The next event at St. John’s Church, Knockainey, is on Saturday, July 22nd and will be a series of short talks on the life of Bottomstown, Elton native Frank Ryan. Both Ryan’s parents were teachers at Bottomstown National School in the late 19th/early 20th Century.
For anyone unfamiliar with Frank Ryan, here’s a brief bio:
FRANK RYAN’S life was dramatic. Born at Bottomstown, Elton, Co Limerick in 1902, he was a teenage IRA volunteer. He fought on Éamon de Valera’s side in the Civil War, most of which he spent in prison, and was imprisoned at various stages for his political beliefs.
Disillusioned with the infighting of Irish republicanism, he went to Madrid in December, 1936 to fight with the International Brigade, leading the Connolly Column in the Spanish Civil War. He was injured and imprisoned in Burgos for a couple of years until German intelligence, keen to make use of his dissident IRA connections, took him to Berlin. He spent the Second World War in a curious dance with the Third Reich, before dying in a hospital in Dresden in 1944.
Christy Moore has sung about Frank Ryan (‘Viva La Quinta Brigada’). Jack Higgins used him as a model for one of his characters in The Eagle Has Landed. Gabriel Byrne spent years trying to produce a film about him.