Michael Joseph (Joe) Howley was born in Oranmore in 1895. Aged 18, he joined the Irish Volunteers and later rose to the rank of Captain of the Oranmore Volunteers.
On Tuesday, 25 April 1916, he led an attack on the Oranmore Royal Irish Constabulary barracks alongside Michael Athy, Captain of the Maree Volunteers. After the 1916 Rising ended, he was incarcerated for 15 months in Dartmoor Prison and Frongoch Internment Camp.
On 21 August 1920, during the War of Independence, Howley partook in the Merlin Park Ambush. After
spending many weeks on-the-run, he was shot dead near Broadstone Station, Dublin on 5 December 1920. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Catholic church in Oranmore (now Oranmore Library).
The inscription on the plinth of this statue reads:
‘Commdt Joseph Howley. He led his Volunteers in Easter Week 1916 & was murdered by English agents
at the Broadstone Dublin 1920. Erected in 1947 by his old comrades of 1916–1920.’
Developed by: Galway County Council, in partnership with the Heritage Research Group at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).
Bibliography: McCarthy, Mark, Mannion, Marie & Wrynn, Shirley (Eds), Galway County 1916 Rising Heritage Trail: Go Explore the Historic Sites & Memorials (Galway County Council & GMIT, Galway, 2017).
GPS coordinates: Dr Mark McCarthy, GMIT.
Webmaster for digital heritage initiative: Hilary Kiely, GMIT.