The Destruction of Tincurry House

by Annette Condon

In memory of my grand-aunt, Marian Tobin (1872-1955), War of Independence heroine and Tipperary’s first woman Councillor, whose home in Cahir was destroyed by British Forces in May 1921.

‘In the round room, there are no corners for the cats to piddle in,’
a phrase my father remembered her saying.
No matter – they still came in their clattering boots
to blow up her home, Tincurry House.
One hour to take sufficient clothing and food.
No furniture to be removed.
Yet, she pulled the piano through the French doors
onto the lawn by the tulip tree
and played God Save Ireland,
her daughter, Eva, singing with her.
‘God save Ireland, said the heroes,
God save Ireland, said we all.’
The music rising to a crescendo
above the thud of pick and hatchet,
above the staccato bang-bang in each room,
above the vinegar of metal and burning wood.
Strong notes drifting upwards in the spring air
to join a crackling symphony of orange and blue.
The dear, old house and home blown to the four winds of Heaven.
Afterwards, she shared the food she had salvaged
with the Tans: beer and sandwiches on the smoky lawn. 

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in Poetry as Commemoration workshops held at Tipperary Studies in March 2023. The workshops were led by writer David McLoghlin.