Old Galway

Black & Tans in Galway

30th November, 2006

On September 8th, 1920, we were in Louis O'Dea's house to meet a priest from Ironton, Ohio who wanted to tell everyone about the great work he was doing for Ireland. The evening papers used to come in on the train arriving at 11.30 pm. Tommy went out to get one and we heard the train and then several loud shots and a lot of shouting and noise. When Tommy came back he told us what happened.

A Black-and-Tan lorry driver named Krumm had spent the evening drinking. In one pub he boasted about his aim and insisted on setting up a row of bottles as targets to show his skill. Tom Hynes, the IRA Intelligence Officer heard of this and sent his brother Michael to warn any Volunteers that an armed man seemed to be preparing to create trouble. The Volunteers were in the habit of going to the station every night to meet the train, watch the troop movement, collect despatches and meet Volunteers from other districts, and this night they were also going to collect arms from the Longford area. Krumm and a companion went on to the platform by the gate on the arrivals side. The Volunteers warned the men arriving with the Longford guns, and the train stopped for a moment outside the station while they went out by the signal box with the guns. The train came into the station and as the passengers started to go out the gate Krumm drew his gun and made as if to shoot into the crowd. Sean Turke jumped on his back, pulled him to the ground and tried to get his gun from him. Sean Mulvoy went to help him and Krumm managed to fire all the rounds in his gun in the struggle, killing Mulvoy and wounding another man. Another Volunteer shot Krumm just as Tom Fahy and Michael Hynes came to help and they took the gun away. Krumm's companion was still with him but seems to have taken no part in the business. Tommy and the others carried Mulvoy to his lodgings but he was dead on arrival.

A quarter of an hour after we got home (to College Road) we heard several armoured cars go tearing down the road from Renmore and we knew the trouble had started... It was a wonderful still warm night and I could hear every sound in the town from where we were on the shore of Lough Athalia. The lorries full of armed men tore down the road from Renmore and the shooting began. The first shots sounded like machine gun fire followed by dreadful screaming. This was when Sergeant Fox shot young Seamus Quirke. Quirke was taken from his lodgings in the New Dock and shot through the stomach eleven times. He crawled on his hands and knees from the lamppost on the quay where he was shot to the door of his house. The screaming was the background to all the horrors of the next five hours until the poor boy died at dawn. Fr. Griffin was sent for and stayed with him until he died.".

Some extracts there from a new book entitled "All in the Blood" published by A.A.Farmar. It is a memoir written by Geraldine Plunkett Dillon who was a sister of Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the signatories of the Proclamation. She was married to Tom Dillon, Professor of Chemistry UCG (the Tommy mentioned above). The book is a remarkable first hand account of events leading up to the Rising. It then details the Dillons move to Galway and describes many of the terrible events of the Black-and-Tan period here. It has been edited by Geraldine's granddaughter Honor O'Brolchain, and is very highly recommended.

Our first two photographs today were taken by Leaper and show
A) Sean Mulvoy
B) Seamus Quirke in Volunteer uniform
C) Shows Seamus Quirke's coffined corpse being guarded by two Volunteers. Sean Turke is the one on the right
D) Shows the funeral of the two Volunteers going through Eyre Square.

There were a lot of police and plain clothes detectives in attendance. Also there were a number of young boys - Fianna Eireann in uniform, and behind those a row of women. At one point in the Square, a number of men came forward and fired a volley, then handed the guns to the boys who in turn handed them back to the women to hide them. No more public funerals were allowed after this in Galway, except for Father Griffin's.

Please forward any queries/comments to oldgalway@kennys.ie