Brief resume of Padraigh Mac Cormaic (1896 – 1982)
Padraigh Mac Cormaic was born at the Mount in Knockaville, Co.Tipperary on April 1st 1896. He attended the local National School where he attained the status of monitor. The school manager at that time was the renowned Fr. Matt Ryan. Fr. Matt was an enthusiastic supporter of the Irish language so much so that one of his teachers was always a native speaker not without opposition from some of his parishioners. It was through Fr. Mattthat Paddy (as he was then known) grew to love his native tongue and became involved with Conrad na Gaeilge, also about this time Fr. Matt began what were to become know as “Fr. Matt’s Latin Classes”. There classes were held on weekends for pupils who had shown come potential. Many of there pupils went to matriculate, join the Cicil Service or become teachers, some to return to their own parish.
In Knockaville at that time a republican called Needy Dwyer (Kate) at whose house likeminded young men gathered. It was in this house that the wrongs of history and the deeds of perfidious Albion were debated and discussed. He once old me that as he and Sean Tracy were going home from Needy Kate’s on Easter Monday night 1916 Sean turned to my father and said “they’re out in Dublin and not a fire in the Galtees”.
After Solohead Beg and Knocklong in which he had an active part, also numerous other activities in the Tipperary area. He was called to Dublin by Michael Collins, he having by this time become a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The reason he was called to Dublin was that Collins needed the IRB to move the western seaboard to encourage the IRA in these areas to become more active and in this was draw the concentration of troops and resources from Dublin, Tipp., and Cork areas. It was to Roscommon in the Frenchpark area that he first went, how long he stayed there I have no idea, all I know is that in the early twenty’s he was well established in Clare.
In 1925 he married Mary Hannon by whom he had two sons Sean and Patrick, sadly his wife died during the birth of their last child. During all this time he was operating as a Timire (organiser) for Conradh na Gaeilge which gave him the cover he needed for his republican activities. Prior to the Civil War he was Commandant of the Ennis Battalion Mid. Clare Brigade. The engagements he took part in Mid. Clare and also in the adjoining areas are well documented elsewhere. During the Civil War he was interned in the Curragh of Kildare, which in itself was an university of kinds. He told me once that it was a source of disappointment to him that he could not avail fully of the courses which were been given there, some of the most brilliant minds in Ireland were giving lectures there, he had been detailed to give the Irish Language classes.
After his release from the Curragh he sought a position with the Clare Vocational Committee but they in their wisdom required that he qualified or An Teastas, which he duly did at U.C.G. In 1932 he married Katie King of Enagh Kilkishen, Co.Clare, they had six children Michael, Tomas, Josephine, Mairtin, Margaret and Noel. He continued working with the Clare V.E.C. as a Muinteoir Taisteal until his retirement.
In many of the areas he taught in he interested the pupils, many of whom were adults attending the night classes, in amateur dramatics. These plays and sketches were entered in local Feiseanna with some degree of success. The Sixmilebridge group being one of the most successful reaching the All Ireland Finalin Athlone, they did not win but they were highly commended. Padraigh is buried with his wife Katie in Mount St. Olivier’s cemetery Limerick, the inscription on his headstone reads;
Padraigh Mac Cormac
Oide agus Sean Oglaigh