Na Fianna Eireann in Cobh, Co. Cork

Na Fianna Eireann in Cobh, Co. Cork

Four prominent members of the Cobh Fianna Eireann branch in 1917.

They are Daniel Healy, Joseph Reid, Ernest ‘Ernie’ Fowler and Robin (or Danny) Leahy.

Daniel Healy was involved with both the Fianna and the Irish Volunteers/IRA and took part in a daring daytime hold up of a party of Cameron Highlanders in Cobh in August 1920. The raid was a joint Fianna and IRA operation and was a success with many rifles obtained. Senior Cobh Fianna officers Kevin Murphy and Owen Lynch were also involved in the raid.

Joseph Reid was one of four Cobh section leaders. Reid died accidentally in 1918 aged only 17 years. He was cleaning his revolver in preparation for the funeral of prominent Cork City Fianna member, Seamus Courtney*, when he accidentally fired a shot into his own body. He died soon afterwards as a result of the wound. A large funeral was held and was attended by the Fianna, Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan. A terrace of houses in Cobh, ‘Joe Reid Place’, is named in his honour.

Ernie Fowler was 2nd Lieutenant of the Cobh Fianna and later its Captain.

Robin Leahy was a younger brother of prominent IRA/Volunteer officer Mick Leahy. Mick Leahy was one of the most senior IRA men in the Cobh (and indeed the entire Cork) area and was also a prominent local member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He was Captain of the 4th (Cobh) Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade and later Vice-Commandant of the Brigade.

These men were part of a group of eleven Cobh men and boys who mobilized on Easter Saturday in 1916. They marched all the way to the Volunteers Hall in Sheares’ Street in Cork City. Others who marched that day were James Fitzgerald, Patrick Whelan, John Stack, James O’Connell, William O’Regan, William Ralph and Bunny Reid. It is likely that all of these were, or had been, members of Fianna Eireann.

*Senior Fianna Officer Seamus Courtney was arrested in 1917 and was in Cork jail where he went on hunger strike. On his release his health broke down and he subsequently died.

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