The Tinneny Family History Site


Biographies of Our Forefathers

Patrick 'Wee Pat' Tinneny H38

Patrick was the second child of James Tinneny and Mary Ann McEntyre.  He was born at Goladuff on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 1895.  He was known as "Wee Pat" because he was small compared with and to distinguish him from his older first cousin Patrick, the son of his Uncle Francis. 

When Patrick was about 9 years old his grandfather McEntyre, who had a farm in Derrykerrib, came one day to get Patrick to help him make hay.  Patrick's mother, Mary Ann, said that he could not go to help since he did not have a shirt.  After some time she got him a shirt and he went off with his grandfather.  From that day forward Patrick lived with his grandparents and never returned to live at Goladuff.   

Pat was raised by his grandfather McEntyre on his farm at Derrykerrib and went to Drumlane School.  When his grandfather died he left the house and farm at Derrykerrib to Patrick.  Because of his IRA involvement Pat couldn't settle down and didn't want the house and land.  He never really used it and the house and land fell into disrepair.   

As mentioned above, Pat was very active with the IRA.  As one of their soldiers, one night in 1920 he and his brother Ned participated in a raid on Castle Sanderson to obtain guns.  The night of the raid there was a big party going on at the castle.  The raiders took hostage the estate’s gamekeeper, a fellow named McCaully, who lived on the grounds. 

Holding a knife to McCaully's throat, they knocked on the door of the castle and had McCaully request the door be opened so that he could come in.  The doorkeeper recognized his voice, the door was opened and the raiding party rushed in.  They lined all of the party attendees and the Colonel's staff up against the walls.  Then they began a search for weapons to confiscate.  Pat told about going to the Colonel's bedroom and finding that the walls of the room were completely surfaced with mirrors.  However, they only found two guns, one double-barreled shotgun and a pistol.   

Pat Tinneny. Photo Courtesy of Maisie Tinneny Brady. 

When they returned to the gathering of people  in the room where the party was taking place two of the girls employed at the castle whispered to the raiders to check the cellar.  They went to the cellar and found many guns, which they took for use in support of IRA activities. 

The day following the raid the two girls that tipped off the raiding party as to the location of the guns were found out and sent away from the estate.  "Wee John" Mullin, who was a garda (policeman) and apparently a sympathizer found them another place to work. 

At the time of the raid Robert Tinneny was a boat builder and carpenter for Colonel Sanderson.  Bob was loyal to the Colonel and he and his family lived in a small house on the estate.  Bob probably had no idea that his cousin Pat Tinneny was a member of the raiding party that night. 

The following account about the Ballatrain barracks raid in which Pat and his brother Ned also participated appeared on page 6 of The Impartial Reporter on February 19, 1920:


More Outrages in Ireland



Co. Monaghan Barracks Attacked



Co. Monaghan Sensation

Ballatrain Barracks Blown Up



One of the daring raids for arms, which has taken place in Ireland occurred on Sunday morning on the police barracks in Ballatrain, a village near the boarders of Counties Monaghan and Cavan.


The encounter between 150 armed men and the six policemen defending the station was of the most desperate kind.  At five o'clock, when the policemen refused to surrender, the raiders blew in the side of the barracks, took all the arms, ammunition, and bombs from the station and made off.


Four of the men defending the barracks were buried in the debris and had to be removed to Carrickmacross Hospital.


Bellatrain is a small village, and the barracks there was manned by Sergeants Lawton and Graham, Constables Roddy, Gallagher, Nelson and Murtagh. 


At two o'clock on Sunday morning when the men were all in bed noise of breaking glass and the barking of dogs attracted their attention.  Hastily rising, the police proceeded to take steps in the ... defense because it was clear that an attack was being made on the building.  Bullets were peppering on the outer walls, and police at once returned fire. 


For three hours a desperate struggle took place.  The raiders threw hand grenades and the police replied with similar weapons.  Hundreds of rifle shots had been exchanged when at 5 o'clock the leader of the attacking party demanded the surrender of the barracks, but the police continued to shoot.

Afterwards a terrific explosion took place, which blew in the gable of the barracks, throwing the bedsteads and other articles through the walls, wrecking them and scattering sandbags on the main road.


About 150 men armed with rifles and revolvers, and all wearing masks, entered through the breach and demanded the rifles and ammunition in the station. They opened all the boxes and took away six revolvers, four ordinary pistols, an automatic pistol, a 'Verey' pistol, a quantity of ammunition and 12 hand grenades.


Sergeant Lawton and Constables Roddy, Murtagh, and Gallagher were removed to hospital, their injuries having been caused by the falling of the wall.


Sergeant Graham, interviewed said he had only been three days in Bellatrain, and had been on special duty in Tipperary before that.  He estimated over 100 shots were fired by the raiders before any bombs were thrown.  After that an explosion occurred at least 50 men came in and demanded surrender of the place.  With four of his men down the sergeant could do nothing else.  The leader of the raiders said he was glad that no one was killed.  The sergeant asked if they had a doctor and the reply was that they had not.  Sergeant Graham was compelled to walk nine miles to Carrickmacross for a doctor.  He had attempted to drive, but the road was blocked with felled trees and an iron gate was placed in the center of the roadway.


Constable Roddy who is in hospital suffering from injuries, said that when the raiders entered the station, he told them he had 60 [pounds] in his box, and asked them not to touch it.  The leader said ' We do not want your money.  It's too much money we have.'


Constable Gallagher said the leader of the raiders had given his orders through a megaphone, and called the raiders in numbers.  During the attack the police heard much whistling, and before the gable fell in three very long whistle sounds were given. 

  Another more extensive account appeared in The Anglo Celt newspaper on February 21, 1920.  

Another story about Pat was that he had a friend named was Jack Tummin who was afraid of bulls. Pat knew that Jack took a short cut across Jack Grogan's field in Killylea.  One night Pat got a white sheet and laid down with it over him in the dark field.  When Jack was well into the field, Pat jumped up with the sheet over him and chased Jack, who thought surly that it was a bull. 

Photo: Medals awarded to Pat by the Irish government for his service with the IRA by R. J. Tinneny. 

Pat was a great footballer and played Gaelic football on the Ulster Finals Team in the town of Clones one year. 

Pat was a roof thatcher by trade.  He thatched the roofs of many of the houses around Belturbet and Newtownbutler.  His notoriety as a thatcher was such that many years after his death he was mentioned in a local folk song written by Sean McElgunn.  The song goes like this:


On the twenty-second of August in the year of Forty-four,

I got an invitation to join the Flying core;

We were supplied with rations and we had the best of fun -

We were pulling flax in Creeny for Willy McElgunn.


We had recruits from Grilly - likewise the Urban too,

There was Morrissey the Ganger and Johnny McAroo;

There was Tinneny the thatcher, and the Collier in his hair,

And Frank McConnell and the son were the first two I met there.


From Derryerry came McCaul, and Mick and Patrick too,

And Jemmy came with buster, some carting for to do;

And Master Sean assisted him with Bobby in full style,

And the juveniles collected beets and laid them in a pile.


I can't forget McMahon - he's a comic through and through,

But he couldn't beat your man Kenna, when he got a pint or two;

And Jemmy Lawler, he was there - a daling man by trade,

And McGovern from Shancorry - some lovely beats he made.


Drumlane was represented - but only by a man -

The Yanky Charley sent John Fitch to give a helping hand;

I hope I'm missing no one - for I don't want any blame -

And Tommy Cooney, he was there, an old hand at the game.


I can't forget the women - the catering it was grand,

To help the Missus of the house the O' Reillys gave a hand;

For handing out the sandwiches Miss Bridgie was in charge,

And, Rosie, she gave bread-and-jam to everyone at large.


When we had all secured and sodded the dam,

Says Corrigan, "Come on, my boys, we'll go and have a dram."

So we started for the city where we drank and sang, you know,

Good old songs like Pat O'Donnell and The Glen of Aherlo. 

[By]   Sean McElgunn 

Kathleen Fitzpatrick told me about an incident that occurred one day when Pat was thatching the roof on her house.  Kathleen lived on a small farm next to Hubert Tinneny in Quivvy.  She recalled that Pat was up on the roof and that her husband Aiden was not at home when a gypsy came to the door. The gypsy was making demands on Kathleen thinking she was home alone.  She repeatedly asked him to leave and he wouldn't.  Finally, she called out "Pat".  The gypsy, who thought that she was bluffing and that there was no one else in the house, was he surprised!  Suddenly Pat Tinneny appeared in the doorway of the house.  He was a fearsome sight.  He was darkly tanned, bald, naked from the waste up with his thatching knife in his teeth.  At seeing this savage looking man standing in the doorway the gypsy ran off. 

Pat lived in the home of Benny Wallace at Derryerry near Quivvy for some time.  In a conversation with her in 1994, Kathleen Fitzpatrick Bawn O'Sullivan remembered Pat well during the time he lived with the Wallaces.  At the time, she was a young girl and neighbor of the Wallaces.  She recalled how Pat cared for young Brian Wallace, Benny's nephew, and his friends including her brother Philip Fitzpatrick and herself.   

Photo Pat when he lived with the Wallace family. Courtesy of Wallace family member. 

By all descriptions Pat was loved by the children.  Kathleen remembered that he had a great sense of humor and many funny sayings.  One day he told her "Don't ever eat duck eggs -- I just found a frog leg in one."  Another of Pat's sayings to the children, which he used when he and the children would be caught by a rainstorm in the fields, according to Kathleen, was "Childer -- walk don't run or the lightening will get you."  Pat as did others in the area at the time called children -- childer. 

Photo Pat and his mother Mary Ann. Cropped from photo provided by Mary McGarvey. 

On a more serious note, Kathleen remembered another occasion when young Brian Wallace and her brother Philip had taken Pat's cot (boat) far out into the lough.  Pat was so concerned about their safety, that they would take the cot out again and have an accident, that he sank the cot.  

Kathleen recalled very clearly how Pat was hurt very much when young Brian, who he and the boy's Uncle Benny Wallace cared for, was taken without notice from Derryerry by his father to live in England.  Originally the boy’s parents had sent him to live with Benny at Derryerry.  Kathleen says that Pat never fully recovered from this event. 

Pat never settled down and married.  During one of his stays at the home of Benny Wallace he had a stroke, which left him unable to speak.  He remained in that condition for about 7 seven years. 

Pat collected a small pension of seven pounds a month for his service as a volunteer with the IRA.  He spent the last years of his life at the home of his sister Alice who lived on a farm at Derryelvin with her husband Johnny McGuinness and their children.  

Memorial card courtesy of Mary McGarvey. 

Patrick died at Derryelvin on March 16, 1975 one day short of his 80th birthday.  He was buried in the Tinneny plot at Drummully Cemetery. 

Note:  no known descendants.


Update Sept 24, 2020
Copyright  R. Tinneny,  All Rights Reserved, 2002-2020