Clare Ambush Police Use Hand Grenades 04.January.1920

Kerryman archive 10.January.1920

In January 1920 the Irish War of Independence intensified with the IRA carrying out a number of offensives in almost every county. To mark the anniversary of this aspect of the campaign, this month we offer stories about the conflict as reported by the newspapers of the day.

The month of January 1920 would mark an upsurge in attacks on the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the police force, but few were as daring as that carried out on the evening of 3 January in county Clare. On that evening, an attack took place at Ballyalliban, about five miles from the village of Ballyvaughan in north county Clare as the RIC provided an escort for a farmer in the locality. Ambushed from both sides of the road, it took them by complete surprise. Intense fire from both sides of the road then ensued and lasting a number of minutes. Overwhelmed by the fire of the IRA and in an effort to stave off the attack, the police decided to throw hand grenades, which it was later claimed was the first time they had been used in county Clare. It was not clear what damage this done to their attackers, but one of the police, Constable Slattery was wounded in the back and the shoulder during the shootout. By a stroke of misfortune, Dr Keane of Ennistymon workhouse was also injured in the attack when his motor car was fired at when he passed the scene of the ambush. Keane was lucky to survive and was later treated for injuries to his arm, which was completely shattered. The official report to the military authorities in Dublin Castle noted that a ‘brisk fusillade’ had taken place in county Clare between the police and their attackers but the attack was significant in that it represented a change in IRA tactics and which would see them openly confront the police and the military as 1920 wore on.

Download Source: Kerryman, 10 January 1920, page 2

kerryman 10 January 1920 Clare Ambush

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