John Scannell (b. 1903)
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John Scannell (b. 1903)


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John Scannell was born in September 1903 and he now resides in Ocean View Nursing Home in Camp, Tralee where I visited him in early 2001. He grew up in Cromdubh in Annascaul in what was to become a safe house for the Volunteers in the years leading up to the Civil War. John Scannell recalled for me his clear memories of the Lispole Ambush of March 1921. It had been known that every Sunday the Black and Tans would travel on patrol from Dingle towards Camp, and would “… fire a few shots” in the village. One Saturday evening the Volunteers gathered in the old school with the intention of ambushing the Tans on the Sunday. John Scannell told me that the British had “˜information’ so they did not appear until the following Wednesday, when they set up a machine gun and began firing at the school roof. The Volunteers escaped into a nearby glen but four of their members were wounded, three men fatally. John also recalls the wounding of Tom Ashe of Lispole, cousin of the patriot Thomas Ashe of Kinard, who was carried to a local house where he died later the same night. The Civil War which followed was “… much worse” and John told me that on one occasion the Company Captain of the Volunteers stood in the sloping street in Annascaul and instructed the people of the village as follows: “… those in favour of the Treaty “come up” and those against “stay below”. About 100 men moved up and only two stayed below, according to John. I was reluctant to take my leave of John Scannell, one of nature’s gentlemen and a fount of valuable information on stormy days in our history.

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Audio series:

Witnesses to Independence


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

24.32 MB

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The Lispole ambush and other memories

Recorded by:

Eddie Barrett (grand-nephew of Austin Stack)