Pierce McCan and Ballyowen House – by Maia O’Sullivan
Primary Children's Competition
The McCan family purchased Ballyowen House in 1864. Pierce was the second eldest of four boys and his education began at home with the family tutor. He later went to Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare. He was a farmer and, as an accomplished horse rider, he was a member of the local hunt. He was also a strong swimmer and was rewarded for saving one person’s life and attempting to rescue another. Famous Leaders of the 1916 Rising were regular visitors to the house, including Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins. Unused ammunition supplies were only recently found in the attic of Ballyowen House.
Pierse was a founder member of Sinn Fein in 1905. He joined the Gaelic League in 1909 and was a member of the Irish Volunteers from 1914 onwards. He was imprisoned in 1916 after the Easter Rising for several months in Richmond Barracks in Dublin and Knutsford, England. In May 1918, he was arrested under the 'German Plot’ and detained in Gloucester Jail. In January 1919, Sinn Fein MPs refused to recognise the Parliament of the U.K. and instead assembled in the Mansion House in Dublin as a revolutionary parliament called Dáil Éireann. Pierce McCan never sat in Dáil Éireann. He died in prison in 1919 of influenza.
On the 9th of March 1919, Pierce McCan was buried in Dualla, Cashel, Co. Tipperary. His funeral was one of the largest the region has ever seen, and pictures record that the famous Michael Collins and Harry Boland carried his coffin to the train in Dublin before it reached Cashel. He was buried in the village graveyard.
Maia O’Sullivan, 5th class, Little Flower National School.
Click to expand image below.