Thomas Whelan

Last updated

Thomas Whelan
Tomwhelan.jpg
Born5 October 1898
Died14 March 1921(1921-03-14) (aged 22)
Nationality Irish
OccupationRailway worker
Known forExecuted IRA volunteer  : One of The Forgotten Ten

Thomas Whelan ( /ˈhwlən/ ; 5 October 1898 14 March 1921) was one of six men executed in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin on 14 March 1921. [1] He was 22 years old at the time of his death.

Contents

Background

Whelan was born in Gortrummagh [2] near Clifden, County Galway to farmer John Whelan and Bridget Price on 5 (or 15) October 1898, the sixth child of thirteen. [3] He attended national school at Beleek and Clifden, before leaving school at 15 to work on his father's farm. [3] He moved to Dublin at the age of 18, where he found work as a railwayman, and joined the Irish Volunteers as a member of 'A' Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade. [4] [5] He lived at Barrow Street, Ringsend, Dublin and worked at a train depot. [4]

Arrest and execution

He was arrested on 23 November 1920 and, on 1 February 1921, he was charged with the death by shooting of Captain G.T. Baggallay, an army prosecutor who had been a member of courts that sentenced Volunteers to death under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Regulations [6] on Bloody Sunday (1920). [3]

Whelan was defended at his Court-martial by Michael Noyk, through whom he protested his innocence of the charges. As in the case of Patrick Moran, there was eyewitness evidence that Whelan had been at Mass at the time the shooting took place. [5]

The prosecution cast doubt on the reliability of the eyewitnesses, arguing that as Catholics they were not neutral. The defence complained that it was unfair to suggest the witnesses "were prepared to come up and perjure themselves on behalf of the prisoner" because "they belonged to a certain class and might hold certain political opinions". [7]

The military court did, however, trust the evidence of an army officer who lived in the same house as Baggallay and who had identified Whelan as the man covering him with a revolver during the raid. There was also testimony by a soldier who had passed by the house when he heard shots fired. This witness said he saw Whelan outside, attempting to start his motorcycle. Whelan was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.

In Mountjoy Gaol, he was imprisoned with the writer and activist Ernie O'Malley, who described him as:

"... smooth-faced, quiet and brown eyed with wavy hair; he smiled quietly and steadily. His voice was soft and when he laughed with the others one knew that the fibre was not as hard and that there was a shade of wistfulness about him."

Patrick Moran and Thomas Whelan Mountjoy Prison 14 March 1921 Thos Whelan + Patrick Moran%3F March 1921 (35680736786).jpg
Patrick Moran and Thomas Whelan Mountjoy Prison 14 March 1921

Whelan was quoted just before being hanged: "Give the boys my love. Tell them to follow on and never surrender. Tell them I am proud to die for Ireland." [8]

Whelan was hanged at 6.00 am along with Patrick Moran, the first of six men to be executed that day – the six were executed in twos. [9] A crowd estimated at 40,000 gathered outside the prison to pray as the executions took place. His mother, Bridget, saw him before his execution, and waited outside with the praying crowd holding candles. She told a reporter that she had left her son "so happy and cheerful you would almost imagine he was going to see a football match".[ citation needed ]

Aftermath Violence

Following the Two for One policy that decreed the assassination of two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) in retaliation for every executed Irish Volunteer, the IRA in Whelan's native Clifden ambushed and fatally shot R.I.C. Constables Charles Reynolds and Thomas Sweeney at Eddie King's Corner in on 16 March 1921. [10] In response to the RIC's request for assistance over the wireless, a trainload of Black and Tans arrived in Clifden from Galway City in the early hours of St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1921, and proceeded to "burn, plunder and murder". [11] During what is now called, "The Burning of Clifden", the Black and Tans killed one local civilian (John McDonnell), seriously injured another, burned down 14 houses, and damaged several others. [12]

Reinterment

He was one of a group of men hanged in Mountjoy Prison in the period 1920-1921 who are commonly referred to as The Forgotten Ten. In 2001 he and the other nine, including Kevin Barry, were exhumed from their graves in Mountjoy prison and given a full state funeral. He is now buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. [13] An annual commemoration is still held in Clifden for him.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bloody Sunday (1920)</span> Day of violence in Dublin on 21 November 1920

Bloody Sunday was a day of violence in Dublin on 21 November 1920, during the Irish War of Independence. More than 30 people were killed or fatally wounded.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clifden</span> Town in Connacht, Ireland

Clifden is a coastal town in County Galway, Ireland, in the region of Connemara, located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. As the largest town in the region, it is often referred to as "the Capital of Connemara". Frequented by tourists, Clifden is linked to Galway city by the N59.

Events from the year 1921 in Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Recess, County Galway</span> Village in Connacht, Ireland

Recess is a village in County Galway, Ireland. Its official name is in Irish, Sraith Saileach, and translates as "stream of the willow tree". A notable former resident was Seán Lester, the last Secretary General of the League of Nations, who lived there following his retirement until his death in 1959.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Timeline of the Irish War of Independence</span>

This is a timeline of the Irish War of Independence of 1919–21. The Irish War of Independence was a guerrilla conflict and most of the fighting was conducted on a small scale by the standards of conventional warfare.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Forgotten Ten</span> Members of the Irish Republican Army

The Forgotten Ten were ten members of the Irish Republican Army who were executed in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, by British forces following courts martial from 1920 to 1921 during the Irish War of Independence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frank Flood</span> 1st Lieutenant in the Irish War of Independence

Francis Xavier Flood, known as Frank Flood, was a 1st Lieutenant in the Dublin Active Service Brigade during the Irish War of Independence. He was executed by the British authorities in Mountjoy Prison and was one of the men commonly referred to as The Forgotten Ten.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Bryan (Irish republican)</span>

Thomas Bryan was member of the Irish Republican Army and one of six men hanged in Mountjoy Prison on 14 March 1921.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patrick Doyle (Irish republican)</span> Irish republican

Patrick Doyle was one of six men hanged in Mountjoy Prison on the morning of 14 March 1921. He was aged 29 and lived at St. Mary's Place, Dublin. He was one of The Forgotten Ten.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bernard Ryan (Irish republican)</span> Member of the IRA (c.1901-1921)

Bernard Ryan was one of six men hanged in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin on 14 March 1921. He was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and part of the Dublin Brigade's Active Service Unit. He was one of The Forgotten Ten.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Traynor</span> Member of the Irish Republican Army

Thomas Traynor or Trainor was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) hanged in Mountjoy Prison during the Irish War of Independence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patrick Moran (Irish republican)</span>

Patrick Moran was a grocer's assistant, trade unionist and member of the Irish Republican Army executed in Mountjoy Prison along with five other men on 14 March 1921. He is one of those who were dubbed "The Forgotten Ten".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Kilroy</span> Irish politician (1884–1962))

Michael Kilroy was an Irish politician and guerrilla leader. He was an Irish Republican Army (IRA) officer in his native County Mayo during the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War. Subsequently, he was a Sinn Féin and later Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for Mayo South.

The murders of John Lydon and his son Martin Lydon occurred in Letterfrack, County Galway, Ireland during the Irish Land War.

Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill is an Irish historical writer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clifden Castle</span> Castle in County Galway, Ireland

Clifden Castle is a ruined manor house west of the town of Clifden in the Connemara region of County Galway, Ireland. It was built c. 1818 for John D'Arcy, the local landowner, in the Gothic Revival style. It fell into disrepair after becoming uninhabited in 1894. In 1935, ownership passed to a group of tenants, who were to own it jointly, and it quickly became a ruin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galway to Clifden railway</span> Disused railway line in Ireland

The Galway to Clifden railway or Connemara Railway was a railway line opened in Ireland by the Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) in 1895. It led from Galway to Clifden, the capital of the sparsely populated Connemara region in western County Galway. It was closed by the MGWR's successor, the Great Southern Railways (GSR) in 1935.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Recess railway station</span> Disused railway station in Ireland

Recess railway station was on the Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) Clifden branch line from Galway and was situated in the heart of the Connemara tourism area in Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clifden railway station</span> Former railway station in County Galway, Ireland

Clifden railway station was the terminus on the Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) Clifden branch line from Galway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John D'Arcy (1785–1839)</span> Founder of the town of Clifden Ireland

John D'Arcy (1785–1839) was the founder of town of Clifden, recognised as the capital of Connemara, in County Galway, Ireland. He was to reside at the mansion he had built, Clifden Castle.

References

  1. O'Halpin, Eunan & Ó Corráin, Daithí (2020), The Dead of the Irish Revolution, Yale University Press, 2020. p. 337
  2. "[1911 Census] Residents of a house 4 in Gortrummagh (Clifden, Galway)". The National Archives of Ireland. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 Tim Carey (2001). Hanged for Ireland 'The Forgotten Ten' Executed 1920-21: A Documentary History. Dublin: Blackwater Press. ISBN   1-84131-547-8.
  4. 1 2 "Department of the Taoiseach".
  5. 1 2 "An Phoblacht/Republican News".
  6. Richard Bennett, pg 106 The Black and Tans; ISBN   978-1-86227-098-5
  7. Villiers-Tuthill, Kathleen (2006). Beyond the Twelve Bens - a history of Clifden and district 1860-1923. Connemara Girl Publications. pp. 202–204. ISBN   978-0-9530455-1-8.
  8. "Six Irishmen Die on Dublin Gallows as Crowds Pray" (PDF). NY Times. 15 March 1921. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  9. Thorne, Kathleen, (2014) Echoes of Their Footsteps, The Irish Civil War 1922-1924, Generation Organization, Newberg, OR, pg 208, ISBN   978-0-692-24513-2
  10. O'Halpin, p. 342-343
  11. Villiers-Tuthill, Kathleen (2006). Beyond the Twelve Bens — a history of Clifden and district 1860-1923. Connemara Girl Publications. ISBN   978-0-9530455-1-8. Page 177.
  12. Villiers-Tuthill, Kathleen (2006). Beyond the Twelve Bens — a history of Clifden and district 1860-1923. Connemara Girl Publications. ISBN   978-0-9530455-1-8. Pages 209–213.
  13. O'Halpin, p. 338