Sinéad Brennan tells the tragic story of Miss Constance Tynan, an innocent casualty of the Irish Civil War, in Mayo, one hundred years ago


The annals of Ballina history record 12th September, 1922, as the date on which one of the most high-profile engagements of the Civil War in County Mayo unfolded in sensational fashion.

It was the day on which a 150-man company of anti-Treaty IRA, led by General Michael Kilroy, swooped into town, launching a successful attack on the National Army, seizing control of the North Mayo stronghold.
However, for two families, the Tynans of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, and the Cafferty’s of Bridge Street, Ballina, 12th September, 1922 was the day their beloved daughter, sister, niece, and cousin was cruelly snatched from them, an innocent civilian casualty of the day’s events.

It was the day a bright 21-year-old young woman was struck by a stray bullet; killed as she crossed the Ham Bridge, on her way home from Mass. Her name was Miss Constance Tynan.

‘Connie’ was of one of three children born to Delia and Edward Tynan of William Street (Colmcille Street), Tullamore, Co. Offaly, in 1901. She was the middle child- her elder sister Florence was born in 1900. A little brother, Desmond, followed in spring 1903.

The Tynans were grocers and publicans, operating on the bustling main street of Tullamore.
With a healthy family and a successful business, there was much to be thankful for. Heartbreakingly, just one month after the birth of baby Desmond, Delia developed septic mastitis and died on 26th May 1903, aged 33.
Among those who supported Edward Tynan following the death of his young wife, was Delia’s sister Rosalie. While working in Dublin, Rosalie met a young draper’s assistant from Ballina named Patrick Cafferty. The couple married in Dublin in 1902, before moving to Patrick’s hometown. They set up a drapery shop on Bridge Street, in the premises currently home to ‘Blooms and Things’ flower shop.

Cafferty’s soon established itself as a popular store, which gave employment to many local people.
The Cafferty’s endured more than their fair share of troubles-two of their children did not survive infancy. The couple’s surviving children were Eileen born in 1905 and Noreen born in 1907. A boy, Patrick Jnr, was welcomed in 1912.

Joy soon turned to grief when Patrick Snr died of a heart attack aged 52, leaving Rosalie to run the business and rear the family alone. Somehow, she rose to the occasion.

The Roscommon native earned a reputation as a hard-working and formidable businesswoman, known for her generous nature. She maintained contact with her family in Athleague and the Tynan family on William Street, Tullamore.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own