Liam Lynch: One Of Ireland's Most Feared Army Generals
God pray for me, all this is a pity. It should never have happened. I am glad I am going from it all, Poor Ireland, Poor Ireland.
These words were slowly ushered by dying Irish rebel, General Liam Lynch, as he lay mortally wounded high up in the Knockmealdown Mountains of Co. Tipperary on 10th April 1923.
Liam Lynch was shot by Irish Free State soldiers in the Irish Civil War carrying out a military operation to track him down. Greatly outnumbered he fought a vigorous battle to the very end.
He was taken from the mountain on an improvised stretcher consisting of a number of guns held at both ends by his captors and taken to a pub at Newcastle, Co. Tipperary. He was then taken to a Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, hospital and died at 8pm that evening from his wounds.
Lynch was caught up in the Irish Civil War in 1923 when he chose to oppose the Irish Treaty of 1921.The famous Limerickman, born on the Cork/Limerick border near Mitchelstown, was a chief figure in the founding of the new Irish free state that took its freedom in 1921 after eight hundred years of English occupation.
A renowned leader of men, Liam Lynch became a chief Irish Republican Commander when the brutality of the infamous Black and Tans was rampant in Ireland. He claimed many historic ambushes against British forces all over Munster and In the Irish War Of Independence he built up a fearsome reputation and destroyed many enemy units though often heavily outnumbered.
He lost many of his troops through execution for their role opposing the invader but Lynch also inflicted great loss of life on British troops.
Liam Lynch spared no effort and made great sacrifices to take on the British invaders of his beloved country in fierce battles throughout Munster.
On 26 th June 1920 Liam Lynch masterminded a sensational kidnap of three high ranking British military officers. As the men were relaxing on their day off and fishing on the famed salmon river of the Blackwater, that flows through Fermoy, Co. Cork and onwards to Youghal on the Waterford county bounds, Lynch and his troops made a surprise call on the officers just outside the small village of Kilbarry near Clondulane.
Four miles downstream from Fermoy, Lynch acted on intelligence gathered by his men and had his lookout scouts posted along the river banks. Fermoy was a major British garrison town and such a daring kidnap of an army General was guaranteed to cause huge embarrassment.
Lynch ambushed the officers around 6pm when they had completed their days fishing. They were informed by General Lynch that he was detaining them as prisoners of war. The ambush resulted in the capture of General Cuthbert Lucas and two Colonels and an assistant who was released the following morning.
The assistant was told to deliver a letter to Fermoy Barracks announcing the officers detention.
Liam Lynch’s I.R.A. unit held his prisoners for over four weeks until the British General made good his escape from his escort in Co. Clare.
Later Lynch would be arrested for the kidnap at City Hall, Cork but gave a false name and was released three days later.
Following his untimely death at just forty years old, he was buried two days later at Kilcrumper Cemetery, near Fermoy, Co. Cork.