Pat Nolan Blog

Tuppence from death

In August 1920, at the height of the War of Independence in Ireland, Richard H Beamish and Arthur F Sharman Crawford, directors of Beamish & Crawford brewery in Cork, travelled to London as part of a delegation of Irish notables who went to meet British Prime Minister Lloyd George.

While they were there, one of their employees, Daniel McSweeney, was on board a brewery barge that was berthed at Albert Quay back in Cork city. While on deck seeing to the ropes, shots were fired from across the river and a ricocheting bullet hit him just below his heart.

Luckily for McSweeney the bullet hit two pennies that were in the breast pocket of his waistcoat thus saving his life.

The Cork Examiner of 5th August 1920 published the story headed ‘A Marvellous Escape’ accompanied by a photograph of McSweeney, the bent bullet and the dented coins.

(In the case of Billy Connolly’s great-uncle, a similar WWI incident saw the bullet ricochet off a cigarette box in his great-uncle’s breast pocket and travel with undiminished ferocity up his nostril and through his brain, killing him stone dead).

However in Daniel’s case, he escaped with only a bruise.

This is one of the many stories appearing in the recently-published Beamish & Crawford – The History of an Irish Brewery, commissioned by Heineken Ireland, researched and written by brothers Donall and Diarmuid Ó’Drisceoil.

The book provides valuable insight into Cork’s economic, social and commercial history and indeed Ireland over the last 300 years.

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