Marking MacCurtain’s murder, 99 years on...

Marking MacCurtain’s murder, 99 years on...

Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás MacCurtain who was murdered by the Royal Irish Constabulary on March 20, 1920, lying in state at City Hall Cork.

This week marked the 98th anniversary of the death of former Cork City Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain.

Lord Mayor of Cork Tomas MacCurtain and family pictured in early 1920. 
Lord Mayor of Cork Tomas MacCurtain and family pictured in early 1920. 

The Corkman was one of the martyrs of the Irish revolution, assassinated at home in front of his wife and son in 1920.

Irish Volunteers stand in tribute at Tomás MacCurtain’s funeral .
Irish Volunteers stand in tribute at Tomás MacCurtain’s funeral .

Mr MacCurtain was killed on his 36th birthday but packed enough into his short life that he is vividly remembered to this day and one of Cork city’s main streets is named in his honour.

He was born into a farming household in Mourneabbey in 1886, and in 1897 he and his family moved to Cork city where he became a pupil in the North Mon.

Officers of Irish Volunteers' Cork Brigade with Seán MacDermott and Herbert Moore Pim on the day of the Manchester Martyrs' commemoration / parade, November 28, 1915 at the Volunteer Hall, Sheares Street, Cork. Picture: Cork Public Museum Front (seated): Seán Murphy, Tomás MacCurtain, Seán MacDiarmada, Herbert Moore Pim, Seán O'Sullivan (commandant City battalion), Seán Ó Muirthile. Centre: Tom O'Sullivan & Diarmuid O'Shea (with rifles), Tom Barry, Pat Corkery, Donal Barrett, Donal Óg O'Callaghan (future Lord Mayor, suceeded Terence MacSwiney), Tadhg Barry, Diarmuid Lynch, Con Twomey (one of two men with rifles on right) Back: Dick Murphy, Seán Nolan, Daithí Cotter, Seán Scanlan, Fred Murray. 1916100Years - Irish Volunteers - IRB - Easter Rising 1916
Officers of Irish Volunteers' Cork Brigade with Seán MacDermott and Herbert Moore Pim on the day of the Manchester Martyrs' commemoration / parade, November 28, 1915 at the Volunteer Hall, Sheares Street, Cork. Picture: Cork Public Museum Front (seated): Seán Murphy, Tomás MacCurtain, Seán MacDiarmada, Herbert Moore Pim, Seán O'Sullivan (commandant City battalion), Seán Ó Muirthile. Centre: Tom O'Sullivan & Diarmuid O'Shea (with rifles), Tom Barry, Pat Corkery, Donal Barrett, Donal Óg O'Callaghan (future Lord Mayor, suceeded Terence MacSwiney), Tadhg Barry, Diarmuid Lynch, Con Twomey (one of two men with rifles on right) Back: Dick Murphy, Seán Nolan, Daithí Cotter, Seán Scanlan, Fred Murray. 1916100Years - Irish Volunteers - IRB - Easter Rising 1916

When he left school he went to he work as a Clerk for the City of Cork Steam Packet Company and also took a keen interest in Irish culture and music.

He joined the Gaelic League in 1901 and was the group’s secretary within a year.

Home of Tomás MacCurtain, taken shortly after his death, March 1920. The Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain, was shot dead in this house. Although MacCurtain's assassination is often attributed to English members of the Black and Tans, it was actually carried out by Irish members of the RIC. Pic: Mercier Archives
Home of Tomás MacCurtain, taken shortly after his death, March 1920. The Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain, was shot dead in this house. Although MacCurtain's assassination is often attributed to English members of the Black and Tans, it was actually carried out by Irish members of the RIC. Pic: Mercier Archives

It is said Mr MacCurtain loved Irish poetry, music and dancing, as well as being keenly interested in Irish history and archaeology. He met Eilish Walsh, who was a daughter of a Stonemason and also very active in the Gaelic League, and they married in June 1908.

Lord Mayor Tomás McCurtain, surrounded by well-wishers, as he tries out a Fordson tractor, manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in Cork.
Lord Mayor Tomás McCurtain, surrounded by well-wishers, as he tries out a Fordson tractor, manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in Cork.

They had six children, the first dying as an infant. Patrick, Siobhan, Sile, Maura, Eilish, and Thomas Jnr. They made their home at 40 Thomas Davis St, Blackpool, in the northern part of Cork City.

Mr MacCurtain is buried in St. Finbarr's Cemetery on the Glasheen Road.

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