Clonmult Ambush 1921 Among 32 Centenary Events Submitted for State Funding

By Seamus Whelehan


Cork County Council is set to take a pivotal role in commemorating centenary events, marking the County’s role in the War of Independence and Civil War that followed.

The Authority is preparing to submit 32 projects to the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the second phase of its Decade of Centenaries Programme.

In 2016 the County played a significant role in the Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, with 550 commemorative events taking place.

Last month the County’s Commemorations Committee wrote to the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht for enhanced funding from the State to support its commemorative activities from 2020-2022.

In a letter to Council on Monday, the Commemorations Unit within the Department said they are at present creating a budget and carrying out a consultative process to “stimulate conversation” on how best to mark these events in a “sensitive way”

Chairman of the County’s Commemorations Committee, Fianna Fail Cllr Frank O’Flynn said “everyone knows of the success of the 1916 event. We had 550 events throughout the County. We are the first County to seek funding. I look forward to submitting our list.”

Vice chair of the County’s Commemorations Committee, Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarthy, said the Clonmult ambush of 1921 should play a central role among the commemorative events.

“Cork County is a tenth of the landmass of the country and also a tenth in population.  We do have quite a large number of commemorations, so that should also be reflected in the request. The Clonmult Commemoration is quite a large scale event and we really need to ensure the Department is mindful of that when allocating funds“ said Cllr McCarthy.

The battle took place in a farm house near Clonmult on the 21 February 1921. The combat is seen as one of the single greatest losses of life during the War of Independence.

The 4th battalion of the IRA First Cork Brigade under Diarmuid Hurley, with members based around Midleton, Youghal and Cobh, had been a successful unit until Clonmult.

A total of 22 people died in the ambush and subsequent executions – 14 IRA members, 2 Black and Tans and 6 suspected informers.