Roy Mooney
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Roy Mooney


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One spring evening in 2004 I made my way to The Doon, Co. Offaly, near Clonmacnoise to make my acquaintance with Roy Mooney. As I drove up the long avenue, and the lovely Georgian home of the Mooney family came into view, I had the feeling that this journey of mine would be very fruitful. Roy himself came to the door as I arrived unannounced, and bade me welcome. He became quite animated and very interested once I explained the purpose of my visit. At that time, Roy was ninety years old, and once we were seated, I began by asking him about his family background and about his earliest memories. As a very young boy he had a most frightening experience, clearly and explicitly recalled for me that evening at his home. During the occupation by the Black and Tans the soldiers would travel each day on patrol from Athlone to Birr, and generally, they were the worse for wear if not drunk, firing at random at the trees and ditches along the way. One day the Republicans knocked a tree across the road and dug a trench at Ballynahown, very close to the Mooney home. The Tans arrived on the scene, used planks of wood to cross the trench, and sped on, only to ram the lorry into the fallen tree. Panic ensued, with the soldiers firing indiscriminately. Roy clearly recalls the clamour of the guns and the bullets whizzing off the front of his house. Shortly thereafter, a further lorry load of Tans arrived on the scene, and such was the pandemonium that two of their number were shot and wounded by their colleagues in the first lorry. Eventually they retreated and all was quiet once again. That night a group of Republicans commandeered the house and demanded lodgings for the night, and Roy recalled being told that he had to give up his bed. A false message was relayed from the village that the Tans were approaching so the Republicans fled across the fields. A story from an earlier era was told to me by Roy. It concerned a visit to the house by Robert Emmet after the Rebellion of 1803 in Dublin. One evening, he came to the back door, dishevelled and exhausted, and asked to see the master. The servants brought him in and gave him a good meal, on their master’s instructions, as he appeared to be in very bad shape. Roy’s great-grandfather, who was the master of the house at that time always afterwards remarked on the excellent table manners and general politeness of the man, who thanked him profusely for his hospitality before departing. I continued to talk to Roy Mooney for several hours, and later returned, when I recorded him a second time, along with his gracious wife Kitty, whose memories, like those of her husband, make fascinating listening. Sadly I was later to hear that Roy Mooney had died not long after the second recording was made.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

Witnesses to Independence


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

44.43 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Memories of the Black and Tans

Recorded by:

Eddie Barrett (grand-nephew of Austin Stack)