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A Company, Second Battalion, Mid-Limerick Brigade.
Irish Volunteers 1916 - 1923.
Lived 06 April 1896 - 15 December 1957.
If you can identify any of the men in the above photograph, or if you have any information concerning the Strand Barracks, or A Company, Second Battalion, Mid-Limerick Brigade, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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"Widespread regret was expressed at the death of Mr. Cornelius McNamara "St. Anne's" Clanmorris Avenue, Ennis Road, which occurred on Sunday. Mr. McNamara, who was an official of Limerick Corporation, had been carrying out his duties up to very recently and few of his friends were aware of he being ill. When the 2nd Battalion of the I.R.A. was organised in Limerick, he was one of the first to join A. Coy. And gave outstanding service during the War of Independence. So highly were his services rated, that soon he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and later became Captain of the Company. He served terms of imprisonment in Irish and English prisons and when released after the treaty attached himself to the Republician Party. During the Civil War he was officer commanding the Strand Barrack, which was being held by Republican troops. Captain McNamara was called upon to surrender but refused to do so, holding the barracks until it was shelled from an 18 ib. artillery piece. When he eventually had to surrender, he was complimented by the Free State Officer in charge on the magnificent defence he put up, he was arrested and interned and released late in 1923. While interned he was a very intimate friend of Mr. Sean T. O'Kelly, President of Ireland and the present Lord Mayor of Dublin."
During the Irish Civil War between the 15th and the 20th July 1922, the Republican-held Strand Barracks in Limerick, on what is now Clancy’s Strand, came under constant ferocious attacks from Free State troops.
They attacked the barracks repeatedly with armoured cars, and a non stop bombardment of sniper, machine gun and mortar fire. All attempts to capture the barracks were resisted fiercely by the brave men inside. Finally, when everything else failed to dislodge these gallant men, the Free State turned an 18-pounder Artillery Gun on the barracks. This was the only time a siege gun was used in Limerick since the siege of 1691. The officer in charge was told to surrender the barracks or be held responsible for the loss of life. His response was "he would not surrender while he had still had ammunition".
Firing commenced shortly afterwards from around a hundred and fifty yards across the Shannon from Arthur's Quay.
The bombardment lasted for several hours until the Barracks' four foot front walls had been breached in front and by the nineteen shells fired. The officer in charge still did not surrender. The gun was then moved across the Shannon to the rear of the Barracks and then another fourteen more shells were fired and a second breach in the rear of the barracks was made.
The men inside were surrounded, cut off from the rest of their comrades, outgunned and outnumbered. They had withstood everything the Free State had thrown at them; realistically there was no real point in continuing as further resistance would have led to needless loss of life. In order to spare the lives of his men, the officer in charge surrendered. After he surrendered, he was complimented by the Free State Officer in charge on the magnificent defence he put up.
The Commanding Officer in charge of the Strand Barracks was called Captain Cornelius McNamara of 'A' Company, 2nd Battalion, Mid-Limerick Brigade, but was known to his men as Connie Mackey. Connie was one of a golden generation of unselfish Irishmen with high ideals who were prepared to risk and endure everything for the sake of their country and countrymen.
My name is Jim Corbett and I am Connie's grandson.
I wanted to give him a place in history that I felt he deserved, and to give back to the people of Limerick the story of one of her gallant sons, both in this website and also in the forthcoming book "NOT WHILE I HAVE AMMO" which will be released in March 2008.
On the 50th anniversary of his death, allow me to present to you the story of this fascinating man.