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Castletownbere remembers two friends who died on opposite sides of Civil War

September 1st, 2023 11:45 AM

By Helen Riddell

Castletownbere remembers two friends who died on opposite sides of Civil War Image
Three generations of Dwyers at the graves – Front: Billy, Eddie, Nessa, (great grand niece and nephew), and Damien Sheehan, grand nephew. Back: Simone, Mary, Frankie Sheehan (nephew), Agnes Sheehan and Norelene O’Dwyer, Beara Historical Society. (Photos: Anne Marie Cronin)

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AN event was held recently by the Beara Historical Society to commemorate two Beara friends who lost their lives – on opposing sides in the Civil War.

John Cadogan and John Dwyer now lie just metres from each other at Foildarraig Cemetery in Castletownbere.

John Cadogan was born on April 6th 1897 at Croumhane, Eyeries. He served in the Inches company of Volunteers in the Sixth Battalion of the Cork III Brigade, and with the Eyeries company when the two amalgamated in May 1921. John joined the pro-Treaty National Army in Dublin and was dispatched to Co Kerry with A Company, 3rd Dublin guards.

On October 24th, while escorting food supplies in Kerry, John was ambushed at Brennan’s Glen by anti-Treaty forces and shot in the right leg. He died from internal injuries at Killarney Military Hospital on November 2nd, aged 25.

John Dwyer was born on February 19th 1901 in Inches East. He also served in the Inches and Eyeries companies of the Volunteers in the War of Independence. He took the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War, serving with G Company of the Fifth Battalion of the Cork No 5 Brigade. He was shot dead in a battle with anti-Treaty forces and the National Army at Dromacappul outside Kealkil on December 8th 1922. He was just 21 years old.

At the ceremony at Foildarraig, piper Dónal Kelleher played as plaques were unveiled at each grave. ‘We decided to acknowledge and commemorate these two young men who lost their lives in the struggle for Irish independence,’ said Dorothy Brophy from the Beara Historical Society.

‘They were young men who grew up in neighbouring townlands and who were friends, but took opposing sides in what was, like all wars, especially civil wars, a horrific time in our history. Each left grieving parents and siblings whose lives would never be the same.’

Great grand niece Nessa Sheehan unveiling the plaque to John Dwyer.


Great grand niece Farah unviels the plaque while grand nephew PJ, and grand niece Meara look on.

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