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The Death of Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney

On MacCurtain’s death Terence MacSwiney was elected Lord Mayor of Cork. Like MacCurtain, he had been a member of the Irish Volunteers and an enthusiast for the Irish language. He had also been imprisoned following the Easter Rising. A talented writer, he wrote a drama entitled ‘The Revolutionist’, several volumes of poetry and a political tract entitled ‘The Principles of Freedom’. As well as being Lord Mayor of Cork he was the Commandant of the First Cork Brigade of the I.R.A.

On 12 August 1920 he was arrested for possession of seditious documents and of a cipher key to coded messages used by the R.I.C. He was tried by court martial on 16 August 1920 and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. After his arrest he immediately went on hunger strike. He was imprisoned in Brixton Prison where his continuing hunger strike attracted world-wide attention. He died on 25 October 1920 and his body was brought home for burial. He lies beside MacCurtain in the Republican plot in Saint Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork. His funeral on the 1 November 1920 attracted huge crowds. Cork City was plunged into mourning once again.