Archive for the ‘history’ Category


From “Listowel Connection”

14th January 1950


“Cahirguillamore” is a song in which we learn of a terrible happening near Bruff on St. Stephen’s Night, 1920. An I.R.A. dance was in progress in Lord Guillaghmore’s unoccupied mansion when the place was surrounded by British forces in great strength. In the ensuing fight five I.R.A. men lost their lives. They were: Daniel Sheehan, the sentry who raised the alarm, Martin Conway, Eamon Molony, John Quinlan and Henry Wade. Here is a song that commemorates the tragedy. It was sent to me by Peter Kerins, Caherelly, Grange.  I have not learned the author’s name.


O Roisin Dubh your sorrows grew

On a cold and stormy night,

When Caher’s woods and glens so bold

Shone in the pale moonlight.

Within your walls where alien balls,

Were held in days of yore,

Stood many an Irish lad and lass,

At Cahirguillamore.

Did you not hear with fallen tear

The tread of silent men?

As a shot rang out from a rifle bright,

To warn those within.

The sentry brave the alarm gave,

Though he lay in his own gore:

His life he gave his friends to save,

That night at `Guillamore’.

I need not tell what there befell,

All in that crowded hall;

The Black and Tans worked quite well,

With rifle-butt and ball.

 Unarmed men lay dying and dead ,

Their life’s blood did out pour;

They sleep now in their hollow graves,

Near Cahirguillamore.

The commander of those legions

Would more suit a foreign field,

Where he would meet some savage foes,

His methods they would greet,

And not those laughing youths

Who were taught to love and pray,

And who received the body of Christ,

On that same Christmas Day.


Lt. Daniel J. Sheehan RFC

sheehan dm (2)2nd. Lt. Daniel J. Sheehan RFC.  A Pilot in the Royal Flying Corp,  No. 66 squadron, during the First World War.  He died on May 10th 1917 after an engagement with the Imperial German Air Service during a morning patrol.  He is buried at a War Cemetry, Souchez, France.


This blog is five years old

December 31, 2016 Leave a comment

This blog is now five years old. The family Ó Siodhacháin has been in Ireland for centuries. The Gaelic spelling was simplified to be Ó Síocháin in the 1940s. The anglicised spellings are Sheehan, Sheahan, and the other variants listed elsewhere in the blog. Sheehan’s are mostly associated with the Southern province of Munster in counties Limerick, Tipperary and Cork, and also county Clare. Today people with the name Sheehan can be found all over Ireland, in the United Kingdom, and scattered across the world in Australia, the United States, and Canada etc. The meaning of the name is commonly stated as peaceful or peacemaker. Search on the name and you will find people in all the professions and cultural pursuits. The “clan” is often associated with the Dal gCais – the Sept that mostly controlled Munster in the middle ages. Its most famous son: Brian Buru was the High King of Ireland.  There is no evidence that the Sheehan’s were a prominent clan. It is indicated that they had land in the Lower Connello part of county Limerick prior to the Normans. In the past, the Sheehan’s would have been predominately Roman Catholic. The History of Limerick notes that a Captain William Sheehan fought at the Siege of Limerick in 1691, and my conjecture is that he left Ireland for good with the other Jacobite troops under the agreed articles of surrender, after the signing of the Treaty of Limerick.

My own family’s more recent origin is in  County Clare and County Limerick on my father’s side. I currently reside in Donegal in the North West of Ireland, not known for many Sheehan’s. There is a Sheen avenue in Bundoran, so I wonder if it is named after a person or simply after peace?



Sheehan, James Michael (1885–1967) by Paul Strangio

February 18, 2016 Leave a comment

James Michael Sheehan (1885-1967), trade unionist and politician, was born on 24 July 1885 at Clinkers Hill, Castlemaine, Victoria, eldest of six children of Michael Sheehan, a blacksmith from Ireland, and his second wife Ellen, née Ferminger, who was born in Victoria. Jimmy attended St Mary’s Catholic School, Castlemaine, until the age of 13 when he obtained a job with the Victorian Railways. As a young man he helped to establish the local branch of the Rural Workers’ Union of Australia.

In 1910 Sheehan left Castlemaine. After being briefly employed by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission at Nyah, he went to Melbourne and resumed work with the railways. He was elected to the council of the Victorian Railways Union in 1915. Joining the Victorian Socialist Party, he moved in the same political and ideological circles as Frank Hyett, Robert Ross, John Curtin and John Cain. He and Cain became close friends. Sheehan shared Hyett’s and Curtin’s passion for sport, and was later president of the Richmond District Cricket Club and vice-president (1940-67) of the Richmond Football Club. A regular speaker for the V.S.P., he was involved—’up to his ears’—in the anti-conscription campaigns of 1916-17.

Following Hyett’s death in 1919, Sheehan was appointed a V.R.U. organizer. A vigorous advocate of industrial unionism, he played an important part in founding the Australian Railways Union in 1920. He retained his role in the State branch of the A.R.U. and was said to be ‘the most travelled union organiser in Victoria’. In 1931 he stood unsuccessfully for the Senate as an Australian Labor Party candidate. On 12 July 1938 he achieved his long-cherished ambition when the Victorian parliament chose him to fill a casual vacancy in the Senate. Defeated at the 1940 elections, he was returned to the Upper House in 1943 and was to serve continuously until his retirement on 30 June 1962. He led the Australian delegation to the first session of the International Labour Organization’s inland transport committee, held in London in 1945, and revisited that city in 1961 to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s conference.

President (1940-41) of the A.L.P.’s Victorian branch and a member from time to time of the party’s central executive, Sheehan maintained close links with the A.R.U. and the broader industrial labour movement. In 1943-44 he presided over the Trades Hall Council in Melbourne. When the Labor Party split in 1955, he took a moderate, non-sectarian line. He had been elected to the Castlemaine Town Council in 1951, joining his youngest sister Nellie (1895-1959) who in 1942 had become the first woman to sit on the Castlemaine Borough Council. Nellie went on to be the municipality’s first female mayor (1954-55). Neither she nor her brother married. When Sheehan served as mayor in 1957-58, she acted as mayoress.

Sheehan died on 10 April 1967 in his home at Clinkers Hill and was buried with Catholic rites in Castlemaine cemetery. A skilful orator who expressed his views forcefully, but without rancour, he was known in the labour movement as ‘genial Jimmy’. He was widely liked, not least for his ‘kindly nature’ and ready smile. ‘Mateship’ was his creed; ‘faith in human reason, and effort for mankind’s progress [were] his guides’.

Constable Patrick Sheahan

An article on “The Tragic death of Constable Patrick Sheahan D.M.P” by Tom Donovan (2005)

Patrick Sheahan from Glin, Co. Limerick, served with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and in May 6th 1905 he was called to an incident as a worker had been overcome by gas in a large sewer while investigating a broken pipe…

article on Patrick Sheahan

You can visit the memorial in Dublin, on Burgh Quay at the junction of Hawkins Street

google maps Hawkins street


Irish in the American Civil War

Extracts from Irish in the American Civil War

Slaughter in Saunder’s Field: The 9th Massachusetts at The Wilderness

On the afternoon of 5th May 1864 Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick T. Hanley of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry stood with his men in the tangled and confusing wooded landscape that characterised the area known as ‘The Wilderness’ in Virginia. As battle raged, Hanley’s brigade commander Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer came rushing up to confront the Irishman, loudly asked him ‘Why don’t you take your regiment in?’. Hanley retorted ‘We have been in, and just come out!’. Sweitzer informed him that he should take his men in again, at which the Lieutenant-Colonel turned to his few remaining soldiers with the instructions ‘Fall in, Ninth!’ (1)

Daniel George MacNamara compiled a list of the men of the 9th Massachusetts who were killed and mortally wounded at The Wilderness:

Company B: Private Martin Sheehan.

Donors to the Irish Relief Fund 1863

Sheehan, Michael 63rd New York $2.00 Gettysburg (M.I.A.)
Shehan, Michael 63rd New York $2.00

Reporting the Gettysburg Casualties of the 63rd New York, Irish Brigade

Headquarters, 63d Battalion, N.Y.S.V., 

Near Two Taverns, Penn.,

July 6, 1863.

To the Editors of the Irish-American:

Enclosed I send you the list of casualties of the 63d Battalion, N.Y.S. Vols., during the late engagement with the enemy near Gettysburg, Pa., July, 2d and 3d, 1863, for publication. It is as correct as can at present be ascertained, although some of the men reported missing may yet be found. 

The Battalion fought splendidly, driving the enemy from the position they had taken, and the “Irish Brigade” by their courage and bravery in the late fights, nobly sustained the honor of the land which gave them birth.

KILLED- Company A- Privates Charles Hogan, Patrick Kenny, John O’Brien. Company B- Privates William Moran, Edward Egan.

WOUNDED- Lieut. Col. R.C. Bentley, leg, slightly. Company A- Sergt. Thomas Murphy, abdomen, severely; James Crow, hand, slightly; Hugh Meehan, side, severely; Peter Walsh, side, severely. Company B- Corporal John O’Halloran, hand, severely; Privates John Graham, thigh, severely; Daniel Hickey, hip, slightly; John Hartigan, hand, slightly.

MISSING- Company A- Corporal Daniel E. Looney; Privates Timothy Manly, Patrick McGeehan, Thomas Kelley. Company B- Lieut. Dominick Connolly, Privates Michael Kelley, John Murphy, Michael Sheehan.

RECAPITULATION- Killed, 5; Wounded 10; Missing, 8- Total, 23.

Witnesses to History: A Bounty List of the 170th New York, Corcoran’s Irish Legion

John Sheehan

The 43-year-old enlisted on 11th September 1862. A Private in Company F, he was captured in action on 25th August 1864 at the Battle of Ream’s Station. John died while a Prisoner of War on 20th September 1864 at Andersonville, Georgia. A minor pension was granted based on his service following an application by Dennis Sheehan on 25th June 1866 from No. 167, Seventh Avenue, New York. John Sheehan had been married to his wife Ann (née Callaghan) in Co. Limerick by the Reverend Father Burke on 25th November 1835. Ann contracted meningitis and died at the age of 41 in Bellevue Hospital on 21st September 1863, while her husband was in the service. She was buried in Calvary Cemetery. When John died a Confederate POW the following year, it left their children orphaned. Of the couple’s six children (Joseph, Margaret, Mary, Dennis, Anne and Michael) two were minors when John died. These were Michael, born on 28th September 1856, and Anne, born on 31st July 1860. It was their elder brother Dennis, aged 22 in 1866, who took the two minors in and applied for the minor pensions in their name.

U.S. Military Pensioners in 19th Century Ireland: A Listing and Appeal

Sheehan, Jane (McClintock) Sheehan, Michael 150th Pennsylvania Infantry Widow
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Margaret Linehan nee Sheehan

Margaret Linehan

February 18 2003

Margaret P. (Sheehan) Linehan, an Irishwoman whose dream of immigrating to the United States almost ended in the icy North Atlantic when she tried to book passage on the Titanic, died Tuesday in Portland, Maine, 89 years after the ship went down. She was 110…

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