Celebration of the life of Lieutenant Denis Tuohy and his comrades who fought in the War of Independence

Celebration of the life of Lieutenant Denis Tuohy and his comrades who fought in the War of Independence, Sunday 1st May 2011

Lieutenant Denis Tuohy

Lieutenant Denis Tuohy

After 90 years, Kenmare will pay tribute to the memory of former member of the Kenmare Old IRA, Lieutenant Denis Tuohy, of Gortalassa, Kenmare who was killed by Crown Forces on May 1, 1921, as well as all his comrades who fought in the War of Independence. The celebration of his life, which will take place on Sunday the 1st of May 2011 will commence at 11.25am with a Flag Raising Ceremony and laying of a wreath at the Lieutenant Denis Tuohy Memorial at the Crossroads, Kenmare. This is to be followed at 12.00 noon by a mass in Holy Cross Church in memory of Denis Tuohy and it will finish with an Oration at 12.55pm at the Grave of Lieutenant Denis Tuohy, in Old Kenmare Cemetery. All are welcome to attend the celebration.

Denis Tuohy was among those to make the supreme sacrifice, as an active member of the Crossroads Coy. 3rd Batt, No. 2 Kerry Brigade. He took part in all local activities, and as a result was a marked man by the British Authorities. He had previously acted as bodyguard to the late Terence Mac Swiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, at Brixton Prison, and had taken part in some daring IRA exploits in Cork. He then returned to his native Gortalassa to organise further in the struggle for freedom.

Capture and Death
On May 1, 1921, a party of British soldiers made a surprise raid at 4am on his home and took him prisoner. He was taken to Kenmare Workhouse Military Barracks, where he was cruelly tortured to try to extract information. Details later came to light that driven to desperation he seized a hand grenade and flung it among his torturers. He was then subjected to terrible ill-treatment.

His father visited the barracks at 11am and saw the Lieutenant through a window, battered and bloodstained and strapped to a chair. When his father spoke he lifted his head and nodded to show he recognised him. Realising however that his son was dying, his father went straight to find the Parish Priest to administer the last Rites of the Church, but the officer in charge refused permission, as well as refusing any medical aid. No further visits were permitted during that day, and at 6pm a volley of shots was heard and the military stated that they had executed young Tuohy as an IRA man. It was later ascertained that the prisoner had died earlier in the day as a result of the brutal treatment he had received and the shooting was only used to cover up a fiendish crime. The state of the remains when recovered by the relatives supplied ample evidence of the torture to which he had been subjected.

The celebration of the life of Lieutenant Denis Tuohy and his comrades who fought in the War of Independence is organised by Mark Daly, Member of the 23rd Seanad and the Family and Friends of Lieutenant Denis Tuohy.

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