seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Birth of Daniel “Dan” Keating

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dan-keatingDaniel “Dan” Keating is born in Castlemaine, County Kerry, on January 2, 1902. Keating is a life-long Irish republican and patron of Republican Sinn Féin.

Keating is educated in local schools, including the Christian Brothers School in Tralee, where he does his apprenticeship. During this time he also becomes a skillful Gaelic football player.

In 1918, Keating joins Fianna Éireann and two years later, during the Irish War of Independence, he joins the Boherbee B Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Kerry Brigade, Irish Republican Army (IRA). On June 1, 1921, Keating is involved in an ambush between Castlemaine and Milltown which claims the lives of five Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) men. On July 10, 1921, on the eve of the truce between the IRA and British forces, Keating’s unit is involved in a gun battle with the British Army near Castleisland.

Keating opposes the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and fights on the Republican side in the Irish Civil War. During the Civil War, he is involved in operations in Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary, before his column is arrested by Free State Forces. Keating spends seven months in Portlaoise Prison and the Curragh Prison before his release in March 1923.

Keating remains an IRA member for a long time after the Civil War and is arrested several times during the 1930s on various charges. Keating is also active in London during the 1939/1940 IRA bombing campaign.

In 1933, he is involved in an assassination attempt on the leader of the Irish Blueshirts, Eoin O’Duffy, during a visit to County Kerry. The attack is to happen at Ballyseedy, where Free State forces had carried out the Ballyseedy Massacre during the Irish Civil War. However, the plot fails when the person travelling with O’Duffy refuses to divulge what car O’Duffy would be riding.

Keating retires and returns to his native Kerry in 1978, living out the rest of his life with relatives in Knockbrack. After the death of former IRA volunteer George Harrison in November 2004, Keating becomes patron of Republican Sinn Féin until his own death on October 2, 2007 at the age of 105 years. At the time of death he is Ireland’s oldest man and the last surviving veteran of the Irish War of Independence. He is buried in Kiltallagh Cemetery, Castlemaine.

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