• Vengeance in Cork - December 1920


    The military response to the ambush at Kilmichael and the other attacks on crown forces in November 1920 came with vengeance in Cork City on the night of 11-12 December.


    Rampaging through the city hundreds of premises were destroyed or badly damaged. On that same night, the old City Hall on Albert Quay and the old Carnegie Library on Anglesey Street were also destroyed by fire. In the days that followed the Eire Og: Young Ireland newspaper reported on the losses which the merchants and shopkeepers of Cork experienced. On Patrick’s Street they included: J O’Sullivan, tobacconist; J. Woulfe, ladies outfitter; Roches Stores; Lee Boot manufacturing company; Scully and O’Connell, outfitters; T Thompson & Co, fancy goods; R Cudmore, fruiters; Burton & Co, merchant tailors; Saxone Shoe Company; O’Regan’s hosiers; Munster Arcade and William Egan, jeweller. On Winthrop Street, the Lee Cinema was destroyed, as was WJ Tomkins and Son, wine and spirt merchants. On Oliver Plunket Street, K Ahearn, a vintner; C Bateman, a boot factory and Patrick Forde, a vintner. On Cook Street, almost all of the premises on the eastern side of the street including Noonan, vintner and E. Woods, a wine merchant were destroyed. On Robert Street, the Munster Arcade Laundry; Shandon Printing & bookselling Works; D Mulcahy, ironworks and Maurice Hogan’s premises were badly damaged. The carnage continued on Morgan Street, Caroline Street and Mayor Street. Shop after shop were destroyed. On the morning of 12 December Cork was a smouldering mass of ruins.


    Source: Eire Og: Young Ireland, 18 December 1920, page 1


  • Galway Priest Murdered - November 1920

    INA_Blog_27Nov1920fermanagh herald

    The murder of Fr Michael Griffen (aged 28) in Galway in November 1920 was seen by many as one of the most grotesque acts carried out by either side in the Irish War of Independence.


    On the night of 14 November Griffen was lured from his house in Galway city on the pretence of assisting a person who lay seriously ill. Three men played their part in the ruse but more were involved in the interrogation that followed. It is widely believed that the perpetrators were members of the Auxiliaries and had taken Griffen owing to his republican sympathies. He was brought to Lenaboy Castle and questioned. A search was conducted throughout the area in the days that followed but no trace of Griffen could be found. Then on 20 November his body was discovered by a farmer near Barna. The body had been buried in a bog. At the inquest it was revealed that Griffen had been shot in the head and that death was instant. The murder of Fr Griffen, had been ordained in St Patricks College, Maynooth in 1917, was condemned throughout Ireland and indeed in the House of Commons where it was debated. An estimated crowd of 12,000 people gathered outside St Joseph’s Church in Galway City for his Requiem Mass, which was concelebrated by the Archbishop of Tuam, the bishops of Galway and Clonfert, and almost 150 priests from across the West of Ireland.


    Source : Fermanagh Herald, 27 Nov 1920, page 5.

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  • Black and Tans Marauding - November 1920


    Espousing the cause of Labour became a dangerous position throughout the autumn and winter of 1920 as union members became the target of the military and the police.


    In some cases the Black and Tans as they marauded through the countryside paid little heed to who was who and often targeted the offices of prominent local officials. In November 1920 the secretary of the ITGWU in Ardee, county Louth, James Dolan was targeted in this manner when the Tans wrecked his business premises in the town. Searching for Dolan, the Tans proceeded to wreck the shop and took large quantities of spirits along with the Transport Union correspondence, roll books etc. During the same week the ITGWU branch in Cloncurry, county Kildare was raided; the branch records stolen along with over £33 in cash. In Tullamore in King’s County (now Offaly) the raid on the unions premises resulted in the burning of the building after all or the correspondence etc was seized. Again, as at Ardee and Cloncurry the raiders sought to capture the secretaries of these branches who all survived but were immediately ‘on the run’. The union called on the British government and Sir Hamar Greenwood in particular to answers the questions about the attack on these three union rooms, although many more throughout the country were subjected to the same fate.


    Source : The Watchword of Labour, 13 November 1920, page 7.


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  • Terence MacSwiney’s funeral - November 1920


    Amidst all of the bloodshed which November 1920 brought, the cause of labour and the work of unions continued, protecting the rights of workers.


    However, within that remit of protecting workers the unions by this stage were also involved in the wider Republican campaign which was waging throughout the country. In November 1920 the newspaper The Watchword of Labour publically condemned those who had gone to work on the day of Terence MacSwiney’s funeral the previous month. Following the death of the Lord Mayor of Cork on hunger strike, the unions had called on all members to withdraw from work on the day of the funeral as a mark of respect. The stoppage was to take place on 29 October. Contrary to the order, employees of James Walkers printers in Rathmines turned up for work; as did the Dublin Typographical Provident Society, the amalgamated society of Lithographic Printers, the Irish Women Workers, girl members of the Irish Transport union. Bakers went to work on the day as they were deemed to be ‘essential workers’ (a phrase which resembles the current pandemic) but confectionary workers were not and were criticised for such. It was later stated the women’s branch of the Irish Transport Union were ‘taking steps’ to rectify what went wrong. The unions actions across the country had the effect of people nailing their colours to the mast in coming out in support for the martyred Lord Mayor of Cork.


    Source : The Watchword of Labour, 13 November 1920, page 7.


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  • Latest Stories About Irish Tragedies - Bloody Sunday - Evening Herald

    Evening Herald 22.november.1920 - Bloody Sunday

    Download the latest reports from the day after Bloody Sunday form the Evening Herald.

    Bloody Sunday reports Evening Herald 22.NOVEMBER.1920


  • All Ireland Tipperary Vs Dublin 21.November.1920 Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday 21.November.1920

    Tipperary Vs Dublin 21.November.1920 - Match Preview Sunday Independent 

    As excitement grew on the morning of the  21.November.1920 the Sunday Independent match preview reads like so many others. Little did the travelling supporters or the footballers know what the day would bring. The shocking events that unfolded at Croke Park that day would stun the nation and the world.  Download the Sunday Independents pre-match review below:

    Dublin V Tipperary
    Arising out of a challenge by the captain of the Tipperary footballers, the Dublin football team play the Premier County men to-day at Croke Park, when a good lively scientific game should result.

    Sunday Independent 21.November.1920

    Download Sunday Independent 21.NOVEMBER.1920

    Sunday Independent 1906-current, Sunday, November 21, 1920 2 BLACK FRIDAY SALE 2020

  • Frenchpark Attack - October 1920


    There was plenty of activity in Roscommon in October 1920 but an IRA attack on the RIC barracks in the village of Frenchpark ended in failure when the heavily outnumbered police force managed to stave off their attackers.

    The raiders occupied the post office and two houses close to the barrack from which they launched their attack. Again, using a different time and in an effort to catch the RIC by surprise, the barracks was attacked just after 7am. Lasting over a half an hour, some thirty IRA men fired the building but the garrison consisting of two sergeants and twelve constables responded with bombs and rifles. Eventually the raiders were repulsed and the only damage done was to the windows. The roads in the vicinity had been cut in advance of the attack and several large trees felled which blocked the roads. The people of Frenchpark feared for their safety in the aftermath as they awaited the military and their wrath. That reprisal did come and several houses in the Frenchpark area were destroyed as a result. On the night of 3 October lorries filled with police and military steamed into Frenchpark and began to terorrise the local community. They then made their way to the village of Ballinagare where they burned a number of houses, raided others and fired shots indiscriminately at the people. Among the houses burned was that belonging to Daniel O’Rourke, a local national school teacher.

    Source: Connacht Tribune 1909-current, 09.10.1920, page 5; See also Anglo-Celt 1846-current, Saturday, October 23, 1920; Page: 4

  • Dark Autumn Evening - October 1920


    What followed a month of reprisal and intimidation was an upsurge in attacks on the RIC and the military. Aided by the cover of darkness that the autumn evenings provided, the IRA once more upped the ante on the military and met them head on. October 1920 was a month of ambush and shooting recorded in the pages of the Irish Newspaper Archive & the Radical Newspaper Archive.

    Somewhat unfortunately, the newspaper accounts of raids and ambushes do not always provide intimate details of the dead and wounded albeit names and rank and on some occasion place of birth. One of twenty-four police officers or military killed in October 1920 was
    RIC Constable Harry Biggs, roll number 73983, who was born in London, England. Aged just twenty- three, Biggs died on 23 October 1920 while driving in a three lorry convoy which was ambushed in Parkwood on the Kings County (Offaly) and Westmeath border close to the town of Moate. Planned by the Westmeath IRA, the ambush on the military convoy was intended to hit three Crossley tenders who had been noted to travel in the direction very frequently. In total, the ambush party manage to shoot at the convoy which carried nineteen policemen, ten of whom were new recruits. Despite the onslaught of bullets which rained down on the convoy only Biggs, the driver was hit seriously and he was instantly killed. The military returned fire and it was said that some of the IRA ambush party were hit and fell injured.


    Source: Irish Independent 1905-current, 23.10.1920, page 5

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  • Arva Terrific Explosion - October 1920


    The new wave of IRA activity included attacks once again targeted the RIC and their barracks.

    A daring attack on the barrack in the village of Arva, county Cavan once again showed the ingenuity of the IRA. Commandeering a house in the village, the IRA unit cut through the roof and commenced the attack by throwing home made bombs at the barracks which caused ‘terrific explosions’. The barracks, manned by eight constables and two sergeants was then attacked from front and back. Despite being taken by complete surprise the police managed toput up a ‘stubborn’ defence with rifle fire and hand grenades, but they were soon overrun. Placing the garrison in an adjacent outhouse the entire ammunition of the barracks which included rifles and revolvers were loaded into a motor car. Then the barracks was set on fire and completely burned. In advance of the attack all the roads to the village had been blocked by fallen trees and all ammunition cut. It was stated that the sergeant was prepared to surrender after about ten minutes of the affray but his colleagues would not give in. A few minutes later the sergeant again shouted that they were prepared to surrender and one police officer who refused to was carried out by his comrades. The IRA forced the police to stand with their backs to the building and only allowed them to remove personal belongings before it was torched.


    Source: Leitrim Observer 1904-current, 02.10.1920, page 4

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  • RIC Constable Evades Capture - August 1920


    Throughout August 1920 IRA attacks on the military and police took on very different forms, including engaging with large parties such as at Annascaul in county Kerry to ambushing small parties of the police such as at Ballybay in county Monaghan.

    Here RIC Constables Boyd and Sharkey of Ballybay were returning from Newbliss when they were ambushed at a place called Aughadrumken, three miles from Newbliss. About half a dozen shots hit the motor car in which they were travelling and Constable Boyd was injured in the process. Although injured, Boyd returned fire and engaged with his enemy who were located on both sides of the road. He was quickly surrounded by the IRA and overpowered, although he lay on his revolver to avoid its capture. Constable Sharkey was taken from the vehicle, which was quickly dismantled to make it inoperable, and made swear that he would resign the force a tactic of intimidation widely practiced by the IRA. Constable Boyd was later transferred to the Monaghan infirmary for treatment. Scouring the countryside in the aftermath of the attack, the military were aware that one of the ambushing party had been injured and was obviously receiving medical treatment somewhere but no arrests were made.


    Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 11.08.1920, page 6

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