|Died||1 January 1957
Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
|Allegiance||Irish Republican Army|
|Years of service||1956 - 1957|
Seán South (Irish: Seán Sabhat; 1928–1 January 1957) was a member of an IRA military column led by Sean Garland on a raid against a Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on New Year's Day, 1957. South died of wounds sustained during the raid along with another IRA volunteer, Fergal O'Hanlon.
Seán South was born in Limerick where he was educated at Sexton Street Christian Brothers School, later working as a clerk in a local wood-importing company called McMahon's. South was a member of a number of organisations including the Gaelic League, Legion of Mary, Clann na Poblachta and Sinn Féin. In Limerick he founded the local branch of Maria Duce, a social Catholic organisation, where he also edited both An Gath and An Giolla. He had received military training as a lieutenant of the Irish army reserve, the LDF which would later become the FCA (An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil or Local Defence Force), before he became a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army.
South was a devout Catholic, being a member of An Réalt (the Irish-speaking chapter of the Legion of Mary), and a conservative, even by the standards of the day. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbanus. Though it has been claimed (notably by his biographer, Mainchín Seoighe) that he was a member of the fascist party Ailtirí na hAiséirighe, no evidence exists to support this assertion.
On New Year's Day 1957, 14 IRA volunteers crossed the border into County Fermanagh to launch an attack on a joint RUC/B Specials barracks in Brookeborough. During the attack a number of volunteers were injured, two fatally. Fergal O'Hanlon and Seán South died of their wounds as they were making their escape. They were carried into an old sandstone barn by their comrades which was later demolished by a British army jeep. The stone from the barn was used to build a memorial at the site.
The attack on the barracks inspired two popular rebel songs: ‘Seán South of Garryowen' and ‘The Patriot Game '.
- "Sean South", also known as "Sean South of Garryowen", written by Sean Costelloe, County Limerick to the tune of another republican ballad "Roddy McCorley" and made famous by the Wolfe Tones. The popularity of this song has led to the misconception that South was from Garryowen, a suburb in Limerick city. In fact, this was used in context of Limerick. South was actually from 47 Henry Street in Limerick.
- Dominic Behan's 1961 song The Patriot Game commemorating the other fatality, Fergal O'Hanlon.
- South is also mentioned in The Rubberbandits song "Up Da Ra", which pokes fun at the concept of armchair republicanism using the literary device of the unreliable narrator.
- A New Dictionary of Irish History from 1800, D.J. Hickey & J.E. Doherty, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 2003, ISBN 0-7171-2520-3 Pg.452
- Bishop, Patrick & Mallie, Eamonn (1987). The Provisional IRA. Corgi Books. p. 42. ISBN 0-552-13337-X.
- Brian Hanley and Scott Millar (2009), The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and The Workers' Party, p.14
- Seoighe, Mainchín (1964). Maraóidh Seán Sabhat Aréir. Sairséal agus Dill. p. 44.
- Douglas, R.M. (2009). Architects of the Resurrection: Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and the Fascist 'New Order' in Ireland. Manchester University Press. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-7190-7998-6.
- http://www.edentubber50th.com/pages/south.php Edentubber Martyrs Fiftieth Anniversary
- http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/31334 An Phoblacht 8 October 1998
- Ruan O'Donnell, Professor of History at the University of Limerick