Ballinacurra’s romantic link to the Easter Rising 1916.


Cork Volunteers 1916

Cork Volunteer units on parade at Cornmarket Yard in 1916

On Easter Sunday, 23rd April 1916, a party of armed men boarded the scheduled train service from Youghal to Cork at Mogeely station. The men were Irish Volunteers from Dungourney and the surrounding area. They were summoned to Cork by the original order to attend manoeuvres for that day. On arrival in Cork they assembled in the Volunteer Hall where Tomas McCurtin was obliged to tell them that the planned ‘manoeuvres’, in actual fact an armed uprising, had been called off by Eoin McNeill. McCurtin was so disgusted that he described the situation as ‘Order, counter-order, disorder.’


The German steamship SS Libau was renamed ‘Aud‘ after a Norwegian vessel before she was commissioned to smuggle arms and munitions  to Ireland for the intended rebellion in 1916. She was intercepted by the Royal Navy and was scuttled off the Daunt Rock. just south of Cork Harbour, on 22nd April, two days before the Easter Rising began.

But the rebellion’s chances of even remote success were already damaged by the capture of Roger Casement at Banna Strand in Kerry and the capture of the ‘Aud‘ which was shipping arms and munitions from Germany to Ireland under an assumed Norwegian identity. The men from Mogeely had been joined by men from Queenstown, and many of them remained overnight in the Volunteer Hall. But on the following day, Easter Monday, the hall was surrounded by troops and a siege, actually a stand-off, ensued for the week while Dublin was the scene of fierce fighting. The upshot of the whole affair was that the Volunteers surrendered their arms and later were rounded up and shipped off to detention, many being sent to Frongoch in Wales. On the whole, Cork’s .contribution to the Easter Rising seemed something of a damp squib. That would be rectified in the years 1919-1921 when the county was the scene of fierce fighting during the War of Independence.

There was one romantic Cork link to the fighting in Dublin in Easter week 1916. Today’s edition of the The Irish Examiner revealed an astonishing tale of lost love and lost identity that connects the Hurley family of Drinagh in the western part of the county and the O’Brien family of Conna and Ballinacurra, near Midleton. The tale of Sean Hurley and Kathleen O’Brien is an excellent example of how genealogy can fill in some unexpected gaps in our knowledge of the events.

This link will illustrate the whole tale:


The Coppinger name returns to Midleton!

John Joseph Coppinger

John Joseph Coppinger of Midleton as an officer in the US Army during the American Civil War.

About nine months ago we posted a discussion on the work of the Gothic Revival architect AWN Pugin in the Midleton/Dungourney area. The pair of townhouses designed by Pugin on Main Street, Midleton were then up for sale.

This was the post at the time:

The good news is that the building has been purchased and thoroughly refurbished. The exterior stonework has been repointed, probably for the first time since the 1850s. The interior has been splendidly designed to provide Midleton with a fine, even metropolitan bar, exceptional in an Irish country town. Wonderfully, Pugin is celebrated by a portrait and several copies of his architectural drawings in the Smoking Room.


The most famous portrait of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, the architect of the original building. There is a copy hanging in the ‘Smoking Room’ in the new bar, surrounded by copies of his architectural drawings.(National Portrait Gallery, London)

On Holy Thursday, 24th March, it reopened as J.J. Coppinger’s bar. The name comes from General John Joseph Coppinger, the Midleton man who joined the US army to fight in the American Civil War. J.J. Coppinger is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virgina. The new bar displays two walls of images and memorabilia depicting the American Civil War.

Tabernacle Nuremburg

A copy of this Pugin drawing of the spire of Adam Kraft’s magnificent 1493 tabernacle in the St Lorenzkirche, Nuremberg, Germany.(Irish Architectural Archive)

Damian Shiels has written about John Joseph Coppinger in his Midleton Heritage blog:

Tabernacle Nurembrug 2

The lower part of Adam Kraft’s tabernacle as drawn by Pugin. Sadly this image does not appear in the bar. Adam Kraft depicted himself as the kneeling figure bearing the huge tabernacle on his shoulders. This image and the one above were once owned by Pugin’s son-in-law, George Coppinger Ashlin, who designed Holy Rosary Church and the present Allied Irish Bank in Midleton. (Irish Architectural Archive)

It’s wonderful to see the Coppinger name return to Main Street, Midleton, for the first time since 1931. The new bar is located just yards from the original Coppinger brewery which was founded in the mid-1790s.

This is a review of the bar from Bill Linnane’s blog:

An introduction to JJ Coppinger’s bar:

When Annunciation meets Good Friday, Doomsday foretold.

Last Judgement

Michelangelo’s immense Last Judgement depicts Doomsday – the Day of Judgement. It was completed in 1541 and is thought to have been partially influenced by the Sack of Rome by the troops of The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1527.

Salve juste dies quae vulnera nostra coerces! Angelus est missus, est passus in cruce Christus….

The above lines are quoted by Jacobus de Voragine in his Golden Legend, a compendium of the lives of the saints composed around 1260 and laid out according to the church calendar. Later authors added further entries but this quotation is from the original text for the Feast of the Annunciation.

Annunciation Yverni

Jacques Yverni’s Annunciation. Tempera on panel, c.1435.(National Gallery of Ireland)

The Feast of the Annunciation is on 25th March, exactly nine months before Christmas Day. The feast celebrates the Incarnation – when Jesus became flesh in the womb of his mother Mary. But there is more to this date than meets the eye.

Christ Cucified

An almost life sized Corpus from a crucifixion, polychromed wood, Catalan or French 12th century. (Hunt Museum, Limerick)

Even before St Augustine, bishop of Hippo from 395 to 430, there was a strong tradition that 25th of March was the first day of Creation, it was the day that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, it was the day on which Christ was conceived and it was the day of Christ’s crucifixion. However the most worrying aspect of 25th of March was the belief that it was very likely to be the day of Christ’s return – Doomsday!


Thus the date held enormous importance for the faithful during the medieval period, and this importance was not just confined to the common people. Even scholars and educated clerics adhered to the same beliefs about 25th March. Indeed the same beliefs survived in the folklore of parts of west Kerry into the early twentieth century.


The Annunciation meets the Crucifixion in the volute of the O’Dea Crozier, 1418. Silver gilt, enamel and pearls. Thomas O’Carryd, Irish. The Annunciation is depicted inside the volute or curve but Pelican in its piety below is a figure for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.(Diocese of Limerick, displayed in the Hunt Museum, Limerick. Image: Limerickdioceseheritage.)

The best example in medieval Irish art of the importance of the conjunction of Annunciation and Good Friday as a precursor of Doomsday is found on the crozier of Bishop Cornelius O’Dea of Limerick. According to the date given on the inscription, this crozier was made by an Irish craftsman, Thomas O’Carryd, in 1418. What is intriguing is that Good Friday fell on 25th March in that year. It suggests that Bishop O’Dea was anxious about the immanence of the end of the world (an idea supported by another inscription on his mitre). The conjunction of Annunciation and Good Friday occurred at least three times during O’Dea’s lifetime, which suggests that the prospect of Christ’s immediate return posed a dilemma for the bishop who had maintained a mistress when he was a younger cleric, against the strictures on clerical celibacy. With this unknown woman he had at least three sons, two of whom were themselves clerics, one of whom became Bishop of Ossory (Kilkenny) when his daddy was Bishop of Limerick.

Gregory XIII monument

Pope Gregory XIII accepts the calculations for his new calendar in 1582.

So there you have it. The world will end when Good Friday falls on 25th March (the feast of the Annunciation)…..which it does today!  But there’s a snag. In 1418 Bishop O’Dea and the whole of western Europe used the ancient Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar. However Pope Gregory XIII introduced a new, corrected calendar in October 1582. Which begs the question, does heaven run on the Julian calendar, or the Gregorian one?

The best advice comes from the Gospel of Matthew, 25:13 – ‘Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.’ (Rheims-Douai  Bible, 1582):  But perhaps Bishop O’Dea had the last word in 1418. On his jewelled mitre appears this text from the Divine Office: Hoc signum crucis erat in caelo, cum dominum ad judicandum venerit.  ‘This sign of the cross will appear in the heavens when the Lord shall come to judge.’ Keep looking…..

Ballygourney Parish – hiding in plain sight.

Churchtown South

The early 19th century Catholic church of St Colmcille at Churchtown South represents the civil parish of Ballintemple, also called Ballygorney.

In my last post I looked at the Imokilly section  of the 1615 Royal Visitation of the diocese of Cloyne as published in Archivium Hibernicum in 1913 by Michael A Murphy. Unfortunately, I REALLY wasn’t paying attention to what I was writing. I wondered about the identity of the parish of Ballygourney….and got it entirely wrong!  One thing I was certain of is that Ballygourney was NOT Dungourney parish for that is mentioned in the survey under the Castlelyons Deanery parishes. I speculated that the parish of Ballygourney was near Midleton or Lisgoold, but in fact it made no sense. It certainly wasn’t named in the Cromwellian regime’s Down Survey (1650s).

Fortunately one of my readers contacted me and suggested that Ballygourney must be the Civil Parish better known as Ballintemple, on the coast west of Ballycotton and south of Cloyne. But PROVING it was the issue. She based her opinion on the fact that the sequence of parishes started with Garryvoe, then came Bohillane and Kilmahon and next came Ballygourney.- each of these parishes is right next to each other going from Garryvoe in the east to Bohillane on the west, then south to Kilmahon and west again to Ballygourney. After Ballygourney comes Inch and so on. All I can say is ‘Well spotted, Maria!’ When I checked Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837) it was right there in front of me:

CHURCHTOWN, or Ballintemple, in a parish in the barony of IMKILLY, county of Cork, province of Munster, 4 miles (S.E.) from Cloyne, containing 1756 inhabitants. This parish, also called Ballygourney, is situated on St George’s Channel…..

At the time that Samuel Lewis published his account, the parish was served by a small neat church in Ballycotton which was actually in Cloyne parish). The church in Ballycotton also served the parish of Kilmahon. In East Cork we call it the parish Churchtown South to distinguish it from Churchtown North, between Midleton and Castlemartyr. Today Ballintemple/Ballygourney/Churchtown South is part of the Catholic parish of Cloyne and comes under the Union of Cloyne in the Church of Ireland.

The moral of the tale is to consider carefully the sequence of places mentioned….and this may give you the correct location! It helps if you can use other evidence as well, of course!