Eamon Malone, Barrowhouse, Athy, Officer in charge Carlow Brigade Irish Republican Army was one of only four men from Athy imprisoned during the War of Independence. Republican activity in and around Athy in the period 1914 to 1932 was of a minimal nature. Only son of a Cork University Professor, Eamon Malone returned with his mother to Barrowhouse following the death of his father. His uncle was Reverend James J. Malone, Author and Catholic Priest based in Australia whose poems centred on the Barrowhouse locality are so well known. His cousin, Christiana, was one of the few members of Cumann na mBan in this area and I had the pleasure of knowing her when she returned to live with her husband some years ago at number 1, Convent View. Sadly, both are now dead.
The young men involved in the Barrowhouse ambush on the 16th May, 1921 were members of the Carlow brigade. This ambush which was a subject of a previous article in this series resulted in the death of William O’Connor and James Lacey, both of whom lie buried in the cemetery adjoining Barrowhouse Church.
As a wanted man Eamon Malone moved from safe house to safe house, never staying more than one night in any one place. On November 27th, 1920, one week after the British Intelligence System in Ireland was smashed following the events now referred to as “Bloody Sunday”, Eamon Malone was staying at Number 41 Duke Street, Athy. As it was a well known republican house it was deemed prudent for him to move elsewhere and accompanied by Joe May, another local republican, he walked the short distance to the home of Peter Doyle’s house in Woodstock Street. They were spotted by the wife of a local Royal Irish Constabulary Officer and on information supplied by her Joe May was later arrested while the hunt for his companion continued. Eamon Malone was eventually captured and lodged in Mountjoy Jail. There his leadership qualities were soon recognised by his fellow prisoners who elected him to a three man prisoners Council. A hunger strike was agreed upon as a means of defying the prison authorities and Eamon Malone was one of many men who underwent the hardships and dangers of a prolonged hunger strike.
Later removed to Jervis Street Hospital, Malone was in time released under the cat and mouse legislation which left him open to re-arrest after he had recovered his health. However, the declaration of the truce on the 11th of July, 1921 saved him from further incarceration. An asthmatic for many years Malone was to suffer ill-health for the rest of his short life.
With the coming of the Treaty, Malone was free once again to move around without inhibition. Within a few years he married an Athy girl, Kathleen Dooley from Duke Street who had started her working life in Athy Post Office before finding employment in Dublin. She was the daughter of Michael Dooley of 41 Duke Street and her sister Hester who was to marry Joe May, another local republican prisoner, is still living in Athy and is hale and hearty at 91 years of age.
Kathleen Malone was employed in the Post Office in Sutton for many years, while Eamon who had opposed the British presence in Ireland was forced to emigrate to England to find employment. Dogged by ill-health he died at an early age at Sutton, Co. Dublin while home on holidays from England. His remains were brought to Barrowhouse Cemetery for burial. His widow Kathleen died in 1964 and he is today survived by his daughters, Joan Fagan and Una Power of Dublin and his son Desmond who lives in Australia.