Clancy, Peadar (1886–1920), revolutionary, was born Peter Clancy in the family home at Carrowreagh East, Cranny, Co. Clare, youngest in the large family of James Clancy and Mary Clancy (née Keane). Educated at Cranny national school (1893–1902) he was apprenticed to a draper, Dan Moloney of Kildysart, and during his time there started a branch of the Gaelic League. He later worked in Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick, and for three years in Youghal, Co. Cork, before arriving in Dublin (1913) to work in Harkin's general drapery at 70A New St. Later he and Tom Hunter became partners in the Republican Outfitters at 94 Talbot St., Dublin, which was destroyed by British forces in 1920.
A member of the Irish Volunteers from their foundation (1913) and subsequently a member of the IRB, he was court-martialled and sentenced to death for his part in the 1916 rising. The sentence was commuted to ten years penal servitude, part of which he served in Portland and Lewes jails. Following the amnesty of 1917 he helped in the reorganisation of the Volunteers in Dublin and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Chosen by a Clare Sinn Féin committee to contest the 1917 Clare East by-election he withdrew in favour of Éamon de Valera (qv) and campaigned on his behalf.
Vice-commandant of the Dublin Brigade, IRA, and an important member of the headquarters staff concerned with engineering issues, he specialised in prison escapes and rescued nineteen prisoners from Mountjoy prison and five from Manchester prison. A key player in the plans of Michael Collins (qv), he was to the fore in the operations of ‘the Squad’ and the Dublin Brigade active service unit. A man of unusual resolve and ability, he was the guiding force in the Mountjoy hunger strike of April 1920, doggedly refusing all concessions except release, which came after ten days. One of the other hunger strikers was C. S. Andrews (qv) who wrote that Clancy left on him ‘an indelible impression of the superman, a man whose commands I at least would have had a compulsion to obey as if I had been hypnotised’ (Andrews, 148).
On 20 November 1920, the night before Bloody Sunday, Clancy and Dick McKee (qv) were captured by the Auxiliaries, with the help of the informant James ‘Shankers’ Ryan, at their hideout at Gloucester St., Dublin. They had already set in motion their plan to eliminate the principal British intelligence agents in Dublin, and the following day fourteen suspected agents were shot dead. Clancy and McKee were shot by Auxiliaries in Dublin castle on 21 November 1920 – the official explanation was that they had been trying to escape. Claims that they had also been severely tortured and mutilated appear to have been exaggerated. Clancy was unmarried and left estate valued at £108. There is a monument to his memory at Kildysart, Co. Clare.