Estate. Mount Callan House.
Dec. - Raid for arms Curragh O’Dea.

3rd Apr. 1920 - Led Moy Company in burning of Lahinch R.I.C. Barracks.
22nd Sept. - Commanded Shotgun Section at Rineen Ambush. Five R.I.C. and one Black and Tan killed.
27th Nov. - Promoted to Commandant 4th Battalion Mid Clare Brigade. That evening with Vice Commandant Anthony Malone came into Miltown Malbay and seized the Co. Council Rate Books from the local rate collector (James McClancy).
17th Dec. - Supplied arms from Moy Company to 5th Battalion Mid Clare Brigade prior to Monreal Ambush 18th December.

6th Mar. - Led 4th Battalion in demolishing Moy Railway Bridge.
31st Mar. - With Ignatius O’Neill led attack in Miltown Malbay on R.I.C. and Black and Tans. Constable Stanley Moore killed and Constable Hersey wounded by his section.
5th May - Ascension Thursday. Cancelled attempt by 4th Battalion ‘Flying Column’ to hold up West Clare Railway train to Miltown Malbay due to a false signal.
Abandoned Moughna ambush on Crown Forces raiding party.
12th May - Abandoned ambush positions at Inagh.
14th May - Visited West Clare Brigade area to inspect ambush positions with Joe Barrett Brigade ‘Flying Column’ O/C.
19th May - Abortive Toonagh ambush by Mid Clare Brigade ‘Flying Column’.
3rd June - Cancelled attack on train. Moy Black Hill.
6th June - Led 4th Battalion ‘Flying Column’ in holding up West Clare Railway. Mail and ‘Belfast Goods’ seized.
June - Battalion lay in ambush for R.I.C. at Vaughan’s Hill, Moughna, Lahinch. R.I.C. did not appear.
11th June - Private Chalmers tried by court- martial and executed at Moy National School.
20th & 28Th June - Miltown Malbay R.I.C. Barracks sniped.
6th July - With Steve Gallagher Commanded 4th Battalion ‘Flying Column’ at Moananagh Ambush.
10th July - Sniped at Crown Forces lorries Inagh.
11th July - Truce
11th to 26th Aug. - Attend I.R.A. Divisional Officers training camp at Scarriff.
30th Nov. - Commanded 4th Battalion at I.R.A training camp in Kilfenora. Volunteers inspected by President Eamon de Valera, Richard Mulcahy Chief of Staff I.R.A. and Cathal Brugha Minister for Defence.
6th Dec. - Treaty signed in London. Remains on Republican side joining anti-treaty forces.

Jan. - Attended I.R.A. Divisional Officers Special training camp at Ordinance Survey, Ennis.
1st Feb. - Ennistymon and Miltown Malbay R.I.C. Barracks departed by British military.
6th Feb. - Ordered to Renmore Barracks. Co Galway.
15th Feb. - Posted to command former Ennis, Clarecastle and Ballinacally R.I.C Barracks.
28th June - Civil war starts.
1st July - Evacuated Ennis I.R.A. Barracks. Taken over by Free State Army.
3rd July - Demolished Miltown Malbay I.R.A. Barracks.
24th July - Captured Free State Officers. Escorted to Divisional H.Q.
6th Aug. - Abandoned attack on Miltown Malbay Free State Barracks.
19th Aug. - Ambush positions taken on Free State officers Ennistymon.
22nd Aug. - Moy Ambush on Free State Army convoy.
14th Oct. - Bomb thrown at Free State officers Miltown Malbay.
9th Dec. - Abandoned ambush position at Ballyea, Inagh.

Jan. - Free State Barracks Miltown Malbay sniped.
12th Feb. - Led armed demolition and burning of Lahinch and Miltown Malbay Railway Stations and signal cabins.
26th Feb. - Inagh and Spanish Point Post Offices destroyed.
Mar. - Free State Army raiding party sniped at Moy.
30th April - I.R.A. ceasefire ordered by GHQ.
24th May - I.R.A. ordered to dump arms by GHQ. Civil War over.
20th Sept. - His brother Michael Hennessy (former R.I.C Constable) shot and seriously wounded in Lahinch.

24th Mar. - Returns home to Cloneyogan.
25th Mar. - Home raided by Civic Guards.
24th May - Assists at Limerick by-election. House raided by Free State Army.

11th Feb. - Marries Mary Clancy from Illane, Miltown Malbay.

15th May - Aids aviators Lieutenant Cesare Sabelli and Captain George Pond. Pilots of the “Leonardo da Vinci” which crash landed in Cloneyogan. This was the 8th transatlantic flight.

1955 - Chairman of Committee established to raise funds to erect a memorial in the 4th Battalion area which now stands at the site of the Rineen Ambush.
1957 - Unveiling of Rineen Monument by Dr Rodgers, Bishop of Killaloe.
1965 - Custody of Monument handed over to Defence Forces.
1966 - Welcomes President Eamon de Valera to Rineen at 50th anniversary of 1916 Easter Rising.
12th Mar. 1969 - RIP. Buried Kilfarboy Cemetery, Miltown Malbay.


Witness to War 1917-1923 - Commandant Seamus Hennessy