War is briefly forgotten as Cork unites for 1923 St Patrick’s Day celebrations

What was in the news 100 years ago today? Richard Forrest reports in his weekly column, Echoes of Our Past
War is briefly forgotten as Cork unites for 1923 St Patrick’s Day celebrations

THEThe weather was delightfully fine for the National Festival with the shamrock and harp abundant, the Echo reported 100 years ago today, on Saturday, March 17, 1923.

Large numbers of people wore flags sold in the streets to support the language movement. All the masses in the city were well attended and a spirit of devotion was everywhere manifested.

High Mass was sung at the Cathedral at noon which members of the Corporation attended. Subsequently, his Lordship the Bishop briefly addressed its members in the Presbytery.

At the Military Barracks, the troops were paraded and the new colours presented to the Southern area. They were blessed along with the national tri-colour by the Very Rev Dr Scannell, Chaplain to the forces.

The national flag was then hoisted by Major-General Reynolds and the troops marched past giving the salute.

But tragedies continue...

Yesterday evening, William Beale, 53 and unmarried, was returning home to Elm Grove, Ballyvolane, when he was shot and seriously wounded.

Mr Beale was unaware he was being followed by two men until he had almost reached his gate. He then heard the men approach swiftly and was about to turn around when they challenged him. Before he could reply, he was shot at point blank range from revolvers. The perpetrators stated the act was “a reprisal for the execution” and immediately disappeared. Mr Beale was hit in three places, removed to the South Infirmary and operated on. One bullet entered his back, perforating the intestines in three places and exited through the abdomen. There were two further wounds in the arm.

A member of a well-known Cork family, Mr Beale has always been a most inoffensive gentleman and took no part whatsoever in politics. (William Beale died on March 20).

Ad in the Echo on March 17, 1923
Ad in the Echo on March 17, 1923

“Irksome Regulations”

St Patrick’s Day has lost its historic meaning and glamour. It is full of limitations and rigidity.

I am sure the saint himself, with his knowledge of the Irish character, would disagree with many of the puritanical precepts and irksome regulations which now crowd his festival.

The Scottish Sabbath air is not at all suited to us. No, neither the weather, war, nor a strange new shyness in the vicinity of publicans’ premises can deter the average man from realising he is an Irishman first and (perhaps) a partisan afterwards. I don’t agree with this modern tendency to disassociate from certain native and time-honoured characteristics. If, as I heard a preacher say recently, we are living on the religious reputation of our forefathers, let us at least acknowledge those good men in every other respect too. 

For we are neither better nor worse than they. This assumed contempt for our native nature is depriving some of the convivial character and a certain saving courage possessed by dead generations.

Fighting in Kerry and Dublin

National Troops fighting Irregulars at McGillycuddy’s Reeks captured an injured ex-R.I.C. man. He died shortly after capture.

In Dublin, troops captured an Irregular, James Donovan. Described as ‘Director of Chemicals’, he had been engaged for some time past in smuggling explosive materials from England.

The Evening Herald was suppressed briefly today by order of the Government. The 6 am mail train from Ballina to Dublin was saved from disaster by the pluck of a farmer’s daughter. On board were 14 National Officers, five wounded men and some civilians. The rails had been lifted spanning a river at Foxford and the brave girl, waving a green flag, brought it to a standstill within a yard of the abyss.

The dead body of Nicholas Corcoran, an Irregular leader shot on Wednesday, was on board being conveyed to his native place in Galway for burial.

Hurling News

Castletreasure have surpassed expectations by figuring prominently in the hurling final of the city division of the intermediate championship.

The Douglas lads first played to a draw against a sturdy Blackrock II, and, on the replay, have actually knocked out the Rockies! Their success is the product of consistent, intelligently directed training and the necessary determination to win. It is an example that might be followed by all young clubs.

The meeting of the Barrs and Sarsfields in aid of the Poor Children’s Excursion Fund last Sunday was well attended despite inclement weather. The hurling was excellent throughout.

Eventually, the Sarsfields had to acknowledge defeat 3-3 to 3-0 but not without giving their opponents a lively time.

Fixtures tomorrow: Sarsfields vs UCC, St Finbarr’s vs Redmonds II, Mallow vs St Ann’s, Commons Road vs Nemo Rangers, Passage vs St Mary’s II.

Ancient civilisation

The Russian expedition to Lapland headed by Professor Bartjenko has returned to Petrograd. It found traces of civilisation as old as the Egyptians on the Kolo Peninsula.

Meanwhile, 40 French troops were killed in a serious railway accident in the Crefeld district of Germany.

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