Tuesday, April 04, 2023



With just a few days to the 100th anniversary of the death of General Liam Lynch, final preparations are being made in Fermoy to commemorate one of Ireland’s most senior figures in the War for Independence.

Fermoy town will host the National Commemoration for Liam Lynch on Easter Sunday, April 9th, with a pipe band parade through the town, beginning at 2.00pm at Commandant Michael Fitzgerald’s memorial, with a march to Kilcrumper Cemetery.

Twelve pipe bands will take part in the parade, including three Irish-American and one Irish-Argentinian band, as well as re-enactors and local commemorative groups.


The commemorative parade is part of a series of events taking place in Fermoy, with three historical exhibitions, and the screening of a documentary recently produced by John Foley “The Dying Days of Liam Lynch”.

Two of the exhibitions will take place in Fermoy Community Youth Centre on Easter Sunday, the first by Neil Donovan “Milestones of Liam Lynch”, which covers the life of Lynch in the IRA, especially as head of Cork No. 2 Brigade, and the 1st Southern Division.

Cork County Council has produced an exhibition “the War for Independence and the Civil War in Cork”, which covers the five Cork brigade areas who accounted for over 30% of all actions taken against Crown Forces after 1916.

The last exhibition in the Coal Shed, Dublin Rd ‘To the Letter’, is running from the 2nd to the 12th of April, and is a series of art pieces produced by a grand-niece of Liam Lynch, Dolores Lyne, which captures the thoughts of the ‘Real Chief,’ as he wrote to his brother Fr. Tom throughout the troubles.


The parade is expected to be one of the largest commemorative ceremonies being organised to mark incidents of the civil war, with the last major event being the commemoration of General Michael Collins that took place at Béal na Blath in August 2022.

Liam Lynch who had been a close friend of Michael Collins and who had worked to avoid a Civil War, was elected as Chief of Staff of the IRA in the aftermath of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, where over 80% of IRA Volunteers voted to uphold the Republic.

In Cork the Free State Army could only account on the support of less than 300 Volunteers during the Civil War, while close to 18,000 Volunteers remained loyal to Chief-of-Staff Liam Lynch in the county. A small number joined the Neutral IRA under the command of Seán O’Hegarty and Florrie O’Donoghue.


Deputy Mayor of Cork Cllr. Deirdre O’Brien who is chairperson of the Liam Lynch National Commemoration Committee, has said people of every political persuasion are welcome to take part in the parade “as this is a commemoration for the 1,800 Volunteers, Cumann na mBan, and Fianna Éireann members who died between 1916 – 1923. The only thing we ask is for no political banners, as the memory of our patriots is owned by all the people of Ireland.”

Relatives of Volunteers and Cumann na mBan members are invited to wear their War for Independence medals during the parade and at the graveyard, and are encouraged to bring along photos or any other memorabilia on the day to add to the character of the event.

Liam Lynch commanded over 4,000 Volunteers when Commander of Cork No. 2 Brigade, while as head of the 1st Southern Division, he was in charge of 35,000 Volunteers, and a further 10,000 – 15,000 Cumann na mBan and Fianna Éireann members.


The first commemoration for Liam Lynch took place on Easter Sunday 1924 in Fermoy, and the following year when Eamonn de Valera spoke there, Sinn Féin encouraged all its members nationwide to commemorate all Volunteers on Easter Sunday, and not just those who died in the 1916 Rising.

Key speakers over the years have included IRA Chiefs of Staff Moss Twomey and Daithí Ó Conaill, while several former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach’s have spoken at the commemoration in recent years, including Tánaiste Michéal Martin, Bertie Ahern, and Brian Cowen, along with Sinn Féin figures such as Martin Ferris.

This year there will be two speakers Deputy Mayor Cllr. Deirdre O’Brien and historian Dr. Tim Horgan of the National Graves Association. The committee felt it was very important to have a lady speaking to acknowledge the incredible contribution Cumann na mBan members made during the fight for Irish freedom.

Cllr. Deirdre O’Brien will speak on behalf of the Liam Lynch National Commemoration Committee and Cork County Council, who are one of the key supporters of the commemorative parade. Deirdre’s grandfather Thomas O’Keeffe had been one of the key figures on the commemoration committee in the 1920’s – 1940’s and had been involved in erecting the Celtic Cross at Kilcrumper, as well as fundraising for the Round Tower memorial on the Knockmealdown Mountains.

Dr. Tim Horgan’s grandmother Madge Clifford was secretary to Liam Lynch and deputy Chief of Staff Ernie O’Malley during the Civil War. She had joined Cumann na mBan in 1913 and had fought in the Four Courts alongside Rory O’Connor and Joe McKelvey in June 1922, before they were executed in retaliation for the shooting of Seán Hales TD.

Liam Mellows TD and Dick Barrett (a close friend of Seán Hales) were also executed with O’Connor and McKelvey on 8th December 1922.

Dr. Tim Horgan is the historian of the National Graves Association, and co-edited ‘The Men Will Talk to Me; Ernie O’Malley’s Kerry Interviews,’ and has a written a number of historical books ‘Fighting for the Cause’, ‘The Stones Still Speak’, and ‘Ballyseedy Massacre’.


General Liam Lynch is often remembered for his uncompromising words “We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law”.

He led between 70,000 – 80,000 Volunteers in a nine-month war against the Free State Army in 1922 and 1923, and although poorly armed in contrast to the 54,000 Free State soldiers, he instilled a philosophy within his soldiers not to accept the Anglo-Irish Treaty as something that could not be undone.

In the 1930’s when many of those who fought with Liam Lynch came to power under Fianna Fáil, they set to dismantle the Treaty, with the removal of the Oath of Allegiance, an Economic War with England to regain control of the Irish economy, and the introduction of a new Constitution that expressed the ethos of the 1916 Proclamation, with a territorial claim over the “six-counties”.

Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

More Sponsored Content

More by this Journalist

Exciting Career Opportunity

Exciting career opportunities!