School Resource Packs: Cork 1912-1918

Resource Pack 6: 1916 Rising In Cork

3 Cork City & County Archives: Through War and Rebellion: Cork 1912-1918

Year: 1916 U156/4 Langford Papers, Copy letter from Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Cohalan about his role in the hand in of arms in Cork during Easter 1916

Background: The Easter Rising of 24 th April 1916 is regarded both as a glorious failure and the defining moment in setting Ireland on the path of independence. The rebellion was fought in Dublin and parts of Meath and Wexford. The rest of the country remained quiet but on Easter Sunday morning ‘two or three hundred’ Cork city Irish Volunteers had boarded a train for Crookstown to meet other volunteer groups from West Cork. The plan was to seal off all roads to Kerry so that guns could be landed safely from the German ship, the Aud. Tomás MacCurtain the received countermanding orders from Eoin McNeill calling off the manoeuvres. He drove to Kilmurray with Terence McSwiney, where all the volunteers had joined up, to send them home. The whole company marched to Macroom and the city volunteers got the train to Cork that evening. Other Irish Volunteers were guarding Volunteer Hall on Sheares’ Street. This led to an increasing ring of steel being thrown around the building by the British Forces in the city over the following six days. The British demanded the surrender of all weapons but the Volunteers refused. Not a shot was fired on either side. Eventually, a compromise brokered by the Lord Mayor and the Auxiliary Bishop. For many years after the rebellion there was a dispute between the Cork Volunteers and the Government over the issuing of 1916 service medals. For example in the Langford collection in the Cork City and County Archives is a letter from Seamus Fitzgerald to Taoiseach Sean Lemass about Cork volunteers being eligible for 1916 medals, (U156/7). The Document: In this letter Bishop Daniel Cohalan is setting out his actions and those of Lord Mayor Butterfield during Easter Week which brought about a peaceful resolution to the Easter Rising in Cork. Daniel Cohalan, from Kilmichael, was installed as Bishop of Cork on 27 August 1916. Before that he served as Assistant Bishop of Cork for two years. He excommunicated anyone involved in murder within the Diocese of Cork and Ross two weeks after the Kilmichael ambush (where the West Cork IRA wiped out 17 members of an Auxiliary patrol) on 12 December 1920 which caused anger among IRA members. The timing of the decree, on the morning after the burning of Cork city centre by British Forces, led by another company of the Auxiliaries was particularly unfortunate.


1. Read through the document 2. Highlight the names of people, or sentences and words you do not understand. 3. Highlight any words you cannot read. 4. Fill in the recording sheet supplied and attach it to the document. 5. Answer the quick quiz about the document. 6. Optional: Bishop Cohalan had a very fractured relationship with the volunteers throughout the period from 1916 to 1924. Research this story and write a short report about the major incidents. See also futher research. 7. Store the completed work as directed by your teacher. 8. Find out about how to consult the original record by visiting Cork City and County Archives.

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