TOM Barry’s suitcase and a wheel from the Crossley tender ambushed by Barry and his IRA Flying Column at Kilmichael are among the items on display at the new Kilmurry Independence Museum.
The new museum which has been a labour of much love in Kilmurry was opened by President Higgins last weekend.
The museum is the brainchild of a community centrally involved in the events of 1916 and the War of Independence in Cork and the new museum houses an exhibition commemorating Cork’s role in the fight for Irish freedom.
Around 400 Irish Volunteers from Cork city, east Cork and West cork marched to Kilmurry in Mid-Cork in Easter 1916 en route to Kerry where they were due to rendezvous with Kerry members of the Irish Volunteers to collect arms from the Aud which was due to dock at Feni..
But following the capture of the Aud, Cork Irish Volunteers leaders, Tomas Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney decided to send the men home after receiving Eoin Mac Neill’s countermanding order cancelling all Irish Volunteer manoeuvres at Easter.
Now Kilmurry is set to feature again in the story of Cork’s part in the fight for Irish freedom when President Michael D Higgins opens the Independence Museum, soon after delivering the Michael Collins oration at nearby Beal na Blath on Sunday afternoon (August 21st).
The Kilmurry Historical and Archeological Association was founded in 1963 and in 1965 opened the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Museum as a tribute to Lord Mayor of Cork who was born in the parish, but died on hunger strike in Brixton in 1920.
Chairman Noel Howard explained that, when the farm building that housed the original museum began to fall into disrepair, and put the many valuable historical and archeological artefacts from the area at risk, a decision was taken to build a new museum.
Mr Howard said KHAA applied for funding to the West Cork Leader programme and received €410,000 and they contacted Theo Dahlke, curator of Allihies Copper Mine Museum on the Beara Peninsula and co-founder of Heritageworks, who design and build heritage projects.
‘We felt that a museum would make Kilmurry a destination for the ever growing numbers of history buffs – its close proximity to Kilmichael, Beal na Blath, Crossbarry and other War of Independence sites gives it a key role in telling our country’s story in the decade of centenaries,’ he said.
Treasurer Mary O’Mahony said that the new building, completed in 2014, was a fitting venue to house the many artefacts including several relating to Terence MacSwiney, Tom Barry’s suitcase and a wheel from the Crossley tender ambushed by Barry and his IRA Flying Column at Kilmichael.