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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Oswald Swanzy

Contributors to this page: Michael Purcell

Further details on Swanzy for House History, 33 Athy Road, Carlow.

Oswald Ross Swanzy, District Inspector Royal Irish Constabulary.

Born 15 July baptised Castleblaney, 11 Dec 1881.

Shot dead  22 August 1920, Market Square Lisburn.

Buried on 25th August 1920 in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.


Father: James Swanzy born Sept 7th 1849,  died 26th Feb 1907,  buried

Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin

Mother: Elizabeth Coudy Ross, born Luscany 15 May 1855.

They were married at Presbyterian Church, Co.Monaghan, 8 May 1877.

Brother, Henry Hubart Swanzy, born 18th Aug  1878, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan.

Sister, Irene Francis Evelyn Swanzy , born 1883, Castleblaney. - Died ?.

Irene travelled all over Ireland with her brother, and looked after him throughout his life, it was said she adored him.

Following his death she had memorial notices published in the newspapers every year until she died.

House History in progress :

Compiled by Michael Purcell for Dr. John Sullivan, 2011.

Montgomery House, 33 Athy Road, Carlow.

Originally the property of Dr. McDowell, Medical Officer to Carlow Grand Jury in the 1830/40s. (check year)

Builder, Deeds, Census, PPP. etc.

In June 1921 the house and the adjoining (twin) house were advertised for sale, the owner was William Hadden of Hadden's Drapery shop.

Both houses had tenants at the time of the sale, this caused some problems and the matter was referred for arbitration, (check notes).

This extract deals mainly with Oswald Ross Swanzy,  (most of it Googleable, requires verification from other sources).

Oswald Swanzy was occupier of number 33 whilst he was stationed in Carlow.

District Inspector Oswald Ross Swanzy was stationed in Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks, Tullow Street, Carlow.

From 1910 to 1916 he lived with his mother, Elizabeth and sister, Irene, in the first of two red brick Georgian houses, number 33,on the Athy Road, (1911 Census ) the house later became the head office for the Beet Growers Association.

The premises is today known as "Montgomery House" occupied by the Carlow Dental Clinic established by Dr John Sullivan in 2002.

Two of Swanzy's handwritten R.I.C. report notebooks are in the Pat Purcell Papers.

In March 1920 Swanzy was implicated in the murder of Tomas MacCurtain, the Lord Mayor of Cork.

 District Inspector Oswald Ross Swanzy was assassinated ( using Tomas MacCurtain's own handgun ) by members the Irish Republican Army on 22nd August 1920,outside the Church of Ireland Cathedral in Market Square, Lisburn after attending Sunday morning Service, he was aged 39 years.

The killing led to reprisals against the Catholic population of Lisburn.

[In 1947 evidence emerged that Swanzy may not have been involved in the killing of MacCurtain, it was claimed that he was in bed at the time MacCurtain was killed].

In the book "The Burnings 1920" by Pearse Lawler, the following account of the assassination is recorded:

"The first shot was fired at point blank range by Sean Culhane hitting Swanzy, as he later claimed, behind the right ear and exiting on the other side of his head between his ear and his eye. Almost simultaneously Dick Murphy, the other Cork man, fired a volley at Swanzy.

As he fell further shots were fired into his body with McCorley pausing to deliver the coup de grace.

Many RIC officers were killed during this period but the murder of District Inspector Swanzy led to unprecedented reprisals against the Catholic population in the towns of Banbridge, Dromore and Lisburn"

Lawlor traces the events which led to serious sectarian rioting and the burning of Catholic owned property over a period of three months in 1920

Following the assassination three members of the I.R.A. squad involved in planning the shooting of Swanzy were in hiding in Carlow before returning to Cork,  they stayed in the abandoned Swanzy house on the Athy Road for two days.

News report:

"When the Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomas MacCurtain, who was also the leader of Cork No. 1 Brigade of the IRA, was killed by the British on March 20, 1920, Michael Collins learned that RIC District Inspector Oswald Ross Swanzy was one of those responsible for the killing.

The British, in an effort to protect Swanzy from IRA reprisals, transferred Swanzy from Cork to Lisburn in Northern Ireland.

However, Collins's vast intelligence network was able to track Swanzy down and a special hit team comprised of members of the First Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade was dispatched to kill him. They achieved their objective on August 22, as Swanzy was leaving a church service."

Read more information on this case at:

Oswald Ross Swanzy:

Source: Michael Purcell
The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP