A BOOK chronicling the lives of seven Kilmallock Fenians who were convicted for their part in the attack on Kilmallock police barracks in 1867 has been launched in the town.
Two years ago, Imelda O’Riordan, a native of Mountcoote, Kilmallock, who now lives in Bruff, set about researching the life of Patrick Riordan – her grandmother’s granduncle.
The result is a 200-page book entitled Kilmallock Fenians: Retrieving Their Story.
“The feedback has been very good,” said Imelda this week of her first book.
“I was at the medieval day on Sunday in Kilmallock where I met a couple of people who had read it at that stage and they said they were really into it and didn’t know that this happened in Kilmallock,” she said.
The attack on Kilmallock barracks took place on March 5 1867 and seven Kilmallock men were charged with treason. The story follows the lives of the men - their bravery, loyalty, hardship and suffering.
As no one had ever really followed up what happened to the Fenians in Kilmallock, Imelda set about researching and made some interesting discoveries. “I had known the date Patrick had died so I went looking for his death certificate.
“I went back through the chronicles in Limerick to find out about his trial and everything. On the paper it had said that Patrick Riordan had died on his return from Australia. I found out that there was 62 Irish Fenians sent out on the Hougoumont.”
Patrick’s name was on the ship list and as Imelda was going through the list she discovered the other Kilmallock men were with him including Michael Noonan, Maurice Fitzgibbon, John Sheehan, Thomas Daly, Daniel Bradley and Denis Hennessy.
“The ship went to Fremantle in Western Australia so I wrote to the prison in Fremantle and I got records of the Kilmallock men and everything matched.”
Of the 62 Fenians only 10 returned to Ireland. Among them were three Kilmallock men and Patrick was one of them. He was only home three months when he died of TB in 1870. A monument stands in his memory in the graveyard in Kilmallock.
The book was launched by Dr Catherine O’Connor from the history department of the University of Limerick at Deebert House Hotel in Kilmallock. Historian Bill Power based in Mitchelstown was the guest speaker.
Amongst those present were Imelda’s husband Joe, daughter Camilla – the book cover was designed by Camilla who has a diploma in art -and sons Derek, Paul, Aidan and Anthony and two of her grandchildren, Kieran and Aoife O’Brien.
Imelda left school quite young but returned to education in recent years.
The book, which is priced at €15, is on sale at various locations throughout the county including the gift shop on Sarsfield Street, Kilmallock, Natalie’s Cafe on Sarsfield Street, Beechinor’s garage on the Bruff road, O’Rourke’s Cross, Bruree, Nagle’s Eurospar Bruff and the Post Office and Credit Union in Bruff.