Fred Bourke

Interview by Jackie Elger on January 26, 2016

Gender: Male

Area: South Clare - Cloonlara

Report date: March 14, 2017

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:06:46 PJ HOGAN - Fred's great uncle was Paddy Hogan, (born Patrick Joseph Hogan), born 1891 in Main Street, Miltown Malbay. He was a draper's assistant. His father was a shopkeeper and his mother was a milliner. Patrick's mother's maiden name was Montgomery. The Montgomerys were military people from the North of Ireland. Fred speaks of their origins and how they came to be in Clare and their connections with the O'Briens. They landed in Carrigaholt after the French Revolution. The O'Briens distributed them around West Clare. Montgomery was said to have arrived in Miltown Malbay with two saddle bags of money. Patrick's mother's name was Anne. Her father was Daniel Montgomery, married to Anne Peacock. Fred speaks of Patrick's shop. He was one of four. He had three sisters. The girls had secondary education at the convent in Spanish Point. Fred's grandmother was called Helena (Helen). There was only three or four in the class at the convent at the time. She went from there to Carysford Training College in Dublin and was taught maths by de Valera. She got a job in a convent in Dún Laoghaire. Patrick went to Dublin in 1908 as an apprentice to Edward Lee. Lee had four or five men's/ladies' outfitters in Dublin. Patrick worked in the Rathmines shop. Lee was a Methodist from Scotland and he acted as a mediator between Connolly in the 1913 lockout. He said, “every worker needed a week in the sun.” Patrick then went to a bigger outfitter - O'Callaghan's of Dame Street. That company were supportive of the Republican movement. They allowed him to hide his arms & ammunition in the basement. They gave him time off during the War of Independence and took him back afterwards. The shop is now a hostel for the Simon Community.
0:06:47 - 0:10:49 PJ HOGAN & 1916 RISING - Patrick was sworn into the IRB by Tomas Hunter. He then joined the Volunteers when they started. Captain Edward Daly from Limerick was his commanding officer. He took part with Daly in the unloading of the Asgard, Howth, 1914. He was mobilised to turn out in the Four Courts and Church Street, Easter 1916. On Easter Monday he went to Church Street and was under the command of Captain Frank Daly, a first cousin of Edward Daly. He surrendered on Saturday evening and was taken first to Dublin Castle, then Wakefield and then Frongoch. He was in B Company 1st Battalion in Dublin. Fred speaks of the location of the battalions in Dublin. In 1917 Patrick was back in Dublin recruiting and going to anti-conscription meetings. Fred mentions the separation allowance given at the time.
0:10:50 - 0:18:22 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - During the War of Independence Patrick was mobilised for the Ashtown Station raid which failed.He was also involved in the raid on the Irish Independent's offices. Patrick was part of a squad. Fred explains what squads were. They would go around to pubs etc gathering information. Patrick would go to the Midlands Hotel, The Galway Arms, Halleys Hotel and O'Briens Hotel. He took part in ambushes in O'Connell St and Parnell St. They raided the Income Tax Office. During The Truce he was camped at Mulhuddart, Fowler's Hall and also The Four Courts. He speaks of the battle he was in Hanrahan's Hotel on O'Connell St with the Free State soldiers. They burnt everything as they left. Patrick made a dive across the street and ran against the jam of a door and dislocated his shoulder. Patrick lived in digs in Dollymount. He then returned to Miltown Malbay. He returned to Dublin after a few years and set up a second hand shop on the quays, selling furniture. He also had a collection of clocks. Around 1929 he returned to live in Clare. Patrick set up a drapery in Miltown Malbay. In the early 1950s he also set up a travel agency. He married Kathleen O'Gorman.
0:18:23 - 0:20:43 KATHLEEN O'GORMAN - Kathleen was born around 1900. She went nursing in London until around 1923. She then went to America and worked for a Jewish family that produced musicals on Broadway. They trained her to sing and she sang in the chorus. She stayed in America for 10 years. She met Patrick when she was on holidays. Fred's mother was a bridesmaid at their wedding. Kathleen ran the shop. The shop is now a café.
0:20:44 - 0:21:09 GREYHOUNDS - Patrick was involved with greyhound coursing and a member of Bord na gCon. He was a nominator for the Connacht Cup and the Limerick Coursing Cup.
0:21:10 - 0:21:46 FIANNA FÁIL CUMMAN/PATRICK HILLERY - Patrick was a personal friend of de Valera and he was founder and chairman for years of the local Fianna Fáil Cumman. He was director of elections for Clare in 1951. He described the newly elected candidate at the time. Patrick Hillery as, “a young man with a bright future.” The Hillery's owned a pub beside Patrick's shop and it was Patrick that nominated him and got him on the panel.
0:21:47 - 0:22:33 PATRICK'S FUNERAL - Patrick died on 28th October 1960 and is buried in Ballard cemetery. Eamon de Valera, [Frank] Aikens and the [Seán] Lemass were a few of the dignitaries that came to the funeral.
0:22:34 - 0:23:55 THE DALYS - Fred says that Patrick did not speak much about his time with the Volunteers. The Dalys would come down to Spanish Point and they would all meet up. Fred speaks of Frank Daly. He was a typesetter with the Irish Press. Madge Daly [Edward Daly's sister] unveiled a 1916 memorial on Sarsfield Bridge in Limerick.
0:23:56 - 0:33:10 PATRICK'S TIME IN SERVICE - Patrick was often asked to write letters for people, applying for pensions etc. He worked for Fianna Fáil. Fred says that he had a parrot in the shop which he had trained to say “up Dev!” During the Emergency Patrick was able to find supplies for making suits. He joined the 26th Battalion at this time. He had to travel to Renmore in Co Galway for training but he got an honorary discharge because of his shoulder injury. He got £17 including expenses for going to Renmore. He was also in the LDF at the time. He was a fanatic for drilling the LDF members. He was also head of the Red Cross in Clare at that time. He was involved in the formation of the ESB in Miltown and he helped a knitwear factory to set up there. Patrick got £10 a year for 10 years military service. He says some of those who served in 1916/War of Independence ended up with mental health problems and were not appreciated for what they had done. The pensions did not rise according to inflation.
0:33:11 - 0:36:54 PEADAR CLANCY/RISING IN DUBLIN - Fred says that Patrick was great friends with Peadar Clancy. They were both draper's assistants and both sworn in by Tom Hunter. They both fought in the Four Courts. Patrick also knew [Peadar] Kearney who wrote the national anthem. Patrick's commanding officer was to be Seán Moore but Seán Moore got caught up in the Shelbourne [Hotel] and Frank Daly took over. Patrick used to say afterwards that Peadar Clancy was invincible - he took chances and got away with it. Fred speaks of them fighting in the Four Courts during the Rising. Patrick got shot a few times through the coat. They were there until Saturday night and were then take to Dublin Castle and after that were interred in England.
0:36:55 - 0:52:31 HELENA HOGAN/ANN HOGAN - Helena (Helen) Sheedy née Hogan, (Patrick's sister and Fred's Grandmother), was living in Dublin at the time of the Rising. She lived in the same flat as Patrick - 53 Clonliffe Rd. She was a teacher in a convent in Dún Laoghaire. Fred says many Clare people lived in Drumcondra. Helena saw Patrick and the Volunteers marching down to the Four Courts and then making barricades across the street. She cycled to the Four Courts that evening with his overcoat. She passed the coat in to him through a broken window. She came back again on the Tuesday and she was sent off to buy cigarettes and tobacco. Then a man in uniform put 30 shillings into her hand and told her to bring back 5 bottles of whiskey. On Wednesday she couldn't get near the place. When she went back to the school, after the holidays, they sacked her and wouldn't give her a reference. She then got involved in the National Aid and Volunteers' Dependents Fund. Patrick was released from prison at Christmas 1916. In 1917, Helena returned to Clare and a local curate in Clonlara, Patrick Smith, who was a strong republican, got her a job in Clonlara National School. She started there on 1st June 2017. She remained there until she retired in 1961 at the age of 67. She married John Sheedy, a clerk in Cleeve's Confectionary in Limerick. She took no further part in Cumann na mBan. Helena died in August 1989. She had three daughters. Around the time of WWII her husband was disabled with chest problems and she became the sole breadwinner and so didn't have to give up her teaching job. Fred speaks of Anne Hogan, his great aunt, who was secretary of Miltown Malbay Cumann na mBan. Neither sister applied for pensions. Fred says that people were reluctant to draw dole that time - “they'd eat berries off the bushes first.” His grandmother didn't talk much about those times. Ann Hogan had several run-ins with the police and they once took her Sam Browne gun belt off her in Ennis around 1918 but she got another one the following week. Ann ran the shop in Miltown. She left Miltown and went to work in Limerick as a drapery assistant in Cannock's and then went to Crowe's in Killaloe. They sold wedding outfits. Helena then moved out of Clonlara village and Ann took over the house and grocery shop in 1955. She died in the 1960s. Another sister Janey, who was a national school teacher, died in 1929. Fred speaks of Cumann na mBan records. He speaks of his grandmother and her teaching job. Art O'Donnell, the Brennans and Dan Breen are mentioned. Oscar Traynor fought with Patrick.
0:52:32 - 0:58:15 INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN 1916 RISING - Fred speaks briefly of Dan Canny from Tulla. He says the majority of the fighters in 1916 were from Dublin and only five or six natives of Clare were involved. They were sworn in by the Thomas Hunter, who was originally from Castletownroche in Cork. He made military uniforms. Peader Clancy went into business with him.
0:58:16 - 1:06:00 DUBLIN RELATIVES ASSOCIATION - Fred says that Patrick was involved in the Howth gun running. He speaks of the Dublin Relatives Association. He was at the commemoration in Limerick in 1956. He mentions the Brennans from Meelick and the medals in the museum in Dublin. He mentions the cost of bicycles and also that a Shannon Scheme unskilled labourer earned £32 & 6 for 48 hours.
1:06:01 - 1:09:32 PATRICK HOGAN - Fred says that Patrick Hogan was liked by ministers etc and he had a lot of influence. He did a lot of networking with the Clareman's Association in America. He was a travel agent as well as a draper and an auctioneer. Fred describes the shop in Miltown Malbay.
1:09:33 - 1:10:43 PATRICK'S GREYHOUNDS - Fred speaks of Patrick's greyhounds. A man called Cummins walked them. He won a couple of Irish plates for coursing with the dogs.
1:10:44 - 1:22:13 PATRICK HOGAN - Fred speaks again of Patrick's business. De Valera sent him Christmas cards. He was in the 1st Battalion in Dublin City Centre. He was the unit commander. He speaks of his time in Dublin during the War of Independence. He travelled to work by tram because if you travelled by bicycle you could be held up by the military. After Frongoch he moved to Dollymount. Fred mentions Seán Tracy and Dan Breen. He says his great uncle mentioned in one letter about the shooting of a spy - “the divil had no chance.” Patrick wrote many letters to the Civil Service.
1:22:14 - 1:49:54 1966 COMMEMORATION IN DUBLIN - Fred was at the commemoration in 1966 in Dublin. He was nineteen at the time. He says every house and shop had something related to 1916. His mother and grandmother were with him. De Valera was President at the time. He describes the parade. He recalls his grandmother meeting a friend - Mrs Claffey from Longford. He mentions his aunt Anne again. He speaks of the Civil War and Patrick in Hanrahan's Hotel. Patrick's dislocated shoulder was reset in Dublin by Dr Tommy Daly from Tulla.

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