Tomas MacCurtain, a dedicated family man, took an active role in the Irish War of Independence. Originally from Ballyknockane in County Cork, his love of the Irish language and culture led him to become involved with the Gaelic League, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the
Irish Volunteers. A dedicated father and husband, he was in command of the Irish Volunteers in Cork during the 1916 Rising in Dublin. Although no violence took place in Cork during the Rising, MacCurtain was subsequently arrested and imprisoned. Following Sinn Fein's victory in the local elections of January 1920, Tomas MacCurtain was elected Lord Mayor of Cork, the first Republican to hold the office. His term as lord mayor was brutally cut short. In the early hours of the morning of 20 March 1920, members of the R.I.C. burst into his house and shot him dead. The shocking murder outraged the public and brought near universal condemnation. Cork went into mourning for its murdered first citizen. A massive crowd attended his funeral. At the coroner's inquest into the killing the jury passed a verdict of wilful murder against Lloyd George and certain inspectors of the R.I.C.