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Archiver > IRL-KERRY > 1999-11 > 0942858377


From: "Riobard O' Dwyer" <>
Subject: The "dream".
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 17:06:17 -0000


On November 12th 1918 five men from the Eyeries Parish in the Beara Peninsula were drowned coming back from seine-fishing (night-fishing for mackerel) when a huge wave broke over a submerged rock outside Pointe Ranna off the Kilcatherine district mainland and threw their boat into the air. They were Sean (a Choill) O'Sullivan of Caolrua, Jer (Murt) McCarthy of Faunkil, two Murphy brothers, John and Patie, from Ballycrovane, and my uncle Robert O'Dwyer (the eldest of a family of 12) from Caolrua. One man, Patie Healy of Faunkil, survived, but he didn't live for very long afterwards. Robert, an accomplished hop,step & jumper, sprinter, and weight-thrower, was Captain of the Ballycrovane Company of the Republican Army in what was then the early stages of the War of Independence. The first that anybody on the mainland knew of the tragedy was when Robert appeared to his great friend and fellow Republican Army man Con Dwyer and told him that they had just been drowned. Con then rais!
ed the alarm. A strange thing, but Con himself was dead less than six weeks later. The bodies were missing for a number of days. My grandmother sent my father to the Priest to ask him, for God's sake, if he could do anything to help recover the bodies so that, at least, they could be given a Christian burial. The Priest told my father that he would be at the scene the following morning. Next morning the Priest went to a field near the Point and started praying. When he was finished, he said "Go over to those rocks over there (pointing them out) and ye will find the bodies". The people went over, and there between the rocks under-water in a sandy, clear inlet were 3 of the bodies, including my uncle Robert, lying side by side as if they had been drawn in there. The other two bodies were found shortly after that. Uncle Robert was a very strong swimmer, but when he was found, there was a large gash in his forehead, which must have knocked him out, as he obviously struck the subme!
rged rock after the boat was overturned.
Not long after my uncle Robert and the four other fishermen had been drowned, my father (Liam) who was the next oldest boy to Robert in the big family, was just about going to sleep one night when he saw what looked like a little light coming from the door of the room towards him. As the light came closer, my father could feel himself becoming more relaxed and peaceful. He heard Robert's voice saying to him not to be worried, that he (Robert) would always look after him and protect him. Then the light disappeared and my father fell asleep.
Later, as the War of Independence got more intense, my father, who at that stage had become Commandant of the Beara Battalion of the West Cork Brigade, had "a price on his head". The "Black & Tans" (British soldiers) were searching for him and had orders to shoot him on sight. He was moving through the hills and had no proper sleep for a few nights, so he decided that he would chance going to Mrs. Healy's house near the main road in Faunkil, between the villages of Eyeries and Ardgroom. She was the woman whose son was the only one to survive the drowning of the fishermen, but who died not long afterwards. It was night by now. My father felt that perhaps the "Black & Tans" might raid a house well into one of the glens or valleys around the Beara area rather than a house beside the main road when they were searching for him, so he asked Mrs. Healy if she would let him try and get a bit of sleep for himself for a while. "Of course, a lao", said Biddy to him. "Go away upstairs and!
have a lie-down for yourself".
Up the stairs went my father and lay on the bed. He was so worn out from the travelling through the hills, always on edge, and from the lack of proper sleep, that practically as soon as his head hit the pillow, he nodded off.
He wasn't long asleep when, in a "dream", he saw 3 lorryloads of "Black & Tans" leaving Castletownbere and heading out the north road in the direction of Eyeries. He half-woke up, but, then convincing himself that it was only a dream and, being so tired, he lay down again and, once more, fell asleep.
After what would only have been a few minutes, the "dream" came to him again. This time, in it, he could see quite clearly the 3 lorryloads of "Black & Tans" passing Pullincha Bridge, much closer to Eyeries. He woke up, by now quite on edge, and sat up in the bed. But, again, after a minute or so, the sleep got the better of him and down went his head on the pillow once more. It couldn't be anything more than a dream, he thought. Soon he was asleep.
The next thing, within another few minutes, the "dream" about the "Black & Tans" came to him even more vividly than before. Waking up quickly, he jumped out on the floor saying "This is no dream !!" Making his way to the gable window he peered out, and there he spotted the lights of the 3 lorries being switched off near the bad turn on the road about 200 yards from the house. "Flying" down the stairs he headed out through the back door and had just reached the safety of the nearby hill when he heard the banging on the front door and the shouting of the "Black & Tan" soldiers raiding Mrs. Healy's house. Had it not been for the "dream", he would by now have been riddled with bullets. He was convinced through his life afterwards that the "dream" was his dead brother Robert warning him of the impending danger and fulfilling his promise of always protecting him.
Later the "Black & Tans" burned down my father's house. RIOBARD.

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