Irish Newspaper Archive

The gateway to Ireland's rich historical past

  • IRA Storm Ward’s Hibernian Hotel Killing Sergeant George Neazor - 10.03.201920

    IRA stormed Wards Hibernian Hotel in the town and shot Sergeant George Neazor Neazer

    IRA Shot & Kill Sergeant George Neazor IN Rathkeale - 10.March.1920

    March was a month of terror in Ireland. It was a month when the IRA began to target the police, military and others in broad daylight as the frequency of barrack attacks gave way to ambush and assassination. It was also a month when the military began to strike back, while Dublin Castle upped the ante against Sinn Fein and their supporters. What else happened in Ireland in March 1920?

    If attacks on the police and military up until this point in the War of Independence took on a proscribed format, after an incident in Rathkeale, County Limerick on 10 March everything changed. On that evening a small unit of the local IRA stormed Ward’s Hibernian Hotel in the town and shot Sergeant George Neazor (Neazer) dead and injured his colleague, Constable Doyle. During the day, which was fair day in the town, Neazor and Doyle, who were in plainclothes, had accompanied a land steward, Michael O’Brien, from County Kerry to buy cattle for a farm which was boycotted.

    Having observed the two RIC men throughout the day, the IRA led by Sean Finn waited patiently until they could strike. Just after 9 o'clock the IRA entered the hotel and were shown to the room where Neazor and Doyle were dining. Sensing what was happening when the doors burst open Neazor fired his revolver but was fatally wounded; Doyle receiving wounds in the hip and wrist. Neazor was moved to a private house but was dead before medical assistance could be provided. Once more, the attack was widely condemned both in the locality and across the country. By the end of the month Neazor, who interestingly had been a witness in the trial of Sir Roger Casement, would be just one of many who had been killed as the war intensified.

    Download Source:   Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Friday, March 12, 1920 Freemans jounral 12 March 1920 George Neazor shot dead by ira

  • Constable Thomas Ryan killed by IRA Bomb RIC Barracks Hugginstown - 08.March.1920

    Constable Thomas Ryan killed by IRA Bomb hugginstown Kilkenny 08March 1920

    RIC Barracks Hugginstown Kilkenny Attacked by IRA, Constable Thomas Ryan killed.

    On 8 March 1920 the peaceful village of Hugginstown in County Kilkenny was shook when the IRA mounted a daring attack on the RIC barracks. One of the police in the barracks on that occasion, Constable Thomas Ryan was fatally wounded during the night. Although IRA attacks on the police barracks were by March 1920 commonplace, it appears that this attack took them by surprise. The police were startled at 11.30pm by the noise of gunfire and bombs thrown at the building. Constable Ryan rushed downstairs shouting at his colleagues ‘come on boys, we're under attack’. Constables Tighe and Conroy fired from the day room while Ryan raced upstairs with a box of bombs. The IRA then spotting Ryan in the upstairs room managed to throw a bomb of their own into the room. A few moments later the police heard Ryan moaning and crying stating that he was dying. Coming downstairs he was bleeding profusely and his arm had been completely shattered by the blast. His last words to his comrades were: ‘I am done. They got me through the window’.

    The IRA had, it seems, taken out the best trained of the police officers present. Ryan had undergone special training in throwing bombs and had received a certificate for such. After an intense period of firing the IRA retreated. When the police searched the area outside the barracks they found fifty to 100 bombs some of which had exploded and some were unexploded. They also found four bottles of petrol outside which were presumably brought to set fire to the building. The following day Ryan’s remains were brought for burial to Ballybricken, County Waterford. On the same day the authorities ordered that Hugginstown barracks was to be closed.

     The Irish Bulletin (1918-1921), Friday, March 12, 1920 reported that on the 10th  March 1920 police and army raided nearly 200 houses in the town of Hugginstown, County Kilkenny:

    Irish war bulletin 12 March 1920 raids

    Download Source: Irish Examiner, 11 March 1920, page 5 & The Irish Bulletin 12.March.1920

    Irish war bulletin 12 March 1920                                                       Cork Examiner 11 March 1920 Hugginstown RIC barracks attacked

  • Dublin Castle Raids Sinn Fein Banks - 08.March.1920

    Sinn Fein Banks Raided 08 March 1920

    Sinn Fein Banks Raided and Barricaded March 1920

    By March 1920 Dublin Castle, under pressure to control the growing support of Sinn Fein and prevent further outrages from occurring all across the country, set their sights on how the organisation was financed. Over the course of eleven days in early March that investigation became apparent and there were two raids on the Sinn Fein bank on Harcourt Street. There were also raids on other banking firms in an attempt to establish any connections to the Sinn Fein movement. In the second raid on the Sinn Fein bank, which had been established in 1908 by Arthur Griffith and others, the military and police proceeded to board up the windows and doors of the building with wooden planks. Money and documents were also seized during the raid. It has been estimated that perhaps as much as £20,000 was seized during the month of March, a huge blow to the republican movement. At the instruction of the Attorney-General, an inquiry was established, and all of the banking sector were forced to comply. The move came as a surprise to those employed in banking in Dublin. Significantly, the order which formalised the inquiry was signed by a man named Alan Bell, Resident Magistrate in Dublin. In doing so, Bell would not have to wait long for retribution from the IRA as will be discussed in a post later this month. This intense scrutiny on Sinn Fein's finances was a major setback to the movement and one which they struggled to overcome.


    Download Source: Irish Examiner, 8 March 1920, page 5. See also Irish Examiner, 10 March 1920, page 5.

    Cork Examiner 08 maRCH 1920 SINN FEIN BANKS RAIDED                                          Cork Examiner 10 MARCH 1920 SINN FEIN BANKS BARRICADED AND RAIDED

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Wednesday, March 10, 1920 page 5

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Monday, March 08, 1920 page 5

  • Sinn Fein Raid Mail Van - Blow for Dublin Castle 06.March.1920

    Sligo Champion Sinn Fein Raid Mail Van 06 March 1920

    As the War of Independence intensified intelligence gathering became an important feature of the conflict and gave volunteers experience on active service. One of the many areas of intelligence gathering was the targeting of post as it was being delivered throughout the country. Quite often, this included post which was directed towards local magistrates and justices of the peace, local landowners and others who were deemed to be sympathetic or collaborating with the British authorities. One such daring raid on the delivery of post, and a major setback to Dublin castle, was the raid on the mail van, which occurred on 6 March 1920 at Frederick Lane, Dominick Street at 8.30am in the morning. In a well-prepared attack, armed and masked men stopped the mail van emptying the car of its entire contents. Described as acting with ‘complete coolness’ and displaying in-depth knowledge of the layout and arrangements for carrying the mail to and from Dublin Castle, this was a massive blow to the authorities. Neither Dublin Castle nor the police would offer any comment on the content of the post, which had been stolen, but it likely contained sensitive information about the IRA and its movements. The delivery of post would soon become a dangerous occupation throughout Ireland as the IRA continued to target trains and post offices in an attempt to intercept classified information.

     Download Source: Sligo Champion, 6 March 1920, page 8

    Sligo Champion 1879-current Saturday March 06 1920 page 1

    Sligo Champion 1879-current, Saturday, March 06, 1920 PAGE 80

  • RIC Constable John Martin Heaney (aged 24) Shot- 04.March.1920

    RIC Constable John Martin Heaney aged 24 shot dead

    March was a month of terror in Ireland. It was a month when the IRA began to target the police, military and others in broad daylight as the frequency of barrack attacks gave way to ambush and assassination. It was also a month when the military began to strike back, while Dublin Castle upped the ante against Sinn Fein and their supporters. What else happened in Ireland in March 1920?

    RIC Constable John Martin Heaney (aged 24) Shot- 04.March.1920


    The month of March 1920 would highlight the tit-for-tat nature of attacks and the fact that the IRA was willing to carry out attacks even where the civilian population was present. The murder of RIC Constable John Martin Heaney (aged 24) at the Ragg, county Tipperary on 4 March illustrated that.  Heaney was accompanied on patrol by Constable Flaherty and as they made their way home the two policemen decided to stop at Fannings Public House, which also functioned as a grocery, to buy eggs. They had obviously been tracked as they made their way across the country on patrol and the IRA lay in wait. Just as the men were about the pay for the goods ‘a loud yell burst forth’, a duel ensued and gunfire lit up the public house. The police were unaware and so were defenseless in the situation. The bullet holes in the woodwork and doors in the aftermath of the attack suggested that several shots had been fired by both parties. Heaney jumped over the counter and returned fire but was shot almost instantly. The incident was over in a matter of seconds and the IRA retreated. Flaherty followed them outside and fired a number of shots but to no avail. It was later claimed that the behavior of soldiers in Thurles had been the root cause of the attack. Later that month, the murder of Thomas Dwyer in the Ragg was believed to have been in retaliation for the shooting of Heaney.

    Download Source Irish Independent 06.MARCH.1920

    Irish War of independence Irish Independent Saturday March 06 1920 PG 1

  • Awful Murder of Frank Shawe-Taylor - 03.March.1920

    Frank Shawe-Taylor Murdered 03 March 1920

    Frank Shawe-Taylor Murdered 03.March.1920

    3 March

    March was a month of terror in Ireland. It was a month when the IRA began to target the police, military and others in broad daylight as the frequency of barrack attacks gave way to ambush and assassination. It was also a month when the military began to strike back, while Dublin Castle upped the ante against Sinn Fein and their supporters. What else happened in Ireland in March 1920?

    drive do death heading

    The murder of Frank Shawe-Taylor in county Galway shook landed society in Ireland, a class who had already experienced months of raids and intimidation. A prominent land agent and landowner in Galway, Shaw Taylor was ambushed close to his home, Moorpark near Athenry. Just after 6am as Shawe-Taylor and his chauffeur, a man named Barrett, made their way to the fair in Galway they were ambushed. Halted by a donkey and cart overturned on the road, Barrett stopped the car to try and clear the obstruction. As he did, a hail of gunfire riddled the car killing Shawe-Taylor outright with Barrett receiving only minor injuries. A land dispute was said to be the motive for the killing, with agitation on the estate dating back to as early as 1913. Although he had initially agreed to divide almost 250 acres of his farm, this was rejected by those carrying out the agitation. In 1914 Shawe-Taylor was targeted when farm outbuildings were set on fire and the following year his herd was severely beaten. His house and farm were under police protection for several years. In the weeks leading up to the murder in 1920 there was once more agitation for the breakup of land in the area and Shawe-Taylor had refused requests to do so including a deputation from the local IRA. Although no person was ever tried for the murder of Shawe-Taylor, the killing would lead to reciprocal murders taking place in Galway throughout 1920.

     Download Source: Tuam Herald, 6 March 1920, page 2.Tuam Herald 06 March 1920 Frank Shawe-Taylor  Murder

     Download Source: Belfast Newsletter, 4 March 1920, page 4.


    Belfast Newsletter March 04 1920 Frank Shawe-Taylor


     Download Source: Connacht Tribune, 4 March 1920, page 5.


      Connacht Tribune 06 March 1920 Drive to death

  • Sinn Fein Hall and shops attacked - 01.March.1920

    Sinn Fein Building Attacked 01 March 1920

    March was a month of terror in Ireland. It was a month when the IRA began to target the police, military and others in broad daylight as the frequency of barrack attacks gave way to ambush and assassination. It was also a month when the military began to strike back, while Dublin Castle upped the ante against Sinn Fein and their supporters. What else happened in Ireland in March 1920?

    The month of March 1920 commenced with the sensational news that the Sinn Fein hall in Thurles, County Tipperary had been attacked, and windows and doors broken in the process. In the early hours of the morning and under cover of darkness, twelve men were witnessed carrying large stones and wooden beams. They also broke windows in the adjacent business, which belonged to a man called McLoughney. The damage done to McLoughney’s windows roused the manager of the shop, a Mr O’Brien who despite the poor light thought that he would be able to identify the attackers having watched them make their way across the town square. Further damage was done during this rampage and included the 1798 monument suggesting a sinister motive for the attack. On other buildings, skulls and crossbones were painted on the walls. It was later alleged that the attack on the hall had been carried out by members of the military stationed in the town, resembling what became known as the ‘Sack of Thurles’ earlier that year in January when the military fired indiscriminately throughout the town. The IRA would take revenge for the damage done to the Sinn Fein hall and throughout the town in general when they shot dead a police officer three days later, which in turn prompted the military to retaliate on 7 March by wrecking more premises in Thurles. Thereafter, this process of reprisal from both sides would characterise how the War of Independence was played out.

    Source: Freeman’s Journal, 1 March 1920, page 5

    Freemans Journal 01 March 1920 page 1

    Freemans Journal 01 March 1920 page 5

  • Ancient Order of Hibernians Hall Pulled Down - 28.February.1920

    Anglo-Celt Ancient order of hibernian Clones outrgae

    After a month of intense IRA activity across the country, the War of Independence continued unabated in February 1920. Becoming more daring in the process, the IRA continued to target the RIC and their barracks. Elsewhere, local issues and tensions would also surface, and in some cases they become embroiled in the struggle for Independence. February 1920 would be a month of chaos across the country.

    Ancient Order of hibernians

    In late February 1920 an incident in county Fermanagh indicated the various tensions which existed amongst the nationalist communities in certain parts of the country when a hall belonging to the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) was pulled down in the village of Aghadrumsna. The building, which had not yet been roofed, was due to be officially opened on St Patrick’s Day and a day of celebration surrounding it was at an advanced stage of preparation. The destruction of the building it was claimed was evidence of the ongoing tensions between the AOH and Sinn Fein, the latter group arguing that their own hall located in the same locality was the proper place for local nationalists to meet. A fraternal nationalist organisation, the AOH were part of the great cultural reawakening in the early twentieth century but after 1919 tensions arose owing to the militant nature of Irish nationalism. Some contemporary commentators claimed that the presence of the AOH, seen by many as the nationalist equivalent to the Orange Order, was fuelling sectarian tensions in Ireland. Nonetheless, in many parts of the country membership of the AOH and Sinn Fein often overlapped. The Fermanagh episode in February 1920 was not an isolated incident and in neighbouring county Monaghan this tension led to widespread violence amongst the two groups in 1920. Raids for arms were carried out on members of the AOH, halls were damaged and musical instruments taken and broken up. Before the end of the War of Independence three members of the AOH would be murdered in Monaghan.

    Download Source  Anglo-Celt 1846-current, Saturday, February 28, 1920 page1

    Anglo-Celt February 28 1920 page1

  • Queensfort House Eight Shots Fired - 26.February.1920

    Queensfort House Eight Shots Fired

    Land agitation in county Galway culminated in shots being fired at the home of Francis McCormack at Queensfort, between Dunmore and Tuam in February 1920.

    McCormick and sister were the only occupants of the house when the incident occurred and were unscathed, but one of the staff, Miss Kelly, a cook, was said to have had a lucky escape during the firing. More than eight shots were fired at the house and many of the windows of the bedrooms were shattered. Land in Hollymount, county Mayo was said to have been the cause of the outrage. Motor cars used in the attack, which suggested that the people involved had travelled a distance. Speaking after the incident the Rev Dr Gillmartin described it as an ‘abominable outrage’. The agitation continued and this part of Galway would see a number of ‘extensive cattle drives’ during the early months of 1920. The attack at Queensfort came in the same month as the murder of a herdsman at a county Galway estate as agitation for the breakup of landed estates intensified. In March 1920 the murder of Frank Shawe Taylor,  a land agent and described as being one of the best known people in the west of Ireland highlighted the extent to which people were willing to go in order to secure land. There was widespread agitation at estates that were under his care.


    Download Source: Connacht Tribune, 28 Feb 1920, page 5


    Connacht Tribune 1909-current Saturday February 28 1920 PAGE 1

  • Timoleague RIC Barracks Attacked - 24 February 1920

    Timoleague RIC Barracks attacked Cork Examiner

    Timoleague RIC Barracks Attacked 24 February 1920 Cork Examiner 27 February 1920

    The targeting of RIC barracks across the country continued in county Cork in late February when the police at Timoleague, occupied by nine constables and two sergeants, were attacked. The attack was alleged came as a surprise owning to the quietness of the area up to that point. However, the RIC were obviously prepared for an attack, using Vesey lights to try and summon help from neighbouring barracks but none was forthcoming. Armed with rifles and hand grenades, the IRA’s attack began at 11.30 pm and lasted more than three hours. Once more the IRA had barricaded most of the roads surrounding the barracks. Located near to the railway station, the IRA commandeered railway wagons and used them as armoured cars.  The operation had been carefully planned and John ‘Flyer’ Nyhan, a member of the local IRA company had scouted the barracks prior to the attack when delivering goods to the policemen. In total, almost 100 men were involved in the attack, the outcome of which could have been much different only bombs failed to explode and was found outside by the police after the affray. The stationmaster’s house was badly damaged during the attack, but no casualties were reported. In the days that followed reports that IRA volunteers had been arrested at the scene were dismissed. Almost simultaneously, an attack was made on the RIC barracks at nearby Mount Pleasant on the same evening lasting over four hours.

    Source: Irish Examiner, 27 February 1920, page 5

    Cork Examiner 27 February 1920


    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Friday, February 27, 1920 PG 5

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