A HISTORICAL society in Bantry has found the gravestone of a local man who was shot during the War of Independence.
The Bantry Abbey Mapping Project group (Bamp), a sub-group of the Bantry Archaeological and Historical Society, found the Cornelius (Connie) Crowley family memorial last month.
Many locals knew of the demise of the 27-year-old invalid who had been shot in his bed at his parent’s Old Barrack Road home in the town, on the morning of June 26th, 1920. Tragically, his family had been unable to locate his memorial until now.
Bamp were very pleased to provide the family with its location, and they are now thankful to have an important piece of their heritage puzzle solved with the knowledge that Connie rests with his parents. Connie’s father Jeremiah died March 16th 1922 and his mother Catherine (Kate) died August 18th 1923.
He was one of nine children, and suffered from ill health, so was mostly confined to bed. According to Tom White, great-nephew of Cornelius Crowley and grandson of Michael Joseph Crowley, it was Cornelius’ brother Michael who was the intended target when Connie was killed. The Crowley family had moved to Bantry after being evicted from their farm in Goulacullin (near Dunmanway) around 1890. This murder had a huge impact on Bantry. After the killing, Michael Crowley went into hiding and then left for Philadelphia, arriving at Ellis Island on December 13th 1920 to join his other siblings. His brother Charles followed him in 1925.
News articles from the time show a cortege walking behind Connie’s coffin from St Finbarr’s Church towards the port and the Abbey cemetery. The Crowley grave is located in the old section of the graveyard and the headstone was erected by Murphy, Bantry.
All information about the memorials recorded by Bamp is computerised and then uploaded to www.findagrave.com and www.historicgraves.com. If you would like to share additional information, email [email protected].