Ballina’s Street Names Revisited by James Reddiough

 In History

Joe Healy was from Ballina and he took an active part in the War of Independence and the Civil War.  He went on the run into the South Mayo area where he was surrounded and shot at Stonepark near Hollymount on the 5th June 1923.  Michael Tolan was from the Shambles in Ballina and lived in a house near Land League Lane and he was a tailor with deformed feet.  He was captured by the tans in April 14 1921 and held captive at the RIC barrack in Ballina until he was brutally killed and dumped in Shraheen bog where his remains were discovered on the 10th June 1921.  His funeral was one of the largest seen in Ballina and he was reinterred in the republican plot during the Truce in Leigue.  He was only 28 when he was murdered. 

Dr. Frank Ferran was from Magherafelt near Derry and he was the dispensary doctor for the town of Foxford and its surroundings. He was hotly pursued by the Crown forces during the Tan war and also by the staters during the Civil war until he was arrested in November 1922 and he died in the Curragh internment camp in on the 10 June 1923.  Thomas Roche came from Ardnaree and he served during the 1917 to 1922 period until he was captured and shot in the Central Hotel near the post office in early October 1922.  Nicholas Corcoran was from Dunmore in north Galway and went on the run in the Massbrook Pontoon areas where he was captured in early 1923 and he was held at Union Barracks in Ballina.  He was taken out in March 1923 to move a barrier or mine off the railway line between Foxford and Ballina.  When ordered to move the barrier he was shot by one Private Boyle of the Free State army and died from his wounds.  The matter was fully reported on in the Western People of March 1923.  Captain Corcoran is remembered at the republican plot in Leigue.

Morrison and James were two local lads too from Knockmore not too far from Ballina they were members of Knockmore Company of the First Ballina Battalion and gave sterling service during the Tan war and the Civil War under the command of Michael Kilroy and in west Connemara along with PJ McDonnell.  They helped to take Clifden in late October 1922 and later that day they were in hiding near Ballyconneely when the house was encircled by Staters and both men were shot dead.  Morrison Terrace was built in the early 1930’s and named in his honour in 1934 – James Road was opened and named in more recent times.

Tommy Howley was from Bridge Cottage in Enniscrone and was one of the youngest to fall during the Tan War in North Mayo.  Tommy worked in a shop in Ballina Ardnaree to be exact I think it was Kearenys and he joined the local company in 1918 at age 16 he was born in 1902 and was involved in the ambush on DI William White at the Quay on the 24th May 1921.  Later that morning Howley trying to escape from Crown forces was fatally wounded by the RIC and the military at Bunree Bridge.  He died from his wounds in Athlone detention centre on the 28th May 1921 and had been anointed by Fr. John Lavelle before being taken to the RIC barracks in Ballina.  Tommy Howley was buried in Kilglass cemetery near Enniscrone on the 1st June 1921 and there is a large monument there in his honour.

These are just some of the names and a little more information on the people after whom the streets are named.  They had very ordinary lives until the onset of the struggle for Freedom and then they lived most extraordinary lives until death took their young promise away.  Tom Nealon was the other local man who lost his life during the Tan war at Clydagh near Ballycastle on the 26th June 1921 as of yet no street or lane has been named in Ballina or indeed Ballycastle, he was a native of Aughoose Townland in that area.  It may well be one for the decade of commemoration and the century of his death in late June 2021.

Thankfully just recently two lanes in Ballina were named to remember people and moments of historical significance French Land off Pearse Street and Dr. Kathleen Lynn Land off Teeling Street.

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