YESTERDAY afternoon, a party of National soldiers were attacked near Riverstown with four casualties, the Echo reported 100 years ago today, on Saturday, September 16, 1922.
Captain Cashman was wounded in the arm, Lieutenant Butler was wounded slightly in the ankle, and two civilian drivers were hit, one in the neck, head and wrist.
Contrary to a report which first reached Cork, nobody was killed.
The party of eight troops in a Lancia lorry and a small, two-seater car were travelling from Lismore to Cork. Owing to the destruction of bridges at Dunkettle and Glanmire, they had to make a detour near Riverstown.
The attackers were on a hill, which gave them a great height advantage, and rained down gunfire. The National troops responded vigorously and soon emptied the contents of their Lewis gun and rifles.
The engagement was brief, but the Irregular fire was heavy and constant and raked the whole side of the road.
With no choice but to make for Cork, the Lancia driver clenched the wheel determinedly, all the while getting weaker and weaker from blood loss. His comrades eventually managed to release his grip on it and the uninjured officer slipped into his place. He too thought he had been hit as there was so much blood.
At the Imperial Hotel in the afternoon, the two-seat tourer and lorry came in for a great deal of attention from large crowds. Both were blood-stained and in the Lancia were empty cartridge cases and other evidence of the exchange.
A shocking occurrence took place at Carrigaphooka Bridge, near Macroom, this morning.
A party of National soldiers left Macroom at 7am to remove a land mine that had been discovered. They were not long at the work when a massive explosion was heard echoing violently throughout the surrounding hills.
Startled locals were quickly on the scene and met with a gruesome sight. The road for a considerable distance was torn up and the area was strewn with portions of mangled limbs. The whole party of seven were killed by the explosion.
Four bodies were terribly disfigured. Two other men were in a dying condition. One of these, young Manning from Castle Street, died soon afterwards.
Dr O’Donoghue happened to be in the area on a call and the Rev Hartnett was also speedily summoned. The sole survivor at this point was given all attention possible. He had both legs broken and several contused wounds. He was conveyed to the Mercy Hospital in Cork where he died in the afternoon. The bodies of the other six men were brought to Williams’ Hotel and are awaiting transportation to Dublin and the Midlands, where it is believed they are from.
Meanwhile, practically all business premises in Killarney are closed, except for a few hours each day, as stock in the various shops is exhausted and there is nothing left to sell. Several employers of labour have been compelled to close for two or more days a week.
We hear much about flying and the engineless gliding that is to come. Highways of the kind we are used to will become obsolete and dynamite a sentimental thing of the past. The new highways will be in the air and impervious to it.
Of course, the passion for destruction may not be so easy to shake and may, in its fury, attempt to abolish the air. Some may have the bright idea to commandeer the air and ration it out to those of their choosing.
For now, or for the immediate future at any rate, there is the prospect of a rush on gliders by the general population. Food for town and country will glide over our broken bridges and burnt homesteads. Country folk will gather on hill-tops to sail on linen wings to Mass on Sundays. Road Bowlers will be wafted amid sighs from Maryborough Hill to the dreamy solitudes between Graball and Church bays.
As the destruction at ground level proceeds, there will arise a species of gliding jarvey who will ply regularly from the top of Patrick’s Hill to the suburbs, and on Sunday mornings will cater specially for all those who may care to swoop beyond the three-mile limit before 2pm (for a pint).
A river steamer will leave from St Patrick’s Bridge at 11.30am on Sunday for Passage, Monkstown, Cobh and Crosshaven and return at 6pm. As Summer Time is to be continued for a further four weeks, this will provide patrons with a good opportunity of appreciating the beauties of the harbour.
The state of the country is such that connecting with the Examiner and Echo is proving very difficult. Some articles which I devoted much attention to will never see the light of day. They have passed through strange hands into the unknown.
It promises to be long and bitter. Yet somehow, despite all the troubles, life goes on around me in the capital. Thousands of people move briskly about their business. The people are almost indifferent to future developments, living in the necessities of each day, they scarcely dare think of tomorrow.