One hundred years ago today, a young Irish man was shot dead Ennistymon as he and fellow members of the Mid-Clare Brigade of the IRA confronted two British soldiers.
In 1920, Michael Conway was one of a number of local volunteers involved in a ‘campaign of disarmament’ against the R.I.C. and other military connections in the area. Michael Conway was a 22-year-old bachelor who had worked for six years as a baker.
On the evening of July 21st, a group of five unarmed volunteers had gathered at Stack’s Corner in Ennistymon when they encountered two members of the Royal Scots Regiment who had come to town to make enquiries about other incidents.
The two had passed the area earlier with others and had returned, passing with their hands in their pockets. According to a witness statement, made some years later by Seamus McMahon who was injured in the incident, the volunteers decided to attempt to disarm the soldiers.
When the pair reached the bridge the Irish volunteers attempted to disarm them. In the skirmish that followed, one of the soldiers managed to draw and discharged his pistol. Michael Conway was shot dead while Seamus McMahon seriously wounded.
A doctor was called to the scene while and a priest was also sent for. By coincidence, it was Michael Conway’s brother Fr John Conway, who attended the scene He was on holidays in the town at the time and it was he who administered the last rites to his own brother.
Michael Conway’s remains were taken to Ennistymon Church and they following day, he was buried in Ennistymon graveyard with full honours.
For many years after, bullet marks could be seen on the bridge where now a plaque is now set into the stonework exactly where the fateful tragedy occurred.
The stone has been refurbished in time for the centenary of the death of Mid-Clare Brigade volunteer Michael Conway.