Patsy Holmes (b. 1902) (Part 2)
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Patsy Holmes (b. 1902) (Part 2)


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Nazareth House in Mallow was the home of Patsy Holmes in his later years, and in May 2004 he celebrated his 102nd birthday there. Word came to me that here was a man who should be recorded, as his memory was very clear. That was enough for me, and I made arrangements to meet Patsy as soon as possible, and I am very glad that I did as he passed away the following year. He was born in Whitechurch in 1902, and as a young man he found employment with a butcher in Mallow named Clancy, and during this time he drove cattle to and from fairs up and down the countryside. He recalls that many of his friends were involved with the Volunteer movement, and Patsy himself took part in a raid on the RIC Barracks in Fermoy where several guns were acquired, and he and others were subsequently arrested. They were brought to Spike Island and later put on a gun boat The Heather and taken to Ballykinlar near Downpatrick, where he was imprisoned for some time. He recalled a Maurice Donovan, a school teacher from Bantry, Co. Cork who was an excellent footballer, and on one occasion, a match was organised in prison between Munster and Leinster, and a total of 14 Kerry players turned out for Munster on that day. A tunnel was built by the prisoners as a possible escape route but this collapsed on the very day that King George V visited Belfast. Patsy sang for me several of the local rebel songs, which I had not heard before and which are virtually forgotten today. It was a real pleasure to meet Patsy Holmes and to listen enraptured to his stories and his songs.

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Audio series:

Witnesses to Independence


128 kbps

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48 hours

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34.63 MB

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Imprisonment at Ballykinlar

Recorded by:

Dominic Kiernan