One of three Roman Catholic priests to be shot dead during the War of Independence has been remembered at a special service in Dunmanway in Co Cork today.

Seventy-one-year-old Canon TJ Magner and 19-year-old Tadgh Crowley were both murdered by Auxiliaries in the town on 15 December 1920.

Their murders marked a low in the cycle of violence, bloodshed and reprisal in the aftermath of the Burning of Cork, according to Dr Mervyn O’Driscoll, head of the School of History at UCC.

‘K’ Company, who had been centrally involved in the rampage of looting and burning through Cork City centre on 11/12 December, were moved to Dunmanway to defuse tensions but the violence only continued with the double murder.

Canon Magner and Tadgh Crowley (a grand-uncle of former MEP Brian Crowley) had stopped to help a local magistrate, whose vehicle had broken down on the road, before being murdered.

Following midday Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Dunmanway, there was a wreath-laying ceremony at both graves in the churchyard.

Rosary beads, reputedly taken from the body of Canon Magner by one of the Auxiliaries and given to their OC, Major J R Black, were used as part of the service.

Mayor Black’s family returned them to the Ballineen/Enniskeane Heritage Group in 1995.

Service for priest, teenager shot during War of Independence
Former MEP Brian Crowley among those who attended the commemoration. His grand-uncle Tadgh Crowley was murdered alongside Canon Magner

Separately, Taoiseach was among those attending a centenary remembrance Mass for former Lords Mayor of Cork Tomás MacCurtáin and Terence MacSwiney at the North Cathedral in Cork this afternoon.

Others who died during the War of Independence were also remembered at the 1.30pm service.

Current Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Joe Kavanagh was joined by members of the MacCurtáin and MacSwiney families, together with former Lords Mayor, city councillors, as well as representatives of the Defence Forces, Naval Service, and Gardaí.

Bishop of Cork and Ross Fintan Gavin was the chief celebrant while the homily was given by Fr Silvester O’Flynn, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

It was part of a weekend of commemorative events which included a ceremony marking the Burning of Cork, the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Dillons Cross Ambush, and the laying of wreaths honouring the Delaney brothers on Dublin Hill.  

The two brothers were shot dead by Auxilliaries on the night of the Burning of Cork.

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