By Pauline Murphy

This year marks 155 years since the death of Michael Corcoran, a son of Sligo, who became a Brigadier General in the US army and a friend of President Lincoln. He was also a Fenian and his loss was greatly felt among the Irish American community.
Corcoran was born in Carrowkeel, Ballymote. At the age of 19 he joined the revenue police in Donegal where his job was to bust illegal poitin stills but, while in Tír Conaill he joined the Ribbonmen – a secret society dedicated to protecting Catholic and tenent rights.

In 1849 Corcoran suddenly took leave of Ireland and sailed for American where he worked as a clerk in Hibernian House in New York and married the owner’s niece, Mary Heaney.

Corcoran got involved in local politics in Tammanany Hall and enlisted as a private in the New York militia. He rose up the ranks to became Colonel but, in 1860 his Fenian credentials shone through when he refused to parade his regiment in honour of the Prince of Wales who was visiting the ‘Big Apple’!

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own