Royal Irish Academy

A Revolution in Profiles - Co. Offaly

In association with The Royal Irish Academy

Michael Kennedy 1902-1920

Michael Kennedy was born in the townland of Cullenwaine, Moneygall just inside the Kings County border to John and Ellen Kennedy around 1901. The Kennedy’s farmed five acres and were involved in the carpentry trade. Michael Kennedy is stated to have worked as an agricultural labourer prior to his death and he was a member of the local IRA company which was affiliated to the 2nd Battalion of the No. I (North) Tipperary Brigade.

The Kennedy family were heavily involved in republican activity at Moneygall. In 1919, Michael’s sister Sarah was one of 12 Cumman na mBan members prosecuted by the RIC for making illegal collections in the village. His brother Thomas served both the IRA and National Army but was discharged prior to his premature death from TB in 1924.

Another brother Patrick, a well-known member of the Moneygall and Tipperary senior hurling teams, was imprisoned with Jermiah ‘Darby’ Collison in Belfast Gaol on a charge of Illegal Drilling during 1918. Later, during the War of Independence, Patrick served in the north Tipperary Active Service Unit, took part in the Modreeney Ambush and was promoted to Battalion O.C in the run up to the Truce.  

On December 28th, 1920, George Frend was shot and mortally wounded while driving his horse and cart outside Moneygall. Frend farmed at Slive Hills, acted as land agent to several landlords and served as a local magistrate.  Information on the shooting is sparse but it is suspected had its roots in historic land disputes.

In the aftermath of the shooting, crown forces carried out numerous raids in the locality where IRA columns frequently billeted. 

On January 3rd a joint party of RIC and soldiers from the Northamptonshire Regiment under District Inspector Dougan and Lieutenant Jones surrounded the Kennedy home at Cullenwaine. Michael Kennedy ran from the house in an effort to evade capture. When he ignored instructions to halt, the military opened fire and he was severely wounded. It was later suggested that Kennedy was attempting to warn other republicans who were hiding in the area.

Kennedy survived for five days after the shooting and was treated by the medical officer from Shinrone. Dr. P.J. Doyle, himself a 1916 veteran, but died from his wounds on January 8th. His remains were removed to Birr Military Barrack in Crinkll where a Military inquiry was held in lieu of an inquest. He was later buried in Toomevara.

The author wishes to acknowledge the preexisting work of Sean Hogan in relation to Michael Kennedy and North Tipperary during the Revolutionary Period. The life of Michael’s brother Paddy Kennedy is dealt with Sean Kenny and Seamus Ryan in ‘Under Crimblin Hill Volume 1’


Sources:

1901 and 1911 Census. Search online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/

Bureau of Military History Statements. Sean Gaynor Witness 1389. Search online at  https://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/bureau-of-military-history-1913-1921/bmhsearch/

Military Service Pension Collection. Michael Kennedy 1D444. Thomas Kennedy 3P774. Patrick Kennedy MSP34REF6973. Search online at https://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/military-service-pensions-collection-1916-1923

Sean Kenny and Seamus Ryan. Paddy Kennedy (1893-1955) in ‘Under Crimblin Hill’ Volume 1. (Dunkerin) 2018.

Sean Hogan. The Black and Tans in North Tipperary. (Tipperary) 2013.

Daithí O Corráin and Eunan O’Halpin. The dead of the Irish Revolution. (Yale) 2020.

Leinster Reporter. 9 August 1919.

Nenagh Guardian 14 December 1918. 24 September 1955.

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