On the morning of 21 November 1920, fourteen men lay dead across Dublin city after a synchronized IRA attack designed to cripple British intelligence services in Ireland. Still thousands of people were on their way to watch the Gaelic football match between Dublin and Tipperary. Trucks of police and military rumbled through the city’s streets, some of them headed for Croke Park. There was a sense of danger in the air.
In his book The Bloodied Field Michael Foley tells the extraordinary story of Bloody Sunday and the shooting in Croke Park that proved to be a turning point in Irish history forever.
The Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee is delighted to present an in-depth interview with award-winning journalist and author Michael Foley. He is a sportswriter for the Irish edition of The Sunday Times.
Mario Corrigan interviewed Michael at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, in advance of the centenary. In their conversation they delve into the background to the massacre and set the scene in Croke Park on that fateful day. The stories of those who were killed, as well as the police and military personnel, are explored. Families were left shattered in its aftermath, against the backdrop of a fierce conflict that stretched from the streets of Dublin and the hedgerows of Tipperary to the halls of Westminster.
They also discuss the County Kildare connections to Bloody Sunday. Mick Sammon from Clane was the referee on the day. The son of Thomas Sammon and Bridget Carthy, he was born on 7 February 1893 at Mainham, Clane.
He was arrested after reading the Sinn Féin manifesto after Mass in Kilcullen on 15 August 1918 and sentenced at Maryborough to one month imprisonment. An All-Ireland football medal winner with Kildare in the 1919 final, he also played for the Dublin teams, Hibernian Knights and Kickhams. He later ran the Railway Hotel in Celbridge and died on 24 April 1947 of tuberculosis, aged fifty-three. Mick Sammon was buried at the Abbey Cemetery, Clane.
Frank Burke, of Coonaugh, Carbury was marking Mick Hogan on the day the Tipperary player was shot dead. He was one of the most outstanding all-rounders in GAA history, winning two All-Ireland hurling medals and three All-Ireland football medals, all with Dublin. Frank was a pupil, teacher and later headmaster at St. Enda’s (Scoil Éanna), Ranelagh, Dublin, which was established by P. H. Pearse in 1908. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and fought in the GPO during the 1916 Rising; Frank was subsequently imprisoned in Frongoch, Wales.
He was arrested in March 1921 and jailed at the Rath Internment Camp, the Curragh. Frank Bourke died in the Meath Hospital, Dublin, on 28 December 1987, aged ninety-two and was buried at Cruagh Cemetery, Rathfarnham.
This film has been produced as part of the 4th annual Irish Military Seminar which was not able to take place this year as normal due to the pandemic. The production is part of the Co. Kildare Decade of Commemorations 2020 programme and was supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Kildare County Council.
The interview is available on the Kildare Decade of Commemorations channel YouTube channel and Kildare Decade of Commemorations Facebook page.