The McDonagh Family
Tony McDonagh's Story
I met Tony McDonagh in my brother, Johns house in Billamore one evening at the end of August 2021. We got talking about his Dad who used to own the shop where Conor McNamara is now. I asked him to write out a bit about his family. This is Tony’s story.
On the 25th of August 2021 at a ceremony in Dublin Castle, 13 serving, retired and deceased members of An Garda Síochána were awarded Scott Medals of Bravery in the course of duty.
One of these members was retired Sergeant, John McDonagh, who has many links to Oughterard.
His Grandfather was Jack McDonagh, a native of Rosscahill. As a young man (born 1902), Jack was involved in the War of Independence. He was involved in the Loughgannon ambush in 1920 and himself and his comrades were badly beaten up by the Black and Tan. A poem was written by the local postman, Martin Sullivan about the ambush and a copy of the poem is attached.
Jack became Quartermaster of the local branch of the IRA. He was involved in the burning down of the old military barracks at the bottom of Camp Street in Oughterard.
After the treaty, his loyalties lay with Michael Collins and the Free State. Early in 1922, he came home to his parent’s house in Rosscahill to find 3 men waiting for him. The three men were his father Michael, the schoolmaster, a Mr McDonagh, and the Parish Priest in Killannin. The following morning, he was put on the train at Roscahill railway station with a letter to join the newly formed police force, An Garda Síochána and his registered number was 484.
Shortly after he joined up, Michael Collins was shot dead at Béal na Bláth and he marched at his funeral.
In the mid 30’s he married Nancy Kileen of Athlone and shortly afterwards was transferred to Maynooth, Co.Kildare and had a family of 4 children named Tony, Ann, Pascal and Carmel.
He retired from the force in 1952 and bought a shop in Bridge Street, Oughterard from a Doctor Maloney who had himself bought it from a lady named Cill O’Dowd.
The family moved to Oughterard and himself and Nancy built up a thriving business and in due course, Pascal continued to run the business. It is now owned by Conor McNamara, who has kept up the good work.
In 1959, Tony joined An Garda Síochána and in 1963, Tony married Nettie Ferris of Main Street and they had 6 children, John, Garry, Yvonne, Sheena, Paula and Carol and on his retirement moved home to Oughterard and is living in Camp Street.
His son John joined the Garda in 1986 and was stationed in Cork City as a Detective and latterly as a Sergeant. One night, while on patrol, himself and his partner received a report of a Tiger Kidnapping of a local businessman. They went to the house and confronted 2 armed men at the house and overpowered them after a struggle. A report of the struggle is attached. For their acts of Bravery, both guards were awarded the Scott Medal for Valour. John is a frequent visitor to Oughterard to visit his parents. He has now retired and on his visits, he loves to walk on the many fantastic walks that surround Oughterard.