Murder of Delaney Brothers at Dublin Hill
Monument at Dublin Hill on the north side of Cork city, where the brothers were shot dead.
On the night of the burning of Cork, brothers Jeremiah and Cornelius Delaney were murdered by British forces at their home at Dublin Hill on the city's northside. The brothers were members of F Company, 1st Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade. About 2 a.m. a number of men came to the door of the house and demanded admission. At least eight men entered the house and went upstairs. They entered the brothers bedroom, who got up and stood at the bedside. They were then asked if their name was Delaney. They answered in the affirmative and were immediately shot down. Their brother-in-law, William Dunlea, who was over sixty years of age, was sleeping in another bed. He was fired on by the same party and wounded in two places. According to Daniel Delaney, the father of the brothers, the assailants wore long overcoats, and spoke with strong English accents.
At a military enquiry (a civilian enquiry had been refused by the authorities) one of Daniel Delaney's daughters gave this account of what happened;
(Having been awakened by the loud knocking on the door) I arose and went towards my brothers' bedroom. I saw a number of men going downstairs, their backs towards me. I entered my brothers' room, and saw my brother Jeremiah lying on the floor; he was not then dead, his lips were moving. My brother Con was lying in the bed in a pool of blood. I ran out and got the Crucifix. I asked my brother to kiss the Crucifix. He did so, and put up his hand to keep silent. I then presented the Crucifix to Jeremiah, and asked him to kiss it. As I did so, he turned his head towards me and I put the Crucifix to his lips. He died immediately. I left the room to get bandages. I got some, and left them in the room. As I was going downstairs to go for a priest and doctor, I met a man coming towards me with a revolver and torchlight. I asked him where he was going, or was he going to kill more of us? I do not know the reply he made. He tried to push past me. I put my two hands to his chest and besought him, for God's sake, not to go up as they were all dead. He persisted in his efforts and said, 'Is there anybody belonging to me up there?' in a foreign accent. My father answered, 'Nobody but dead men.'
He then left. I followed him to the door. He said something to a number of men who were downstairs, and they left the house. As I was crossing the road just outside the house, going for a nurse, I saw a motor car on the road, about 150 yards away. The lights of the car were facing me, in the direction of my father's house. Before I got out of bed I heard a motor car stopping outside the gate leading to the yard. I went to the nearest telephone and rang up the fire station, and asked to send an ambulance. I got a reply stating that there was no ambulance available, that there were a number of houses on fire in Patrick Street, and that the men were afraid to go out as there was considerable firing in Patrick Street. It was then about 3.30a.m. We procured a priest from the Presbytery (North Cathedral) at 4a.m. He advised me to telephone again for the ambulance. We did so at 8 p.m., and the Union ambulance arrived and took my brother Con to the Mercy Hospital. He died on Saturday, 18 December.
What led the British to the Delaney home has never been fully established but one theory put forward is that bloodhounds had been used by the British to track the IRA squad who carried out the ambush at Dillon’s Cross the previous evening. A cap had been recovered which belonged to one of the ambush party, who had dropped it while making his escape through Gouldings Glen. The cap was used to give the dogs a scent, which apparently led to the Delaney farm.