The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher, and the Mayor of County Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan light the central candle during the Act of Remembrance at St Finn Barre's Cathedral.

Bandon Valley Killings remembered

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross will mark the centenaries of the 1922 Bandon Valley killings next week with a series of pastoral visits.

Between 26 and 29 April, Dr Paul Colton will travel to each of the parishes that were most closely affected by the events 100 years ago.

Writing in the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Magazine this month, Bishop Colton said the historiography of that period and those events in the Bandon Valley has been written about extensively and debated with different narratives, emotions and responses elicited.

“Why it happened and what the motives of people were, are elusive questions,” said Bishop Colton.

He emphasised, however, that at another level, the facts were straightforward: “At one straightforward level, what happened is clear. In that week, 14 people were killed - Michael O’Neill, Thomas Hornibrook, Samuel Hornibrook, Herbert Woods, James Buttimer, David Gray, Francis Fitzmaurice, Robert Howe, John Chinnery, Robert Nagle, Alexander Gerald McKinley, John Buttimer, James Greenfield and John Bradfield.

“Two of those were 16 years of age and the oldest was 82. Twelve were members of the Church of Ireland in this diocese. Attempts were made on others’ lives and they had to escape, many never to return. We know that in the years that followed, many people from Cork, Cloyne and Ross felt insecure in this part of the world and left.”

Announcing his approach to the centenaries, Bishop Colton said he is not in a position to adjudicate on the historiography of that period.

“As lead pastor in this diocese today, however, my primary duty, having consulted with the local clergy, who have listened to descendants, is to ensure that in prayer and liturgy, these people and events are appropriately remembered in the context of this Decade of Centenaries,” said Bishop Colten.

Since 2014, Cork, Cloyne and Ross has been commemorating the centenaries of the period from 1914 to 2024 in a programme called the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Centenaries Commemoration and Reconciliation Project.

One element of this was the creation of a memorial space for prayer and reflection at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral which, from 2014 to 2018, commemorated Cork people who were killed or wounded in the First World War.

Since 2019, that space has been one of prayer and commemoration for those who died in the War of Independence and the Civil War. In 2021, led by the Lord Mayor of Cork and the Mayor of the County of Cork, a service was held to remember all those who died in Ireland during the War of Independence.