Aran Islanders Killed - December 1920

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Few of our blog posts so far have treated how the War of Independence impacted Ireland’s islands the communities which lived on them.

In December 1920 the Aran islands off the coast of Galway were deeply impacted by a military search which resulted in the deaths of two islanders. Early on the morning of 19 December the military, having left Galway and proceeded to search the village of Kilronan and the houses. Dressed in full military equipment and with machine guns on the cruiser, the military came in search of a number of men ‘on the run’ were believed to have taken refuge on the island. The military proceeded to station themselves on the hills and every vantage point as others searched the village. As the fog lifted on the following morning the sentinels were approached by armed men who opened fire on them. Two men were shot while trying to escape on the hills over Kilronan. Eleven prisoners were taken to Galway on the destroyed and lodged in an internment camp which had been established at the Town Hall. The dead men were named as Laurence MacDonagh and Michael Mannister. One other man was injured in the attack, while another named Folan was said to have made a daring escape, jumping over a cliff in an effort to evade the military. The military took no chances when searching the island and were even said to have arrested the clerk of the petty sessions. A military inquiry was due to take place into the deaths of the two men but the boat bringing members of the jury was unable to land owing to inclement weather.

 

Source: Connacht Tribune 1909-current, Saturday, December 25, 1920, page 5

 

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