AHEAD of next year’s 150th anniversary of the ‘Smashing of The Van’ and the execution of the Manchester Martyrs, artefacts relating to Clonakilty’s Capt Timothy Deasy – a key figure in the revolutionary movement from 1865-71 – were recently presented to Cork County Council.
Robert Bateman, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, but now resident in New York, was recently a guest of County Mayor Cllr Séamus McGrath, at County Hall. He presented items such as a medal, a framed and engraved picture of Capt Deasy in his US army dress uniform, a Resolution in Honour of Capt Deasy from the City of Lawrence Council and a citation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as a wonderful sketch of the Fenian Invasion of Canada in June 1866. These are to be displayed at Millstreet Museum.
Capt Deasy held a significant military position within the Irish Republican Brotherhood/Fenians and was involved in the Fenian invasion of Canada by Irish Republican Army troops in June of 1866.
He subsequently commanded a battalion of Fenian troops at Millstreet during the Fenian Rising of 1867, ultimately serving as the Fenians’ military commander for both Manchester and Liverpool, and as chief of staff to Colonel Thomas P Kelly, Commander-in-Chief of the IRB Brotherhood.
On September 11, 1867, Col Kelly and Capt Deasy were the central figures rescued from the British authorities in Manchester, England, in what is known as the ‘Smashing of the Van’ and the subsequent executions of William Philip Allen, Philip Larkin and Capt Michael O’Brien on November 23, 1867.
Subsequent to his rescue at Manchester, and ultimate return to America and the city of Lawrence, Captain Deasy turned his energies in his fight for Irish freedom and justice for his fellow Irish-Americans into political action.
Mr Bateman was accompanied by his wife Camille, colleague Gene McCarthy and grandson Cian McCarthy. Mayor McGrath commented: ‘The people of Cork are most grateful to receive these wonderfully historic items, which I have no doubt will be a fantastic addition to the museum. There is an incredibly strong relationship between Ireland and America and Capt Deasy’s involvement, both in Ireland and in the USA, is testament to this.’