IRL-KERRY-L ArchivesArchiver > IRL-KERRY > 2007-10 > 1191793808
From: "Ray Marshall" <>
Subject: [IRL-KERRY] FW: Republican Chapter closes with burial of War ofIndependence veteran from Kerry
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2007 16:50:08 -0500
Subject: Republican Chapter closes with burial of War of Independence
veteran from Kerry
Maybe now "they can all get along." Here's a few articles on the life,
internment, death and interment of Dan "Ballygamboon" Keating from
Chapter closes with burial of war veteran Saturday October 06 2007
TO a lone piper's strains of 'The Croppy Boy', the coffin of the last
veteran of the War of Independence, 105-year-old Dan "Ballygamboon" Keating,
was yesterday lowered into the grave alongside the church in which he had
been baptised in 1902 near Castlemaine, Co Kerry. Dan Keating, the patron of
Republican Sinn Fein since 2004, was a man who was "living history"; he was
the comrade of those killed in atrocities of Ballyseedy, Countess Bridge
Killarney and Cahersiveen; he had seen friends die on hunger strikes and had
been interned himself several times.
He was "an inspiration to Republicans," Ruairi O Bradaigh, president of the
party, said in a lengthy graveside oration before around 600 mourners at
Normally thick on the ground at Kerry funerals, Kerry's public
representatives, including over 50 town and county councillors, and eight of
its nine Oireachtas members stayed away from the requiem mass for the
county's oldest person. Newly elected Senator Mark Daly was the only public
representative in the church.
Mayor of Kerry Michael Healy-Rae and ine Gael councillor Michael O'Connor,
Scarteen, attended the removal on Thursday.
In the oration broken by bouts of applause, and to a gathering in which many
wore Easter lilies, Mr O Bradaigh said Dan Keating had never wavered from
his belief that "1916 was right, 1916 was justified"; he stood by a united
Ireland and an end to the British presence in Ireland.
"Dan Keating, as we know, always gave it straight from the shoulder: He
regarded the so-called peace process as a surrender process," Mr O Bradaigh
said to applause.
He would not accept any British government presence in Ireland, regardless
of how it was presented.
The ceremonies at the graveside were watched by several plain clothes
The parish priest of Kiltallagh, Fr Luke Roche concelebrated the funeral
mass with Monsignor Dan Riordan of St John's Church in Tralee where Dan
Keating travelled by bus to get weekday daily mass.
He extended sympathies to Jack and Eileen Keating, nephew and niece-in-law
who had taken such "loving care" of Dan for 27 years.
IRA Veteran Dies at Age 105 By SHAWN POGATCHNIK 1 day ago DUBLIN, Ireland
Dan Keating, an IRA member and the last surviving veteran of Ireland's
1919-21 war of independence from Britain, has died, his nursing home and
fringe political party said. He was 105.
Keating joined the 1st Kerry Brigade of the Irish Republican Army in 1920
and, as a rifleman, took part in two major 1921 ambushes that left at least
five police officers, four British soldiers and five IRA members dead.
"When you are involved in an ambush with a crowd of men, you wouldn't know
who killed who. But the prospect never troubled me," Keating said in a March
interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.
He joined the IRA faction that opposed the 1921 peace treaty with Britain,
and fought against former IRA colleagues in Ireland's 1922-23 civil war. He
was eventually captured by Irish Free State forces and spent seven months in
a prisoner-of-war camp.
In a June 2006 interview, Keating said he considered Free State soldiers far
more brutal than the British forces they both had fought against.
"They were worse than the Black and Tans," he said, using the nickname of
Britain's auxiliary troops used during the war of independence, "and they
committed some awful atrocities. In one week they murdered 19 people
comrades I knew only too well. They were just gone overnight."
He served several short terms in prison for insurrectionist activity,
including an aborted assassination attempt of a former general of Free State
forces, and participated in a 1939-40 IRA bombing campaign of London.
Keating spent his entire adult life committed to the most hard-line branch
of Irish republicanism on offer. He said Ireland should never be at peace
until the border dividing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
both states he considered illegitimate was eliminated and the island
united under one government.
In 1970, he switched his allegiance from the "Official" IRA to a new,
Northern Ireland-based faction called the Provisional IRA that spent 27
years trying to overthrow the British territory.
When the Provisionals called a 1997 cease-fire and supported Sinn Fein
politicians' push for a negotiated settlement, he switched support to a
breakaway faction, Republican Sinn Fein, that opposed compromise and backed
IRA dissidents' continued bombings. He became honorary patron of the fringe
party in 2004.
Republican Sinn Fein president Ruairi O Bradaigh said Keating was committed
to the cause "to the very day of his death and an inspiration to all true
Keating opposed the existence of the Republic of Ireland so much that he
refused to accept the state's old-age pension. In 2002 he also refused a
$3,500 award from President Mary McAleese that is offered to all Irish
citizens who reach age 100; Keating argued that she wasn't the real
president of Ireland.
Keating denounced the past 15 years' peacemaking efforts in Northern Ireland
as "a joke." He appeared in a 2007 newspaper ad appealing to Sinn Fein not
to begin cooperating with police, the step that preceded this year's rise of
a new Catholic-Protestant administration in the British territory.
Keating had no immediate survivors. He will be buried Friday in Killtallagh
Cemetery, County Kerry, following a funeral Mass at St. Carthage's Catholic
Irish Civil War veteran dies at 105
The last surviving IRA veteran of the Irish War of Independence and Civil
War has died at the age of 105.
Dan Keating died peacefully near his home in County Kerry. Diarmaid Fleming
looks back on his life.
Meeting the dapper Dan Keating, it could be difficult to reconcile the
immaculately dressed man with his revolutionary past.
Looking probably more like a fit 75-year-old rather than a man of 105 years
of age, unless you knew his background, it could be hard to imagine the
gentlemanly Dan as the last link to the revolutionary violence which gave
birth to the modern Irish nation.
But once the pleasantries of tea and brief discourse over the weather or
Kerry's latest football 7victory were over, when visiting him at his home in
Castlemaine near where he was born, the subject of politics was never far
Eighty six years after the Irish War of Independence, while the mainstream
republican movement had embraced compromise through power-sharing with
unionists in Stormont, Dan Keating's views had changed little from the days
he fought British forces in the hills and towns of Kerry.
In a BBC interview in March, he said that a united Ireland remained his
political goal: "You'll have no peace in Ireland until the people of the 32
counties of Ireland elect a government without interference from England."
Dan Keating was born in 1902 on a small farm near in Castlemaine in County
Kerry, the eldest of seven.
His uncles were militants involved in attacks on English landlords' agents
during land disputes in the 19th century.
But he said that in his early youth, Kerry was peaceful until the 1916
Relations with the large British military garrison in Tralee were good,
where a soldier from Lancashire who enjoyed music was welcomed to sing in
the local pubs.
When one of Dan's own cousins who was in the British Army overstayed his
home leave, two uncles were arrested after beating up a visiting military
policeman inquiring as to his whereabouts.
But the injured soldier refused to give evidence against the two Kerrymen,
saving them from certain jail and earning the respect of locals.
"He didn't want any trouble," said Dan.
The execution of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising rapidly changed the
atmosphere to one of hatred and war, he said.
Working in a bar in Tralee, he joined the IRA youth wing, acting as an
intelligence agent, and helping move weapons.
He said it was a fervour of revolt and youthful excitement rather than
political motivation which got him involved.
"We were mad for it. It was the thing to do at the time. There was a wave
and you got caught up with it. All the people you knew were involved," he
He graduated to the IRA on turning 18, and took part in ambushes in which
men from both his own and the British side died.
He set up one ambush where several policemen were killed near his home, but
would not be drawn on whether he himself had killed, saying he did not know
in the fog of war.
"When you are involved in an ambush with a crowd of men, you wouldn't know
who killed who.
"But the prospect never troubled me. You were fighting for a just cause and
once you have that in the forefront, it never troubled you," he added.
He said it was a war to the death for both sides.
"You had to wipe the enemy off the face of the earth, that was your job to
A truce with the British ended the War of Independence in 1921, but the
treaty led to the partition of Ireland.
The IRA fought on, with Dan on the losing side in the bitter Civil War
against the Free State Army which followed immediately.
He was to serve the first of several stretches in prison, interned in the
While many IRA men left Ireland for good, unable to gain work in a land run
by their civil war enemies, Dan stayed and got steady work as a barman.
He remained active in the IRA in Kerry, and was part of an IRA squad which
attempted to assassinate the Irish fascist leader Eoin O'Duffy on his way to
a rally in Tralee in 1933.
A disastrous plan by the IRA to cause sabotage in England during World War
II - the S-Plan - brought Dan to England where he led the IRA in London,
taking part in bombings of commercial premises and power-stations by night,
while he worked as a barman in The Strand in London by day.
When detectives came knocking on his door, he told him the Dan Keating they
were looking for had already left on a passing bus, and made it back to
Ireland after giving them the slip.
But more jail awaited on his return, with a second stretch in the Curragh
He left the IRA on his release, he said after a clear-out of the "old
guard", and settled down with a new wife who was a regular visitor to him in
prison - and who with no hint of irony he said was even more militant than
He continued to fundraise and help republican causes, even storing weapons
in his house despite an unsuspecting near neighbour being a senior
Working in the Comet Bar in Dublin's northside, he was an active trade
unionist in the bar worker's union.
A non-drinker until his 50s, he took his first drink after a row with the
teetotal Pioneer Total Abstinence Association whose pin he had sported as a
At a consultation meeting called by the government to relax pub opening
hours, Dan was shocked when the teetotal organisation backed plans to
lengthen pub opening hours in opposition to the barworkers' union.
His response was typically militant.
"I took the pin off and fired it at them. I walked out of the meeting with
the union leader Walter Byrne, and both of us had a glass of sherry," he
He retired back to Castlemaine after his wife died in the the late 1970s,
but continued to visit Dublin for big gaelic football and hurling matches,
attending over 150 All-Ireland finals in his lifetime, most likely a record.
Walking several miles a day until just weeks before his death, he attributed
his long life to moderation, never smoking, a good diet and lack of stress.
And his secret for living to 105?
"I always kept going and never worried about things. People should live
their life and not worry about things, and if they have any favourite
pastimes, they should keep at them," he said.
Independent and fit, he travelled on his own by bus on a two-hour journey to
Cork to the premiere of Ken Loach's film, the Wind that Shakes the Barley in
2006, meeting the British director afterwards to voice his approval in
declaring the film as an accurate portrayal of the fighting he was involved
While he only drank an occasional Benedictine brandy, and detested swearing,
his recommendation of moderation did not apply to politics.
He remained an unreconstructed militant, left Sinn Fein in 1986 when it
voted to end its ban on taking seats in the Irish parliament, and became a
patron of the breakaway Republican Sinn Fein.
He said he refused to meet Irish President Mary McAleese to receive a cheque
on his 100th birthday because of her declaration of a desire to invite the
Queen to Ireland during her term of office, and attacked the Sinn Fein
leadership for entering into power-sharing in Stormont this year.
Shortly before his death, he said he did not mind that his views were in the
"We are passing through a phase, the youth of Ireland - all they want is a
pay packet and a good time," he said.
"I don't mind because I meet a lot of people who think the very same as me
and we are very happy to be a minority.
"We feel that we have a duty to hand it down to future generations," he
His passing marks the end of the last direct link to the turbulent and
violent birth of the modern Irish nation, as he was the last IRA veteran of
the War of Independence.
The muted response to his death of Irish politicians who would not have
shared his politics would probably be, for Dan Keating, a fitting epitaph.
War of Independence veteran laid to rest
05/10/2007 - 16:29:30
Tributes were paid today at the funeral of the last survivor of the War of
Dan Keating died aged 105 on Tuesday after a short illness and was laid to
rest following a low-key service his native Kerry.
Several hundred mourners attended the Requiem Mass at Kiltallagh Church.
Born in Castlemaine in January 1902, he joined youth movement Fianna Eireann
while in his teens and remained a steadfast hard-line republican throughout
In the War of Independence he fought in the IRAs Kerry brigades against the
Black and Tans.
Keating, an IRA rifleman, was involved in two major attacks on the
auxiliaries, at Castlemaine and Castleisland, where up to 12 British troops
were killed along with several IRA men. Later he fought against the the Free
State forces in the Civil War in Limerick and Tipperary.
Keating was made patron of hard-line Republican Sinn Fein in 2002 and party
president Ruairi OBradaigh paid tribute to him at the funeral.
During his long, healthy and adventurous lifetime, Dan has seen many splits
and deviations from Republican principles, but he had remained loyal and
true, and there is no more fitting recipient of this honour than this noble
son of Kerry, he said.
In the early 1920s he was interned in Portlaoise jail and later in the
Curragh. He was also jailed in the 1930s on several occasions and after
joining the small-scale IRA sabotage campaign in England in 1939 he returned
home and was again interned without trial at the Curragh 1940-44.
In his last years he refused the 2,500 centenarians award over President
Mary McAleeses increasingly close relations with the British royal family.
|[IRL-KERRY] FW: Republican Chapter closes with burial of War ofIndependence veteran from Kerry by "Ray Marshall" <>|