Seán O’Hegarty

Seán O’Hegarty (1881-1963). Born in Cork city, the youngest of two sons, O’Hegarty became involved in various aspects of the Irish Ireland movement as a young adult.

He was an active member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), became chairman of the Cork branch of Sinn Féin in 1910 and was a founder member of the Cork Volunteers. In 1912, he married Maghdalen (Mid) Ní Laoghaire, a niece to An t’Athair Peadar Ua Laoghaire. She was active in Cumann na mBan.

Known as having a somewhat puritanical mindset and being uncompromising in his personality, he was excluded from Cork city under the Defense of the Realm Act (DORA) in 1914. He moved to Ballingeary for a time and worked as a labourer.

Shortly before the Easter Rising, O’Hegarty returned to Ballingeary and took charge of the Bandon and Ballingeary companies of Volunteers. In his witness statement to the Bureau of Military History, he recalls that he was in Tuirín Dubh, Ballingeary, with Tomás Mac Curtáin and Traolach Mac Suibhne on Easter Monday 1916 when the Easter Rising began in Dublin. He later blamed Mac Curtáin and Mac Suibhne for the fact that an effective rising was not undertaken in Cork.

O’Hegarty remained active in the militant IRB, assuming control of Cork No. 1 Brigade, and he joined the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He fought throughout the War of Independence, organising killings and ambushes, and was anti-Treaty in the Civil War, though he did attempt to mediate between the two sides.


Foinse/source: Cambridge Dictionary of Irish Biography (Cambridge: CUP) [ar líne/online]: (ceadaithe/accessed 30/10/2020); BMH, S. O’Hegarty [ar líne/online]: (ceadaithe/accessed 31/10/2020).


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