Irish War of Independence - Burning of Moorock House - 25.May.1920

 Irish War of Indepedence - Burning of Moorock House - 25.May.1920

Towards the end of May 1920 the burning of Moorock House, near Ballycumber in county Offaly signalled the beginning of a phase of the destruction  arson of country houses in Offaly.

Described as a ‘magnificent three storied mansion’ it belong to a Mr Moylett of Tuam county Galway. Rumours prevailed that the house was to be occupied by the military and so in the intervening period the IRA torched the mansion. All across the country this tactic was soon adopted by the IRA and a number of different reasons and motives were given for the torching of mansions and ‘big houses’. By the end of the Civil War almost 300 country houses were burned. The same motive was also used for the burning of Kilbrittain Castle in county Cork in May 1920. Built on an eminence adjacent to the village of Kilbrittain and commanding views of Courtmacsherry, the castle provided an important strategic location for commanding the local countryside. Once the home of the McCarthy Reaghs and the Stawell family, it was later sold to the Cork firm of Reardon and Doyle, but had been vacant for some time. When it was learned that the military intended to commandeer the castle to be used as a barracks, the IRA decided to burn the castle. The damage done was estimated to have been in the region of £30,000. Prior to the burning of the castle there had been a number of reports of agitation for the division of land and timber had been stolen from the demesne, while other quantities had been dumped into the sea. A smouldering heap, people attended from miles around to see the ruins of this once picturesque castle.

Download Source: Cork County Eagle, 29 May 1920, page 1. See also Irish Examiner 1841-current, 26.05.1920, page 8


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