Cork County Gaol Plaques And Memorials [Cork University Campus]
Cork County Gaol was a former prison located in Cork City. The main walls and gate entrance of the prison are today incorporated in the perimeter of University College Cork.
During the Irish War of Independence (1919-22), the Gaol was used to hold republican prisoners.
On 17 October 1920 Volunteer Mick Fitzgerald died on Hunger Strike at Cork Gaol.
On 25 October 1920 Volunteer Joe Murphy died on Hunger Strike at Cork Gaol.
On Tuesday 1 February 1921 Volunteer Cornelius Murphy was executed by firing squad at the Gaol.
On Monday 28 February 1921, six prisoners were executed by firing squad:
"On 28 January 1921 the 6th Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade were preparing an ambush in Dripsey, Co. Cork when they were surrounded by soldiers of the 1st Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, most were taken prisoner [the Battalion Adjutant James Barrett was fatally wounded and died three weeks later]. After a military trial on the morning of 28th February 1921 six of the IRA prisoners were executed by firing squad in Cork. The six Volunteers executed were Patrick Mahoney, Timothy McCarthy, John Lyons, Daniel Callaghan, Thomas O'Brien and John Allen. That evening between 18.30 and 20.00 the IRA retaliated and shot 12 British soldiers on the streets of Cork. The first to be shot was Private Wyse who was shot by two men, shortly afterwards Corporal Hodnett was shot four times in a nearby street."
The shootings of the 6th Battalion Volunteers were the last War of Independence executions carried out at the Gaol and in the months that followed Republican prisoners would be executed at Victoria Barracks.
Some of those executed in Cork County Gaol are buried in the former exercise yard and their graves are marked by a carved stone memorial erected by their former comrades (it was unveiled in 1948). Other patriots of that time, buried elsewhere, are also remembered on this memorial and on the Gaol façade (nearby on Gaol Walk).
On 3 August 1940 John Joe Kavanagh attempted to dig a tunnel into the prison so his IRA comrades inside could escape. He was spotted by a sentry and shot dead. There is a plaque erected to his memory at the old Gaol Gates.