REMEMBERING A large crowd gathered in north Mayo for the occasion.
THE life and death of Brigadier General Joe Ring was remembered at a commemoration service at Drumsheen, Bonniconlon earlier this month. Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, officiated at the service, which was in tribute to his granduncle.
There was a very large turnout at the event, which took place at Drumsheen, near Bonniconlon, at the location where Brigadier General Ring was killed in September 1922, by Irish Republicans. A monument marking his life and death was unveiled on the day.
Minister of State Michael Ring recalled and recounted the life of Brigadier General Ring, who he said was a brave and courageous man and held in high esteem in his home town.
“One of the most important and well-known engagements of the War of Independence was the ambush of Carrowkennedy on June 2 1921, in which Brigadier General Joe Ring was heavily involved and displayed immense bravery,” his grandnephew recalled.
Life and times
Born on August 17 1891 in Ballinasloe, Joe Ring lived with his family in a small farm cottage in Drumindoo, near Westport. He was a keen footballer and was captain of the local Aughagower GAA team, before in 1915, the Volunteers in Westport were formed and Ring was one of the many men to sign up.
He was appointed leader of the Westport Volunteers and following the 1916 Rising, he arranged a route march for his troops. They were identified by the Royal Irish Constabulary and along with 30 other men were arrested in their homes on May 9 1916 under the Defence of the Realm Act.
Joe Ring and the other men were shipped to detention camps in Britain such as Frongoch and Ring spent time in Stafford Gaol and Frongoch with Michael Collins before being released at Christmas in 1916. Upon his arrival home, Ring soon commenced the reorganisation of the volunteers and started training young Fianna Éireann members.
When the West Mayo Brigade of the IRA was organised in September 1920 Joe Ring became Operations Commander of the Westport Battalion, later becoming commandant.
Joe Ring was involved in a well-known engagement in Derrykillew, in which the West Mayo Brigade killed a Sergeant and wounded and disarmed the remaining three RIC men at the scene. He would later help with the foundation of An Garda Siochana, and rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent in that organisation
‘The Storming of Ballina’ occurred on Tuesday, September 12 1922. At Drumsheen, near Bonniconlon, Brigadier General Joe Ring was killed in action, felled by an Irish Republican bullet. His funeral took place on September 16, 1922 and was largest recorded at that time in Westport.