In Search of Safe Houses

The past couple of posts have updated you on our progress in Midleton, dealing with the ambush and consequent reprisals. This post is an appeal, and it moves further afield then Midleton. As shown with the work so far, community involvement is absolutely vital in identifying these War of Independence sites. In Midleton, it was only through the help of the community that we were able to pinpoint several sites important in telling the story of the ambush and its aftermath. Again, with this post, we are asking for your help in identifying these endangered sites.


The image of the burnt out Cotter farmhouse in Midleton with the family outside, published in the Freeman’s Journal of 6 January 1921

In addition to the three structures burned in Midleton, four others were destroyed outside the town. In Ballyadam, the British burned Batt Cotter’s house. In Knockgriffin, they destroyed the houses of farmers Michael Dorgan and M. Aherne. A Mr. Donovan also had his house bombed, but there is confusion as to whether he lived in Ballyadam or Knockgriffin. On January 4, 1921, the Liberator newspaper reported that these four houses were in the close vicinity of Glebe House, about a mile and a half west of Midleton, in the area where the British relief force was attacked the night of the ambush.

We are also asking for any information on the locations of safe houses in east Co. Cork. The list below are those specifically mentioned in the eyewitness statements of men associated with the Midleton Company.

Lt. Fitzgerald’s house in Ballinbrittas (location known).

The Garde house in Shanagarry

Harry O’Brien’s house in Ladysbridge

Murnane’s house in Coppingerstown (used as an arms cache).

Capt. Donnellan’s farm in Kilmaintan

Hegarty’s house in Broomfield, Midleton

O’Shea’s in Tubbereenmire (also noted as related to Tadhg Manley, possibly the same house mentioned as belonging to Michael Conway)

Jack Aherne’s orchard in Mile Bush (arms cache)

Burke’s house in Ballintotas

O’Brien’s house in Glennageare “…about five miles north-east of Cloyne.”

Canavan’s house in Knockraha (location known)

If you know about any other safe houses we wold be keen to hear from you. We have received several emails over the last few days on our previous post. Thank you to all who have contributed! If you have any information on the locations of these sites, please contact us at


o’Donoghue’s Bar in Knockraha, which was called Canavans during the War of Independence and was one of the most important safe houses in East Cork (Damian Shiels/Rubicon Heritage)


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