By Ivan Lennon
On 15 March, 1919, an ”unruly confrontation” occurred at the ornate Devonshire-built train station in Lismore (above) between the R.I.C. and supporters of Volunteers J.J. Madden, John Keyes and George Lennon. The trio had been charged, convicted, and sentenced (on March 12) to gaol, under the Defence of the Realm Act (D.O.R.A.), for unlawful assembly and drilling of the Volunteers. Eighteen-year-old Lennon had been “on the run” for nearly a year since an arrest warrant had been issued on April 11, 1918 subsequent to an April 6 riot at the Court House in Dungarvan.
As Tommy Mooney noted in the "Cry of the Curlew": At the train station, “the R.I.C. , however, backed off and the trio eventually were sent off to Cork with patriotic songs and much cheering and jeering” at the Constabulary.
At Cork Male Prison, as mandated by the Dublin GHQ order of August 1918, non-cooperation was the order of the day. The internees were under the overall command of Wexford’s Tom D. Sinnott (“prisoner officer commanding”) and, in Wing 10, by Kerry’s Charlie Daly (1923 “Drumboe Martyr”). Being in violation of prison rules, the men were removed to solitary confinement where, as Lennon noted, conditions were shockingly bad: “there was no heat of any kind,….beds were mere benches, barred windows were devoid of glass and food was of an appalling poor standard.” To add to their woes the men’s period of incarceration coincided with the last outbreak of the so called “Spanish Influenza” which killed upwards of 50 million world wide.
(Right: George Lennon.)
Shortly after his nineteenth birthday (26 May 1919), Lennon was prematurely released “in poor health.” He returned to his native Dungarvan where he was nursed back to health by the Whelans of nearby Ballyduff Lower and his widowed Cumann na mBan mother who fed him numerous “egg flips.”
Ivan Lennon, son of Irish Volunteer George Lennon, is a retired history teacher living in Rochester, N.Y. He was born during the “ The Emergency” years, at Dublin’s famed Rotunda Hospital, a stone’s throw from the G.P.O. where the Irish Republic was proclaimed during Easter Week 1916. Ivan is the author of a family history of the Shanahan and Lennon sides of his family. “Ulster to the Déise: Lennon's in Time” includes material on the War of Independence in County Waterford.
More on the Irish War of Independence
The Tureengarriffe Ambush: Cork and Kerry Strike a Blow
The Tourmakeady Ambush: Shrouded By the “Fog of War” in Mayo
The Headford Ambush: Time Runs Out in Kerry
Cataclysm in Cork: The Battle of Clonmult
“The Scourge of Tralee”: Stalking the “The Major”
The Dromkeen Ambush: Down Into the Mire in County Limerick
The Rineen Ambush: Hell Comes to County Clare
The Carrowkennedy Ambush, June 2, 1921: Revenge is a Dish Best Serv...
Tom Barry: 'We May Have Great Men, But We’ll Never Have Better'
The Battle of Crossbarry: ... 'Who Piped Old Ireland Free'
The Kilmeena Ambush, May 19, 1921: Seeds of Victory in a Defeat
'Nigh Comeragh's Rugged Hills': Ambush at The Burgery
The R.I.C. In An Untenable Position, Part 1: Trauma at The Burgery
The Lispole Ambush -- Averting Disaster on the Dingle Peninsula
Patrick White: A Clareman's Tragic Death on Spike Island
'And To Watch the Sunbeams Dancing O’er the Wicklow Mountains High'
Always Remember ~ Cumann na mBan
War of Independence -- How the Nuns of Kylemore Saved My Father's Life
Terence MacSwiney: Irish Martyr
Walking to Work Through a Battle Zone
Review of 'Emmet Dalton - Somme Soldier, Irish General, Film Pionee...
Ballinalee, County Longford: The Village of Generals
The Anglo-Irish Treaty: Seed of 'The Troubles'
The Forgotten Ten:
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Admin Comment by Fran Reddy on March 13, 2019 at 4:39pm
Ahhh, Lismore - such a beautiful little town in County Waterford. I'll never forget visiting there! I highly recommend it! If you go, please eat at Eamon's Place on the main street. Fabulous food and hidden garden out back!
Thanks for the history! ;)
I have been visiting since 1950. Not familiar w/ Eamon's Place . Where exactly? I frequent Ormonde's, the Shamrock, Merry's and , most frequently, the Moorings on the quay - also on family occasions, The Tannery
OOPS I had better read more closely - you were referencing Lismore!
George Lennon, Commander of the West Waterford Flying Column: An Interview with his son, Ivan Lennon
Ivan Lennon recalls his fathers role in Irelands struggle for Freedom. At the age of 20, George Lennon became the youngest commander of a flying column during the Irish War of Independence, leading the West Waterford column in ambushes and actions in the face of heavy odds against British forces across the county.