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
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
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.
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
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
MURDERS IN CO. WEXFORD
Co. Monaghan Barracks Attacked
ROBBERIES OF MAIL CARS
Co. Monaghan Sensation
Ballatrain Barracks Blown Up
FOUR CONSTABLES INJURED
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
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
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
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.
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.
Medals awarded to Pat by the Irish government for his service with the IRA by R.
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:
THE SONG OF THE FLAX
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.
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.