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Catherine (Birdie) Hanley

Waterford's Revolutionary Women 1916-1922

3. Catherine (Birdie) Hanley
Catherine (Birdie) HanleyCatherine ("Birdie") Hanley was 27 years old at the time of the Burgery Ambush. She was a prominent member of Cumann na mBan; she was noted as being fearless and committed to the cause. She was often called on as a 'carrier,' carrying messages and guns. And despite the tireless dedication and radicalism which characterized Cumann na mBan, they were to be effectively marginalized in politics after independence.

Birdie had been told by Dr. O'Neil at the roadside where Pat Keating lay mortally wounded that Keating had been struck by dum dum bullets and that there was no hope for him. She travelled with him in the back of Mike Heafy's horse and dray on his final journey to a safe house at Monarud. Birdie cradled the dying man's head in her lap his life's blood flowed from him! She remained with him until he died. Birdie's daughter Nell told us that she prayed with him as he lay dying.

Source: Nell Hurley/Eddie Cantwell

Author: Chrissy O'Connor Knight & Eddie Cantwell

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