Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,
Fr. Con Mangan,
The 1915 incident:
On Sun 23 May 1915 (after the start of WWI but before the 1916 Rising), a large group of Irish Volunteers, including de Valera, Pearse and MacDonagh, paraded in Limerick.
The Volunteers, who had split with John Redmond over the war, and were not supporting the Irish WWI effort (or were even in league with Germany), met with a hostile crowd in Limerick, who pelted them with stones and bottles.
Fr. Con organised the lay members of his Men's Confraternity to get the Volunteers safely back to the train station.
See "Volunteers Attacked at Limerick: Remarkable Scenes", Irish Times, Monday, May 24, 1915.
See "The Volunteers Stoned: Exciting Scene in Limerick", Irish Independent, Mon 24 May 1915.
The newspapers say most of the anger was from wives and relatives of men serving at the front in the war. There were a number of injuries.
See "The attack on Sinn Feiners in Limerick", Irish Times, Tuesday, May 25, 1915, which says that as the angry crowd besieged the departing Volunteers at the train station, "some of the Volunteers when they got inside greatly provoked their assailants, it is alleged, by firing blank shots and calling for cheers for the German Emperor. The call was answered by volleys of stones, which struck several of the Volunteers." "The female relatives of soldiers at the front celebrated their stoning of the Sinn Fein men by dancing in the open last night." (Sun night)
Limerick City Museum has the walking stick that was "used by Fr Con Mangan to clear way through hostile crowd for Irish Volunteers, including Patrick Pearse, at Limerick railway station".
Fr. Con became friend of de Valera after the 1915 incident.
is letter from him
on 18 May 1916,
after 1916 Rising.
It is written from Clonard Monastery, Falls Rd, Belfast.
which apparently has letters from him in Sept-Nov 1923
from St.Patrick's College, Athenry, Co.Galway.
His obituary describes him as "a renowned preacher, an enthusiast for the revival of the Irish language, and friend of the leaders of the Independence Movement".
He preached in Irish.
He was author of a number of spiritual books in Irish, and a translation of The Glories of Mary.
At his death 1959 he is described as attached to Clonard Monastery, Belfast, for more than 30 years (more like 43 years in fact).
Though he is described as of Limerick at death of his brother Bertrand 1932.
And described as of Galway at Paddy's death 1944.
In Belfast nursing home before death. De Valera (then Taoiseach) visited him there pre-June 1959.
He died Belfast nursing home, 11 Sept 1959, age 78 yrs.
See obituary, Irish Independent, Monday, September 14, 1959 (which bizarrely says that the hostile reception the Volunteers received in Limerick in 1915 was "Due to a misunderstanding").
Funeral in Belfast, apparently Monday, September 14, 1959. De Valera (now President) sent his A.D.C. to the funeral.
See funeral report, Irish Independent, Tuesday, September 15, 1959.
Clonard Monastery, Belfast.
Not only is this story false. The origin of the myth can even be traced.
This is clearly a garbled version of the 1915 incident, where Fr. Con cleared a path with a stick through the crowd to help the Irish Volunteers onto a train out of Limerick.
The story is confused with the story of the Limerick pogrom against the Jews in 1904-1906, when Fr. Con's predecessor, Fr. John Creagh, Director of the Arch-Confraternity of the Redemptorist Order in Limerick, led Ireland's only pogrom against the Jews. Fr. Creagh made a series of incendiary sermons against the Jews. His congregation went from his sermons to mob violence against Jews in the streets of Limerick. Violent disturbances continued sporadically until Fr. Creagh left Limerick in 1906. There also developed a boycott of Jewish businesses. The boycott and sporadic violence drove most of the small Jewish community out of Limerick. Limerick has been ashamed of it almost ever since.
In the actual pogrom, no Jews were ever herded onto any train out of Limerick.
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