John Crowley (1870-1934)
Crowley was a Medical Officer in Ballycastle for 33 years
and is buried in Doonfeeney cemetery with the remains of his
son, Dunbar, who died at the age of 3½ years.
was born in Cork in 1870, received his earlier education in
Cork and then graduated from the Royal University , Edinburgh
. At the age of 50, he learned to speak the Irish language
and became a fluent speaker. He was also an accomplished public
became associated with the Sinn Fein movement almost from
its inception and took a prominent part in all the activities
of the organisation. In 1918 he was elected Sinn Fein T.D.
for North Mayo, defeating by a decisive majority the then
sitting member, the late Alderman D. Boyle M.P. He was elected
again in 1924 but did not contest the constituency after that.
He held the rank of Battalion Commandant in the I.R.A. and
played an active part in the Wart of Independence.
1920 his residence was raided on many occasions by Crown forces.
One night he was taken from his bed and badly beaten. He was
put into a lorry to be taken to Ballina but on the journey
he jumped from it and escaped after several volleys of shots
were fired at him. He then went ‘on the run' and was next
heard of in his native Cork . Here he was arrested and paraded
through the streets of Cork City tied to a gun. He escaped
again and after a serious operation, took part in the activities
of the I.R.A. in different parts of the country.
1922 he was arrested by Free State forces and held in Ballina
workhouse, from which he was released by Republican forces
on 12th September 1922 when they stormed and captured Ballina.
terrible beatings and hardships he underwent during the Anglo-Irish
struggle and the civil war left him in very bad health. However,
he fought against the steady inroad of disease with the iron
will he possessed.
was responsible for the sale of Dail Eireann Bonds in North
Mayo and from 1918 to 1925 was President of the North Mayo
Sinn Fein Executive. His political activities in later years
were not so prominent owing to the state of his health, but
he never wavered in his convictions in regard to the policy
of Sinn Fein. He was a man who resisted all pressure, risked
unpopularity and even imprisonment in pursuit of his beliefs.
a medical man, he was foremost in the ranks of his profession.
One of his qualifications was as a specialist in the treatment
of the eyes. On the wildest of winter nights, he trudged over
the mountains and through the bogs to tend to sick people.
He is remembered for his unbounded charity that left him a
relatively poor man.
died at the age of 64 years. Most Rev. Dr. Naughton, Bishop
of Killala, preceded the coffin as it was borne from St. Brigid's
Church and his funeral was attended by many clergymen. Over
1,000 Old I.R.A. men were present with a special 100 strong
detachment that marched behind the coffin, wearing white sashes.
Minister for Justice, Mr. P.J. Rutledge was also present,
as were many T.D.'s. At the graveside the prayers were said
by Archdeacon Munnelly who, in his tribute, said Dr. Crowley
was a devout Catholic who took a personal interest in the
erection of the new Church in Ballycastle. A monument was
erected to the memory of Dr. Crowley. It is on the Killala
road just outside the town of Ballycastle .