The will of Joe Ring

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MEMORIAL Deputy Michael Ring (left) pictured with Cllr John O’Hara (centre) and former tánaiste Michael McDowell at a memorial to Joe Ring at Drumsheen, Bonniconlon, where he was killed in the Civil War in 1922. Michael McDowell was visiting the site whilst researching for a TV documentary about his uncle who was also killed in the Civil War.  Pic courtesy of Michael Ring

Edwin McGreal

It was while going through old files last Christmas in the family’s solicitors office in Westport that retired judge Patrick Durcan made a discovery.
There, in front of him, was the will of Michael Joe Ring.
Known simply as Joe Ring, he was the granduncle of Mayo Fine Gael TD Michael Ring, a Fine Gael colleague and friend of Mr Durcan’s.
So he passed it onto the local TD who was thrilled at receiving it for the first time.
“To see his handwriting and to read his thoughts, it is fascinating. From reading the will, it is clear he knew he was in danger. It is poignant to read it. He could see trouble ahead,” Michael Ring told The Mayo News.
Joe Ring bequeathed everything to his sisters Catherine in Ballinasloe and Elsie in Westport.
Writing to a friend, Paddy Haran in Westport, from his then base at the Civic Guard Depot in Kildare, Joe Ring expressed his concerns and gave directions in the event of an untimely death.
“If there is any shooting and I to get knocked out will you see that any money I have in the Munster and Leinster Bank, Westport be divided equally between by sisters Renia (Catherine) and Elsie after paying any bills I owe.”
He added that he owed Paddy Haran £4 and asked him to keep this amount.
Michael Ring recalls that Catherine had fallen on hard times and Joe Ring wanted to look after her, therefore effectively rewriting his will.
“Catherine couldn’t get a pension and her husband had bad health so he wanted to pass on whatever he had to her and Elsie,” he said.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) marks 100 years since Joe Ring was killed in the Civil War, in a battle at Drumsheen, Bonniconlon. While there is a memorial there, Michael Ring feels there ought to be one in his home town.
“There’s a lot of people who have memorials to them in Westport and rightly so but something has to be done for Joe Ring. He was the first assistant commissioner of An Garda Siochána, he was a Brigadier General in the National Army and was a leading Volunteer in the War of Independence. He was a brave and fearless soldier,” he said.