This article previously appeared in The
Carlow People Tuesday May 31 2011
A fateful journey that would end in desperate tragedy
morning, May 27, 1951 eleven happy football followers left Carlow town
in a Comer van destined for Mullingar to cheer on their county against
Longford in the Leinster senior football championship.
journey which took place 60 years ago last weekend - was to end in
tragedy with five of the party meeting their death when on the homeward
trail the station wagon was in collision with a Dodge car near
Kneadsbridge (Lynch's Bridge), seven miles outside Mullingar.
plunged into mourning when news of the tragedy reached the town on
Sunday evening. On Monday, Fair Day, the atmosphere in the crowded town
was charged with sorrow and sympathy for the stricken families, parents
lost their lives were:
daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James Hogan, 87 St Killian's Crescent, Carlow, the youngest victim of the tragedy, just 19,
and an employee of Carlow Cinemas Ltd, shop assistant in the Ritz bar.
She was killed instantly. Chief mourners are; James Hogan
(father), Mrs M. Hogan (mother), Florrie Hogan (sister), John, Michael
and Jas Hogan (brothers), Mr. M. Hayden (grandfather), Mrs Bridget
Hayden (grandmother), Michael & Thomas Hayden, Richard, Patrick and
William Hogan and Michael O’Hara (uncles), Mrs F. O’Hara, Miss. Mollie
Hogan and Mrs William Hogan (aunts).
6 Granby Row, was aged 36 years and was employed at J. J. Wall's Garage as
a motor mechanic. He was married with four children. He was killed
Dublin Road, was a native of Dublin and had only come to Carlow a few
months previously. Managing the news agency business of Robert Whelan he
was married with three children. He was killed instantly
Staplestown Road, died some hours after the accident. Aged 37 years he
was an employee of Messrs Governey's Boot Factory. A past pupil of the
Christian Brothers School, Carlow, he was a quite decent man popular
with his neighbours and friends, Chief mourners are; Mrs. W. Moore
(mother), Mrs. Josephine Galbally and Mrs. A. Erritty (sisters).
3 Charlotte Street, died shortly after admission to hospital. He was
Yard Foreman at the Sugar Factory. A widower left five children, two of
whom, Maura and Richard, were with him in the van.
A widower, he leaves five children. With him at the time of the accident
were his daughter Maura and his son Richard, both of whom were seriously
injured. Joseph Egerton had a long record of service to Ireland and his
fellow workers. In 1923 he joined the National Army.
survived the horrific crash were Maura Egerton and Richard Egerton,
Charlotte Street, whose father Joseph was among the dead, Patrick Whelan
(44), Dublin Road, a brother-in-law of George Smith's, Ned Pinckney
(23), Dublin Road, Thomas McKechnie (25) 32 Tullow Street, Jack Bergin
(63), Chain Lodge, Palatine and Moorestown, Ducketts Grove.
van, driven by George Smith, left Mullingar to return to Carlow shortly
before 8pm. About this time the seven-piece Jack Frazier dance band from
Dublin were on their way by car, with instruments, to play at the
opening dance of Mullingar Carnival.
Kneadsbridge, just after the van had crossed the bridge and on a
straight stretch of road, both vehicles were involved in a head-on
collision. In a few moments men and a girl were dead. The horrible
suddenness of the tragedy added to the gloom which its announcement
spread over the area.
One of the
first on the scene was Mr John Lynch, whose daughter is proprietoress of
a licensed premises at Kneadsbridge. Mr Lynch rendered assistance and
his car was used in the emergency.
parties leaving Mullingar met ambulances taking the injured to the local
County Hospital but it was not until they saw the Carlow number plate on
the van that they realised anyone from Carlow was involved. The van was
still upright but was badly smashed. The front wheels, the radiator and
the engine were completely wrecked. The car seemed to take the impact on
the front on the drivers' side.
who was playing at centre half back that, recalls "we were narrowly
beaten by Louth in Croke Park in 1950, a point from a free in broken
time did the damage so there were high hopes for '51, we were beaten by
Longford in a replay but that was completely over-shadowed by the
"We came on
the scene, I was travelling with Jimma Rea, who wasn't playing that day
for some reason and the Doherty, the reporter from the local paper. It
was dreadful, the bodies by then were laid out in the field and while I
didn't know them personally, Jimma did and it was very upsetting for
Larry Moore, South Circular Road,, appears to have had a miraculous
escape when his car was wrecked. He got out through a window in the
back, and collapsed immediately afterwards. His injuries were not
serious. Three passengers from the car were detained in hospital: Jack
Frazer (40) 23 Wellington Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin; Edward Browne (46),
18 Warrenmount Place, South Circular Road (pianist), John Madden (40)
353 Crumlin Road, Dublin.
passengers of the car were discharged after treatment - Joseph O'Connor
(27), 43 South Richmond St, Dublin; Harry Coats (50), South Circular
Road; Thomas King (30), Upper Mount Street; Larry Moore, South Circular
The road on
which the accident occurred bore heavy traffic that evening, and
immediately after the crash other motorists were on the scene. One of
them drove on to Mullingar to report to the Gardai and to arrange for
aid for the injured. Others stopped and rendered what help they could
until the ambulances arrived to take the victims to the hospital. Later
they were conveyed there in two ambulances and in a number of private
Sister after 25 Years
Egerton was a native of the Mullingar district and had visited his
sister Mrs Doran of Patrick Street, Mullingar whom he saw for the first
time in 25 years after the match. His brother Thomas lived in The Downs,
To Be Married
Hogan, who sadly lost her life, was engaged to be married to
Thomas McKechnie who was among the injured.
eye-witness who saw the scene after the collision described the state of
the vehicles. The front of both were badly damaged, and he could not see
the steering wheel of one. The three bodies were lying to one side of
the front of the van and car.
was opened and adjourned at Mullingar Courthouse on Monday by Mr JJ
Macken, Solr, and a jury. The stricken relatives who made the journey
that morning from Carlow gave evidence of identification.
widow of George Smith, identified her husband's body and said that she
last saw him alive at 1pm on Sunday, when he left for Mullingar in his
van to attend a football match. Her brother Patrick Whelan and
Thomas Hade were in the van at that time.
Pollerton Road, Carlow, identified the body of his son Thomas, whom he
last saw on Friday.
a Mineral Water employee, said he last saw his daughter Hanna, at 12.30
on Sunday. She was going to Mullingar.
who is also an employee in Carlow Beet Factory, said his father, Joseph,
stated on Saturday night that he was going in Whelan's can to the match
14 Church St., Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow, identified the body of Edward
Moore whom he last saw alive on Friday. It was stated that Edward Moore
had no relatives.
Dr P. J.
Keelan, Surgeon, County Hospital Mullingar, gave detailed medical
evidence as to the cause of death. The coroner paid tribute to the
Medical Officers and staff of the County Hospital for the manner in
which they dealt with the emergency.
said that this was the worst tragedy he had ever come across. It had
cast a shadow over the entire area, He could not picture anything worse
than what had happened. He had gone to the scene of the accident on the
previous night and afterwards went to the hospital. He could not let the
occasion pass without thanking Dr Keelan and asking him to convey his
(Mr Macken's) appreciation of the work that had been done there by the
medical and nursing staff as well as the Nuns. He desired to convey to
the relatives his deepest sympathy in this tragedy. Words could not
convey his sympathy.
Mr F. J.
Mr F. J.
Lanigan, Solr, Carlow, on behalf of all the relatives, thanked Mr Macken
and the other speakers for their sympathetic remarks. He knew these
expressions carried with them the sympathy of the people of Mullingar.
gave full expression to it's grief on Monday night when thousands lined
the Athy Road to meet the funeral cortege when the bodies of Miss Hogan,
Joseph Egerton, Thomas Hade and Edward Moore were brought to the
Cathedral of the Assumption from Mullingar.
people were waiting beyond the Sugar Factory to meet the hearses and by
the time the cortege turned into College Street about five thousand
sympathisers were in the densely packed throng. On Tuesday morning all
business was suspended when a Special Requiem Mass for the victims was
celebrated by Very Rev D. B. Kennedy, Adm, at 11 a.m. in the Cathedral.
There were moving scenes as the four hearses, followed by several
thousand people on foot left for St Mary's Cemetery.
Smith's remains were interred in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin, on the
later the 'Mullingar Crash' and its aftermath remains one of the darkest
episodes in county's history.
People Tuesday May 31 2011
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