By Peadar O’Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

I had the great good fortune to realise almost at the outset that I was having an unusual experience and I canvassed every aspect of it : I was , perhaps, unusually well-equipped to pass through such a storm, for attacks on me had to be made on platform level where nobody is my master. Then , too, I had a mighty flail in ‘An Phoblacht’.

I was lucky also in that, for all the noise around my name, I was not known by appearance much, outside Dublin and Donegal, so that I was often able to join in the talk, at the next table to me in a provincial hotel, on this ‘blackguard’ Peadar O’ Donnell (!) , and I always added to their store of knowledge and helped them abuse him. I think I learned a lot about people during that period , about certain people, anyway. And I learned a little, too, about Peadar O’ Donnell…..

There were two fronts to the Donegal resistance – the trustees to the estate of the Marquess of Conyngham and the ‘Irish Land Commission’. The tenants of the Conyngham Estate were the more caught-up in the 1919 campaign and the trustees who were anxious to sell to the Commission had trouble with title, or some legal nicety, in many cases. They were willing to forgo arrears in some cases if tenants would only pay the current year but their greatest difficulty was with islands and they made some attempts to enforce payments there. I made noises in ‘An Phoblacht’ over attacks on Owey Island , Arranmore Island and Innisfree. (MORE LATER).


The inside story of a personal feud that has left one man dead and tarnished the reputation of the PIRA’s most fearsome brigade.

From ‘Magill’ magazine , April 2003.

By John Keane.

Peter Kelly laid the blame firmly at the door of the (P)IRA and described them as psychopaths who behaved like the mafia and alleged the gang had attempted to sever his son’s head with sledgehammer blows. (P) Sinn Féin’s response was to query why the family had waited for one month after the attack to blame the (P)IRA and, six months after the attack, (P) Sinn Féin still have not approached the Kelly family with an explanation. Local republicans privately admit that Raymond Kelly is not a criminal.

Described as a young man who ‘can handle himself’ , the keen athlete and kickboxer is believed to have got into a row with a leading republican shortly before the attack on him and an older brother, Barry, now 27, was the victim of a brutal punishment beating two years ago which left him with broken arms and legs. A kick-boxer too, he apparently gatecrashed a republican celebration and resisted vigorously when ejected. One of the party guests was top South Armagh Provo Michael ‘Micksey’ Martin , who served a 16-month sentence in a US jail for his part in the 1990 attempt by the PIRA to procure Stinger missiles for use against British Army helicopters in South Armagh.

A month after the near-fatal attack on Raymond Kelly , another young South Armagh man was targeted ; this time the gang rammed a chip van owned by Ciaran Toner (22) of Camlough just as he arrived to set up at his regular late-night pitch outside the Lough Inn public house. They dragged Toner behind the pub and set upon him with iron bars, breaking both his arms and one leg before burning a jeep belonging to him. He told his family he recognised his attackers as PIRA men who had previously demanded protection money from him for pitching his fast-food business in the ataunchly republican village. The PIRA did not admit the attack but local republicans hinted that there had been a spate of joyriding incidents……(MORE LATER).


Between the hours of 9pm and 10pm on Friday 2nd January 1920 – the same date and year, incidentally, when the British Government began its recruitment campaign for the notorious ‘Black and Tan’ paramilitary unit , which first reared its ugly head and body in Dublin on 25th March that year , 1920 (and which, apropos of nothing, like 2012 , was a leap year!) , IRA Volunteers in Cork began an operation which was to boost the morale of all those engaged in the on-going freedom struggle in Ireland : after a gun battle which lasted approximately four hours over Friday 2nd January 1920 and Saturday 3rd , the British Army barracks in Carrigtwohill, in Cork – which was staffed by armed members of the RIC Westminster militia – fell to rebel forces.

For IRA Commandant Mick Leahy , Officer Commanding of the IRA Battalion of Cork 1st Brigade comprising Volunteers from East Cork , Midleton and Cobh, the operation was a great success and even more so for the IRA GHQ , who were said to be somewhat reluctant to sanction the operation which was, in effect, officially, the first IRA attack on an RIC barracks. That particular barracks was said by its inhabitants to be ‘strongly fortified and….almost impregnable…’ and was known to contain an arsenal of weapons including bombs, rifles, revolvers and ammunition. Those attacking the barracks, on the other hand, had twelve revolvers , a few rifles and some sticks of gelignite to rely on.

At about 9pm on Friday night, 2nd January 1920, the IRA Volunteers taking part in the operation silently placed themselves around the barracks and two of their number set about cutting the telephone wires going into the structure but, towards the end of the job, they were challenged by two RIC members returning from a foot patrol in the town as to what they were doing and who then tried to ‘arrest’ the two Volunteers , unsuccessfully. The RIC members ran into the barracks and raised the alarm to their Sergeant, a man named ‘Scott’, who immediately attempted to telephone for reinforcements but, because the lines were down, was unable to do so. He ordered his men to close the steel shutters , barricade the doors and to prepare for an assault.

A hay barn at the back of the barracks was contained within a five-foot high wall and it was from within the barn and from behind that wall that the attack began , proper – a volley of shots from IRA guns thudded into the barracks, from which heavy fire was returned. Continuous fire without cessation was exchanged between the two parties for a number of hours , under the cover of which an IRA Volunteer managed to place a stick of gelignite in a wall of the barracks thus blowing a hole in it : three IRA men – Diarmuid O’Hurley , Joe Aherne and Tadhg Manley – led a section of their men into the barracks, through the recently-created ‘entry’ , only to find that the ground-floor was deserted ; the RIC enemy had fled upstairs. Their surrender was demanded by the IRA unit and this demand was complied with. All remaining weapons and associated material in the barracks , and £115 in cash (worth about £4,700 in todays money!) , was commandeered by the Irish rebels and removed in a car to a safe house.

Today, the British Administration in Westminster and its spawn in Stormont consider that its writ in the six north-eastern counties of Ireland is ‘strongly fortified (and) impregnable…’ but, thankfully, there are many five-foot high walls left to explore…..


Hands all-a-tremble, she manages, again, to pin him down. And his hands stop trembling long enough for him to show off his Award….

It would indeed be small-minded of us not to extend our congrats to Baron J118 , better known here as ‘Martin McGuinness’ , on reaching the same lofty heights as one of his Irish bosses , Baron Adams – and we do so not in a sarcastic manner, like this crowd, but in a spirit of genuine happiness for what it might mean : that more watery nationalists, (ex-)Stickies , Stoops , Labourites and Fianna Failers will see the ‘value’ in becoming a ‘Provie’ rebel and join-up in the hope , belief (and likelihood) that, one day in the near-distant future (after first being allowed to mingle with other Westminster-approved ‘Establishment’ figures) they too can get a name as an early riser despite staying in bed all day ie trade on and benefit, financially and ‘socially’, from the ‘old days’ whilst still being allowed to reach new heights (!) in a political career which has been gifted to you by your new friends.

It must help , too, in realising that the person most likely to fill the void in your absence is a wannabe-go-getter with his tongue firmly placed on the career ladder, just like you and, again just like you, being supported by some VIP’s !

Master McGuinness, those of his ilk and those whose ambition it is to be of that ilk have long since proved that their (alleged) passion is but a quotation borrowed from other people. Those with a genuine republican aim recognised that fact decades ago.


The more I read of this , the angrier I get. And sadder, too. And frightened. And the more I appreciate the many I know in this community that look after their Mam or Dad because they love them, not because they get money from their parent(s) to do it. And it’s even more sickening when you consider that the parent in question is in her mid-80’s, living on her own, trying to pay her bills , feed and cloth herself and keep her small home warm on a widow’s pension.

One of the two daughters involved seemingly convinced herself that it was okay to keep taking big sums of money from her Mam’s pension account once she put the loose change back in every so often (here and here) whereas the other daughter not only re-paid none of it but also charged her own mother €7 each day she called in to see her. Those two women are definitely ill , God help them – there must be a shared mental and/or moral blockage or deficit that they are both inflicted with , otherwise they couldn’t possibly live with themselves after doing what they done. Not only must every day for them be a false statement but it is one lived with a deliberate intent to deceive. If people like that are free to walk the streets then none of us are safe.



We get so much spam and mindless ‘contributions’ to this blog (99% of it through our ‘Blogsome’ site) that our ‘Junior’ has really earned his keep with the unbelievable amount of the stuff that he has sorted out but, now and then, even he gets a wee bit of craic from some of the nonsense that he has to deal with – like the following comment , which he retrieved from the bowels of one of our filters a few days ago :


I know it is because of your past expenses that make you not to believe me but I told you before that I cannot deceive you because my bible says what shall it profit a man to gain material things and=loose your soul, any way their is good news now, i raised some money=to help you out and make sure that your payment will be release to you the same day you send the $59.00 as well.

I borrowed money yesterday after service from my Pastor, then you have to send the remain balance now only $$59.00 but i don’t see the reason=you have to keep silent on me, honestly I am just is appointed at your behaviors before because you know that I cannot deceive you, Just pay the $59.00 and leave rest for me watching me if I am telling you lies.

Your payments is already approval today for you to receive it but the management here says that you must pay $59.00 for the Stamp and activation charge before you can receive the payment today, please send the charge through western union immediately, i have assured you=a time without number that this is genuine and legitimate.

I swear If I fail to release your payment after you send the $59.00 as I promise don’t count on me again, I cannot fail you, I promise you don’t fear as soon as you send the $$59.00 today please leave the rest to me and see if I am lie to you because I can not use my life swear because of $59.00, how can I swear against my life because of this small amount? it is to show you that I am telling you the truth.


Receiver Name=====Igbanugo Lawrence

Country====Benin Republic


Question====what color




Sender’s name===

Sender’s Direct Telephone===

I promise you as soon as we hear from you with the payment of $59. today we shall send your pick up information the same day you send the $59.00 I swear.

Yours Sincerely

Mr. Daniel Williams

Foreign Operation Manager

:- ) LOL!

But thank God that our ‘Junior’ got this before myself or the rest of the 1169 Team did, as we probably would have fallen for it (!) even though we should have learned our lesson after our ‘Mustafa Incident’. But….. then again, maybe it’s our ‘Junior’ that’s trying to scam us out of a small fortune , courtesy of Mr. Williams….? The thick plottens , but we’ll let you know how we get on later – right now I have to find my cheque-book….

Thanks for reading,

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
This entry was posted in History/Politics. and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Great stuff Sharon , always an entertaining informative read !! Fair play keep it up !!

    • 11sixtynine says:

      Hi Andy !
      Many thanks for the visit – and for the favourable comment : it’s appreciated !
      We try our best , hit the spot sometimes but like to think our aim is improving with each post !

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