Fergal O'Hanlon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Fergal O'Hanlon
Fergal O'Hanlon portrait.jpg
Born2 February 1936
Monaghan, County Monaghan, Irish Free State (now Republic of Ireland)
Died1 January 1957 (age 20)
Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
AllegianceIrish Republican Army
Years of service1956 - 1957
Battles/warsBorder Campaign
RelationsEighneachán Ó hAnnluain (Brother)

Fergal O'Hanlon (Irish: Feargal Ó hAnnluain (2 February 1936 – 1 January 1957) was a volunteer in the Pearse Column of the Irish Republican Army.[1]


O'Hanlon was born in Ballybay, County Monaghan, Ireland, into a staunchly republican family, Feargal O'Hanlon was a draughtsman employed by Monaghan County Council. He was a Gaelic footballer[2][3] and a keen Irish language activist. A devout Catholic, O'Hanlon considered becoming a priest and spent one year at the seminary in St. Macartan's.[4]

Brookeborough raid[edit]

Aged 20, O'Hanlon was killed along with Seán South while taking part in an attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary (R.U.C.) barracks in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, during the Border Campaign. Several other IRA members were wounded in the botched attack. The IRA fled the scene in a dumper truck. They abandoned it near the border. They left South and O'Hanlon, both then unconscious, in a cow byre, and crossed into the Republic of Ireland on foot for help for their comrades. The wounded IRA men were treated as "car crash victims" by sympathetic staff in the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin.[5][6]

The events and personalities are sympathetically recalled in Dominic Behan's ballad The Patriot Game.


O'Hanlon's mother remained firmly committed to the IRA and was hurt by the suggestion that there was an alternative to IRA activity or that her son was anything other than an Irish hero.[7]

A marble monument now stands at the spot where South and O'Hanlon lost their lives. An annual lecture has been held in memory of O’Hanlon since 1982, and approximately 500 people attended a 50th commemoration of the men's deaths in January 2007 in Limerick.[8][9]

In 1971, a monument was unveiled to O'Hanlon in his hometown - on a hill overlooking the Clones Road on which he had made his last journey home. A Gaelic football team was founded in Monaghan in 2003 and called the Fergal O'Hanlons.

His brother Eighneachán Ó hAnnluain was elected a Sinn Féin abstentionist TD in the 1957 general election to Dáil Éireann. His sister Pádraigín Uí Mhurchadha was a Sinn Féin Councillor on Monaghan Urban Council.


  1. ^ Hoganstand.com - GAA Football & Hurling
  2. ^ Bishop, Patrick & Mallie, Eamonn (1987). The Provisional IRA. Corgi Books. p. 42. ISBN 0-552-13337-X.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Ella O'Dwyer. "A sister remembers". An Phoblacht. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
  4. ^ Des Fogarty (2006), Seán South of Garryowen, p.108
  5. ^ Sinn Fein news[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Valerie Robinson. "IRA men's deaths that caught whole country's imagination". Irish News. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
  7. ^ Coogan, Tim (2000). The I.R.A.. Harper Collins. p. 313. ISBN 0-00-653155-5.
  8. ^ Sabhat/O'Hanlon 50th anniversary: Capacity crowd attends Memorial Lecture
  9. ^ Seán Sabhat Commemoration: Positive response from Paisley would move situation forward