VISIT LIMERICK ARCHIVE

DEAD OF NIGHT: THE CURFEW MURDERS

George Clancy (L) Michael O’Callaghan (R)

The Mayor of Limerick, George Clancy, former mayor Michael O’Callaghan and Volunteer Joseph O’Donoghue were shot dead in their homes at night after curfew by a British intelligence agent, George Nathan, assisted by an Auxiliary from G Company ADRIC.  

 

  INTRODUCTION

George Clancy the Mayor of Limerick, and his immediate predecessor, Michael O’Callaghan were shot dead in their homes. Known as ‘the Curfew Murders’, as their houses were raided during the hours of the curfew, their deaths shocked the whole City and Country and became International News. Mrs. Clancy was wounded in a vain attempt to shield her husband from assassination and Mrs. O’Callaghan also witnessed the murder of her spouse; Joseph O’Donoghue was found shot to death in the street. Their assailants were in mufti, wore goggles and with their coat collars turned up but it quickly became obvious that the gang in question were members of the Crown Forces.   

DEAD OF NIGHT

George Clancy the Mayor of Limerick, and his immediate predecessor, Michael O’Callaghan were shot dead in their homes. Known as ‘the Curfew Murders’, as their houses were raided during the hours of the curfew, their deaths shocked the whole City and Country and became International News.
Mrs. Clancy was wounded in a vain attempt to shield her husband from assassination and Mrs. O’Callaghan also witnessed the murder of her spouse. Both victims were distinguished members of the Community and had been involved in the struggle for Independence.
Clancy was an ex-University Professor and a friend of James Joyce. He is believed to have provided the background for a character in Joyce’s Classic ‘Portrait of an artist as a young man.’
O’Callaghan’s grandfather, Eugene O’ Callaghan, was Mayor of Limerick in 1843. The third leading Citizen, Joseph O’Donoghue, was taken from his house that night and found shot dead in a field some hours later. Their assailants were in Mufti, wore goggles and with their coat collars turned up but it quickly became obvious that the gang in question were serving members of the Crown Forces. Mrs. O’Callaghan gathered what evidence she could collect and demanded an Inquest but no inquiry other than a military one was ever carried out.
Even the ex British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith stated that members of the RIC (Auxiliaries) were the culprits. However, the particular individuals who carried these attacks were never formally identified with the crimes.

Aftermath

Many years later in the 1950s, a deceased British Officer was named as one of the murderers but no conclusive proof was ever established as to his involvement. A further twist to the story of the Murdered Mayors was added when, in February 1982, the Limerick Leader published a picture of ‘Black and Tans’, taken at William Street Police Station (now demolished). A side note to the photograph by Willie ‘Whack’ Gleeson, alleged that two of the Tans in the photograph, Sergeant Leech and Sergeant Horan, were also involved in the killings. While Leech was implicated in the murder of Joseph O’Donoghue, we don’t know what part, if any, Horan played on the night in question. In the summer of 1922 Leech was
shot dead at Harcourt St Station, Dublin. 

SOURCE

LIMERICK MUSEUM Pamphlet; "The/ Limerick Curfew Murders/ of March 7th, 1921/ The Case of Michael O'Callaghan/ (Councillor and ex-Mayor).
Presented by his Widow.
32pp plus paper cover with the title, black string binding.
Contains a description of the last few years of O'Callaghan's life.
Identifier: 1991.0635

1 comment

  • So so sad how they got away with the atrocities they done to the Irish people my grandparents were both from Limerick glin and shannagolden ,my Irish lineage goes away back to day dot in Ireland 🇮🇪 my Scottish side is the same it goes way back to day dot according to my Dna results the British have a lot a bloody blood on there hands down the centuries hope the ones involved in this rot in hell .

    Lynda

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