When Celebrating A Kerry Win Clashed With Gunrunning In 1915

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Tralee Battalion, Kerry Brigade, Irish Vol's. on parade at The Market, Tralee, on 14th June 1914.

Tralee Battalion, Kerry Brigade, Irish Vol’s. on parade at The Market, Tralee, on 14th June 1914.

A TRIP to Dublin to watch Kerry in the All-Ireland championship always brings with it a sense of adventure, but some seize the day more than others.

An account by a Kerry IRA volunteer in 1915, tells of how a trip to cheer on Kerry in an All-Ireland championship game was also a cover to run guns by train from the capital to Tralee.

The recollections reveal how a painter from Killarney complicated matters, after ‘making merry’ celebrating Kerry’s win the night before.

Continued below…

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The account was given by a Tadhg Kennedy of Ardrinane, Ardfert to the Bureau of Military History 33 years after the event in 1948. His memory might not have been that great though as he said Kerry won the All-Ireland final in September 1915 which was not the case. Wexford beat Kerry in the final held in November that year. Kerry did play the semi-final in Portlaoise in September of 2015 though.

Anyway, he begins; “September 1915, and I travelled to Dublin on Saturday to see the match. On the Saturday Eamon O’Connor of Ashe St., Tralee, informed me that he, Tadhg Horgan, a painter, of Killarney, and myself were detailed by Mr. Austin Stack to transfer some rifles and boxes of .303 ammunition from Herbert Park, Dublin, to Kingsbridge Stn. on Monday to the special train returning to Tralee.

“We stayed during the weekend at Wynn’s Hotel and on Monday forenoon, Mr. O’Connor informed me that there were three hackney sidecars waiting at the door of the hotel to take us to Herbert Park and I was to take one.”

“Tadhg Horgan had been making merry over Kerry’s win on Sunday and we decided that he was not in a fit condition to undertake his part of the job.”

“We enlisted the services of Jack McGaley, now a Civil Servant, in the County Registrar’s Office at Tralee, instead. And McGaley moved off with his car, Horgan insisted on climbing on to it and he had a green, white and gold flag which he stuck on the car.”

“We proceeded by devious ways to Herbert Park and all three cars met at the rendezvous, I was left in charge of the cars whilst the other three went into the house for the goods.”

“The first car was loaded up and Horgan, having by accident broken a glass door, was assigned the job of staying outside with the cars, whilst I went into the house to assist in loading the other two cars.”

“When we came out again, Horgan had disappeared with the first car. We loaded up the other two cars and drove off, Eamon O’Connor direct to Kingsbridge, whilst Jack McGaley and I called to Wynn’s where we discovered Horgan’s car.”

“McGaley took over this car and we both arrived at Kingsbridge safely and the stuff was put on board the special train going to Tralee.”

So maybe during the commemorations for 1916, along with celebrating those who gave their lives for independence, think of those who combined patriotism and celebrating Kerry victories.

To read his full account click here

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