Patsy Holmes (b. 1902)
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Patsy Holmes (b. 1902)


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Track 1: Patsy Holmes recalls his early years in Whitechurch, Co. Cork. He joined the local Volunteers with his brother, Jim, as a young man and he describes his days “on the run” with his brother, and the hideouts they frequented. He mentions his friend Dan Clancy, who was murdered while a prisoner on Spike Island, and he recalls his involvement in the raid on the barracks in Fermoy, led by Liam Lynch, which heralded the War of Independence. Track 2: His arrest and imprisonment in Spike Island in a condemned cell with a man named Buckley and another comrade are described. His subsequent transfer in a gunboat, The Heather to Ballykinlar, near Downpatrick, Co. Down is recalled as are memories of his time in Ballykinlar, the football matches and the other Volunteers who were imprisoned there. Track 3: His memories of the Truce, his release and working in an abattoir in Mallow. He explains that he shook hands with General Michael Collins in Mallow on the night before Collins’s death. Track 4: His involvement in the Rathcoole ambush and his transport of the firearms to the site are described, and Patsy sings a number of local rebel songs. Track 5: Another rare local rebel ballad is sung, relating to The War of Independence, the flying of the Irish flag, and the presence of the RIC in Mallow town. Track 6: The shooting of General Liam Lynch on the Knockmealdown Mountains and Patsy’s presence nearby on that day are recalled. He discusses his guarding of Major Hannon, who had been abducted and taken to Kilmallock. He also describes driving cattle from Mallow to Killarney fair. Track 7: A 1916 ballad is sung, and later a further ballad concerning an eviction. Track 8: An old ballad called “The Fenian Gun” and another relating to 1916 may be heard. Track 9: Patsy Holmes describes his frugal upbringing, and he explains that he was a witness to the blowing up of Mallow bridge during the Troubles.

Additional information



Audio series:

Witnesses to Independence


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

45.75 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The War of Independence

Recorded by:

Dominic Kiernan