Irish Mayor Shot

Irish Mayor Shot

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01/03/1920 (of event)






35mm, film

black and white


British Pathe


British Pathé

Rights Holder

British Pathé

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The murder of Thomas MacCurtain on 19 March 1920 was a pivotal moment in the Irish War of Independence. This clip shows his funeral in Cork which turned into a massive demonstration against British Rule. MacCurtain was commander of the Volunteers in Cork and on 30 Janauary 1920 he was elected as the Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Cork. He was also commandant of the Cork No. 1 Brigade of the IRA.


Thomas MacCurtain's killing in March 1920 by the Black and Tans caused widespread outrage. The only newsreel to cover the event is Pathé, in this item which is catalogued as 'Funeral of Lord Mayor of Cork' on the British Universities' Newsreel Database. There is only one intertitle at the beginning of the item, stating ‘Irish Mayor Shot. Alderman Thomas MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork, buried with full Sinn Féin honours.’ There are various shots of the funeral cortege processing slowly through crowded streets. There is no further explanation of the cause of the shooting or its perpetrators – such controversial fare had no place in newsreel coverage. Equally, the newsreels carried an inherent sense of ‘orderly’ Britishness – to evoke the unruly and anarchic nature of the Black & Tans would have been unheard of by newsreel companies who avoided provocative material at all times. On one occasion only was this deemed acceptable – when the newsreels reported government condemnation of the actions of the Black & Tans.

Shot List

'Ireland. Irish Mayor shot, Alderman Thomas MacCurtain Lord Mayor of Cork, buried with full Sinn Fein Honours.' View looking down on a funeral procession through the streets of Cork. There is a pipe band followed by a wreath covered horse drawn hearse. General crowd scenes.


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