Burning of Dublin Custom House 1921
In Kilmainham Gaol (Courtesy of Maureen Griffin)

Full Name: James ‘Jim’ C. Foley. Known aliases used – Patrick Molloy (1918) and Stephen O’Neill (1921).

Address: 12 Delahunty’s Buildings, Lower Mount Street (supplied to crown forces who arrested him).

Unit: D Coy, 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade. Rank Captain.

Born: 31 January 1899 at 16H James’s Street, Dublin (He gave his birthplace as North Strand to crown forces when arrested in 1918).

Parents: James (a Van Driver selling mineral water) and Esther née Cooney both originally from Co Wicklow. They married in 1898 at Haddington Road Church, Dublin.

Siblings: Possibly just one younger brother Joseph. Their father James died in 1902 when they were both infants.

Military Service: D Coy, 2nd Battalion, Irish Volunteers from 1917. Same unit in IRA at rank of Captain. Arrested in 1918 at North Frederick Street under the alias Patrick Molloy with 27 others; went on hunger strike twice in Mountjoy Prison. Active in many Tan War operations including Bloody Sunday (at the Gresham Hotel). Elected Captain to succeed Paddy Moran (executed over the very same Bloody Sunday).

Was O/C on Ground Floor, Custom House on 25 May 1921. On arrest that time he used the alias Stephen O’Neill. See MSP34REF2288. Appears in several photos taken in Kilmainham Gaol, 1921.

During the early Civil War phase in Dublin Foley was O/C of the anti-Treaty IRA in Moran’s Hotel. Arrested by Free State forces in August 1922 and interned in Tintown till 1923. Joined An Garda Síochána (No. 8241) on 05 August 1933 (One of Broy’s Harriers?).

The Irish Press dated 24 May 1949 carried an article by Foley about the Burning.

Irish Press 1949

Personal Life: His widowed mother died in 1929. He married Julia Byrne on 12 October that year at Fairview Church. A Book Keeper of 100 Shelmartin Avenue. James Foley died on 14 March 1977 aged 78 at St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park. A married Garda Detective, retired, late of 20 Croagh Patrick Road, Cabra. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery plot SI205.5, St Patrick’s Section.

Remarks: Made Witness Statement BMH.WS0774.

Relatives: Daughters Clodagh and Nuala.

Burning of Dublin Custom House 1921
Glasnevin headstone

For the context of these profiles, see here.

Des White