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Commemoration planned to mark 100 year anniversary of Tom and John O’Connor-Scarteen




Next month marks 100 years since the deaths of National Army Officers Tom and John O’Connor-Scarteen and a special commemoration is being planned.

The public are invited to a gathering in Old Kenmare Cemetery to remember Tom and John O’Connor-Scarteen on Sunday September 4 at 1.30pm where they'll be an oration by Minister Peter Burke TD.

The brothers grew up on a farm at Scarteen, Blackwater, between Sneem and Templenoe. They adopted the name ‘Scarteen’ after the townland. Their parents Michael and Deborah owned and operated a bakery and grocery shop at 5 Main Street, Kenmare.

Tom and John were both active members of the Irish Republican Army and fought in many engagements against the Crown Forces during the War of Independence between 1919 and 1921. Tom played a prominent role in the Headford Junction Ambush, Killarney in 1921, one of the major incidents of the Anglo-Irish War.
The Treaty which followed the end of the war and which was signed in December 1921 divided Ireland. The terms of the agreement split the Irish Republican Army, Sinn Féin and the wider community. It also divided Dáil Éireann but a majority of members, 64, voted in favour, with 57 against. Three Kerry TDs voted for the Treaty and three voted against. Michael Collins became the leader of the Pro-Treaty faction and Éamon de Valera became head of the anti-Treatyites.

Tom and John O’Connor Scarteen were among those who listened to Michael Collins speaking at a Pro-Treaty meeting in Killarney in April 1922 and they were motivated to join the new army of the Free State. They, along with other local lads, enlisted in the army on their return to Kenmare. As experienced combatants during the War of Independence, they rose through the ranks, Tom to the rank of Brigadier General and John to the rank of Captain.

The bitter divisions over the Treaty led to the outbreak of the Civil War which began on June 28 1922 when the Provisional Government launched an assault on the Four Courts in Dublin which had been occupied by anti-Treaty republicans for several weeks. Among those fighting in Dublin when the war began were the Scarteen brothers.

Kenmare was among the large towns in Kerry which came under the control of the Free State Army during August 1922. The O’Connor-Scarteens led a large landing of over 200 troops by boat at Kenmare on August 11 and seized control of the town. Many local men enlisted under their command. A few days later, Tom commanded a seaborne army detachment which captured Cahersiveen and Waterville.

Anti-Treaty forces in south Kerry launched an audacious attempt to recapture Kenmare on September 9 1922. As the republican assault on Kenmare began, at about 7am a group of Anti-Treatyites burst into the bakery owned by the O’Connor-Scarteen family at 5 Main Street. Tom and John were asleep in their beds upstairs. The sentries keeping an eye out for Anti-Treatyites had earlier been sent home. It was a premeditated attack: it was later claimed that the local IRA had ‘cast lots’ to decide who would carry out the killings.

Tom was just 20 and his brother, 25.

The shooting of the Scarteen brothers took place within weeks of the deaths of Michael Collins. The incident resonated beyond Kenmare and beyond the confines of the Civil War.

The funerals which followed saw the town come to a standstill.

The Scarteens were among approximately 175 people who died in the Civil War in Kerry which claimed the lives of almost 90 Pro-Treaty National Army soldiers, over 70 Anti-Treaty IRA, and 15 civilians.

Politically, the death of the Scarteens would remain to the fore in the history and politics of the county for over a century, with two of their brothers, a nephew and a grand-nephew all serving in either local or national politics as representatives of Fine Gael.

One hundred years later the O’Connor Scarteens are still heavily involved in politics in Kerry: Tom and John’s brother, Timothy, served on Kerry County Council alongside another brother, Pat, who also served in Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann. Pat along with his son, Michael, and grandson, Patrick, have 74 years unbroken service on Kerry County Council. Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen was Mayor of Kerry/Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council in 2020-2021 and was elected Cathaoirleach of the Kenmare Municipal District in June 2022.

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Final delivery as DJ retires

By Michelle Crean There’s hardly a Killarney home he hasn’t been to – but now DJ O’Driscoll has stood down from his duties. Friday night marked delivery driver DJ’s retirement […]




By Michelle Crean

There’s hardly a Killarney home he hasn’t been to – but now DJ O’Driscoll has stood down from his duties.

Friday night marked delivery driver DJ’s retirement from the Killarney branch of Corcoran’s Furniture & Carpets, a position he has held for the last 15 years.

On Friday night, colleagues from all three Corcoran’s Furniture & Carpets stores gathered in the Killarney Height’s Hotel. DJ was also joined by his daughter and her partner for the special night.

“After almost 15 years of steadfast work with Corcoran’s, DJ has been a constant pillar of support for his colleagues and has helped the company go from strength to strength,” owner Kieran Corcoran said.

“Corcoran’s would like to wish DJ the very best of luck for the future and hoping that he enjoys his retirement. Many thanks to Killarney Height’s Hotel for hosting the staff night on Friday. A great night was had by all!”


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Rowers pull together for Order of Malta

Members of Flesk Valley Rowing Club had a strenuous but successful morning on Sunday when they collectively rowed the distance from Malin Head to Mizen Head. And it was all […]




Members of Flesk Valley Rowing Club had a strenuous but successful morning on Sunday when they collectively rowed the distance from Malin Head to Mizen Head.

And it was all done indoors on rowing machines in support of the Killarney Order of Malta.

Just before 11am the Valley armada ‘left shore’, and approximately 40 members aged from 12 to 50ish set to their task with enthusiasm. By midday someone reckoned that Barack Obama’s Plaza had been reached but unfortunately there was no stop for tea, just a splash of holy water, a mouthful of Lucozade and a few jelly babies for the lucky ones!

As the kilometres clicked slowly by the temperature started to rise and the cry went up from the gasping veterans to open all the doors!

No such problems for the junior relay crews who had a fantastic morning rowing, laughing, and racing each other all the way to the finish.

The junior members who took on the half-marathon distance individually were amazing throughout and got stronger as the finish line came into view.

“We’re delighted with how the morning went,” Tadhg Kelly from Flesk Valley said.

“There was a great atmosphere in the venue, and we are grateful to all the parents and Flesk Valley supporters who came along to encourage our young and not-so-young rowers. It was great too to see the members of the Order of Malta in attendance to offer their support, and the club would like to thank everyone who donated on the day.”

Tadhg also expressed his thanks to the underage coaches and committee members for looking after everyone during the event. He especially wanted to mention everyone at Celtic Steps and the Killarney Racecourse for facilitating the club and Workmens Rowing Club and Glenflesk GAA for the use of their equipment.

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