By Pauline Murphy
In 1920 a young Corkman was killed in Galway during a terror filled night in the city. It all began with the drunken antics of a Black and Tan. Constable Edward Krumm was from Middlesex, England, and a veteran of World War I. He joined the Black and Tans and was posted to Galway only a few months later.
On the night of September 8th 1920 he was on a drinking spree in Galway city. In one pub he was making a show of himself by shooting bottles lined up on shelves behind the bar.
Krumm then met up with a fellow Tan and went to the train station where they harassed the passengers coming off the midnight train. Also at the station were IRA men who were waiting for a special package – a delivery of arms from Dublin on the midnight train. Things got out of hand when Krumm pulled out his revolver and began firing wildly over the heads of the terrorised passengers. IRA volunteers Seán Turke and Seán
Mulvoy were in the station and they confronted Krumm. They wrestled him to the ground and during the struggle Mulvoy was fatally shot, as was Krumm.
IRA volunteer Seán Mulvoy of the Galway city IRA company would not be the only Republican death that night. Krumm’s fellow Tan colleague escaped to Eglington Street RIC station to report what occured. Enraged Tans, along with RIC took to their armoured cars and tore through the streets. They sacked houses, pubs and shops. They went to the lodgings of IRA adjutant Séamus Quirke at the New Dock where they burst in the door and dragged him from bed.
They took Quirke to quayside and lynched him on a lamp post before shooting him eleven times. Thinking he was dead, the killers of Quirke left him there and went off to continue their night of terror elsewhere. Despite being riddled with bullets Quirke managed to crawl back to his lodgings and slumped against the front door. Neighbours came to his aid and Fr. Michael Griffin was called for. The priest stayed with Quirke until he breathed his last as dawn broke over the terrorised city of the tribes. Fr. Griffin would also suffer the same fate when two months later he was taken from his own home by Tans and killed. James Augustine Quirke, better known as Séamus Quirke was 23 years old. Originally from Marina Terrace near the Cork city docklands, he was the son of a jeweller. Quirke took on his father’s trade which brought him to Galway where he worked in O’Donovan’s Jewellers on William Street.
Quirke first joined Na Fianna as a youngster before then joining the IRA H Company of the 2nd Battalion Cork No. 1 Brigade. When Quirke moved to Galway he joined the 1st Battalion of the Galway Brigade and became Adjutant. Following their murders, Mulvoy and Quirke had a joint funeral in Galway with full IRA military honours. Séamus Quirke’s remains were then transferred to his native Cork city and he was laid to rest in the Republican plot in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery.