President to open Independence Museum in Kilmurry

Cork community to be honoured for its part in the fight for Irish independence

A community centrally involved in the events of 1916 and the War of Independence in Cork is to be honoured next week . President Michael D Higgins will vis Kilmurry village to officially open a new museum which houses an exhibition commemorating Cork's role in the fight for Irish freedom.

At Easter 1916,round 400 Irish Volunteers from Cork city, east Cork and West cork marched to Kilmurry outside Macroom in mid-Cork 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 Fenit.

But the mobilisation was stood down, when 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 the story of Cork's part in the fight for Irish freedom when President Higgins will officially open the Independence Museum Kilmurry after delivering the Michael Collins oration at nearby Beal na Blath next Sunday afternoon


The museum is the brainchild of Kilmurry Historical and Archeological Association which was founded in 1963 and which two years later opened the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Museum. It was a tribute to Lord Mayor of Cork who was born in the parish but died on hunger strike in Brixton in 1920.

KHAA Chairman, Noel Howard explained that when renovated farm building that housed the original museum began to fall into disrepair, putting 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.

KHAA 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.

“Now we have a place that will show what the ordinary men and women of this country and, in particular in our area, did for our country in very difficult times. Everyone of Irish heritage needs to hear all of these fabulous stories brought to life by the museum as they are part of our unique DNA.”

Independence Museum Kilmurry, located just off the N22 Cork-Killarney Road at Lissarda, will be officially opened by President Higgins at 5.00pm on August 21st. The museum's website can be found at

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times