IN the Republican Plot in Kilbanivane Cemetery on the left of the Celtic Cross is a headstone with the name Michael Brosnan, Close, Castleisland killed by British Forces at Ardfert on November 7th 1920. Michael C. Brosnan of Close Castleisland was one of a family of ten, seven boys and three girls, his mother was Margaret Brosnan (nee Collins) from The Castle, Ardfert.
Michael was a Volunteer and he used to often visit his aunt Mrs. Allman, The Castle, Ardfert. On one of these visits on a morning in November there was military activity in the area.
There is an vivid account of events on that day in the Bureau of Military History 1913-21 by Patrick McKenna, Killourane, Ardfert who was Vice o/c 2nd Battalion Kerry No 1 Brigade.
“On the morning of the November Tom Clifford ordered Paddy Sheehan, Company Captain, to mobilise the company in Ardfert village. Clifford had earlier received word from the Tralee I.R.A. that a party of Black and Tans had gone to Spa village, three miles from Tralee.
Clifford’s intention was to attack the Tans in the vicinity. Most of the men of the Company were hanging around the village. Armed with shotguns, they were awaiting Cliffords orders who, in turn, was waiting for news of the position at Spa from scouts in the area.
While they were waiting, five lorry loads of military arrived, pulled up and dismounted. As they did so, most of our men escaped. Two however, John Cantillion and Michael Brosnan, were shot dead while escaping through the fields. Two others, James McCrohan and Philip Healy, were arrested.
A civilian, a girl named Connell, was shot dead. Another civilian, named Michael McGuire was arrested and, while handcuffed, was shot dead that night in Causeway.”
A simple ceremony took place in Ardfert on Friday 7th November 2014 and a wreath was laid at the monument to remember these brave people who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. – Éamonn Ó Braoin 7-11-2014