Patrick Corcoran a Kilkenny Nationalist By Patrick Neary
Patrick Corcoran or Pat as he was better known was born in 1875 at 69 Upper Patrick St.,
where the family resided. The second son of Anne and Michael Corcoran,
a whip maker by trade and a staunch Fenian who was involved in the 1867 rising.
Pat served his time as a carpenter, winning many prizes at Feiseanna for his skill as a wood carver and set up his own business at the rear of the present day Troys Bar on the Ormonde Road.
Pat became renowned for his artistic work, carved oak fire screens were among his more popular work and were usually given as Christmas or wedding gifts to his friends. He served on the Technical Institute Committee and was influential in Capt. Cuffes interest in setting up the Kilkenny Wood workers.
A Sinn Fein activist from it’s inception much planning took place in his workshop. He was secretary of the St Patricks Brass and Reed Band and Chairman of the James Stephens G.A.A.Club. Kilkenny won the Railway Hurling Shield for the third time beating Tipperary in the final at St James Park in 1908, three years later the trophy was given into the custodianship of Kilkenny Corporation for display in the assembly room of the City Hall. Pat was given the task of designing and carving an oak show case for the Shield. His creation equalled if not surpassed the intricate designs of the Silver Shield, it was to be his crowning achievement. The shield and show case were for many years displayed in the City Hall but were handed over to the County G.A.A. museum.
After the 1916 Rising, 1000 troops were sent from Dublin to Kilkenny where martial law was declared and a military swoop of Sinn Fein activists took place. Among those arrested was Ald James Nowlan, Tom Treacy, Tom Stallard , Pat Corcoran, Peter De Loughry and John Kealy. They were taken to Kilkenny Prison and next morning whilst been escorted through the City to the Railway Station for internment in Britain, John Kealy collapsed and died in John St., Pat who was in poor health all his life was released from jail after a week and returned to Kilkenny.
December 1918 a vacancy arose on the Corporation, Pat was asked to stand for election. He headed the poll with an overwhelming majority and was returned as an Alderman. Using his electoral success he secured the release of Mayor Peter De Loughry. He did not contest the 1920 election stating he could not save his soul and remain a member of the Corporation. His supporters prevailed on him to stand for the County Council elections in June 1920 and was successful as a Sinn Fein candidate.
Eight weeks later in August 1920, Pat Corcoran died in Jervis Street Hospital, his remains were conveyed to Kilkenny by train where a large throng waited at the station to pay their respects. The coffin draped in the Republican colours was escorted to St Patricks church by the Irish Volunteers and members of other organisations.
At two o clock the following afternoon the cortege moved off from the Church and processed through the City streets and on to Foulkstown Graveyard. All City business’ closed to enable employers and workers to pay their final tributes. The Tricolour flew at half mast over the City Hall while there were visible signs of mourning all along the funeral route. St Patricks Brass and Reed Band led the funeral. The Mayor, attended by the sword and mace bearers walked in front of the hearse with members of the Corporation and Co. Council.
Next came The Irish Volunteers from all parts of the County, and Cumann na Mban also occupied a prominent place. The attendance of the general public was large, others represented were public bodies with whom the deceased was associated. James Nowlan a life long friend of Pat Corcoran travelled from Dublin. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of the City Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and were most creditably carried out. The local papers reported it as being the biggest funeral in Kilkenny for many years. At the subsequent Corporation and County Council meetings tributes were paid to the deceased for his work and dedication to his fellow citizens. Organisations of which he was a member also tendered their sympathy and tributes. Perhaps the greatest and lasting tribute to Pat Corcoran by Kilkenny was the construction of the houses on the Kells Road in 1940 and the Corporation naming it Corcoran Terrace.