Casey Sheehan’s Irish Links

Sean O'Driscoll, Contibutor
October / November 2005

Casey Sheehan, the American Soldier whose mother is holding an anti-war vigil outside President Bush’s Texas home, was planning to tour Limerick and Cork when he returned from Iraq.

His mother Cindy’s protest outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas has won international attention, and hundreds more anti-war protestors gathered to join her campaign.

Sheehan released Casey’s last two letters to the media, showing his excitement at arriving in Shannon for a brief layover before being flown to Kuwait.

Both letters mention his meeting with Linda Ward, a bar supervisor at Shannon airport who told him about the Sheehan family and its links to Limerick and Cork.

Speaking from her home in Ennis, County Clare, Ward said that she remembered Casey Sheehan as polite and very curious about his family background. He told her that he wanted to meet Sheehan family members in Limerick and Cork when he finished his Iraq tour. The pair began talking after she noticed his Irish name on his military ID badge. She heard about his death about three or four months after he and six others were killed in a bomb attack while trying to reach injured soldiers in Baghdad.

In a letter written to his family’s California home from a staging camp in Kuwait, Sheehan, 24, recalled meeting Ward and said “she told me about the country and the different things to do. She also informed me that my family name is well known here.”

Four days before his death, he added a second letter, again mentioning Shannon and that the Sheehan family was well known in Ireland.
According to Cindy Sheehan, Casey woke her up in the middle of the night to talk about Shannon and his hopes of returning to Ireland.
“He was on his way to Mass, and we talked about when he stopped in Ireland to refuel. We’re Irish, so he found an airport employee that was telling him about the history of our name, the Sheehan name,” she told a San Francisco newspaper after his death ♦

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