Irish Newspaper Archive

  • Irish War of Independence - Day of Anarchy - 16.May.1920

    Irish War of Independence

     

    In what the Belfast Newsletter referred to as the ‘half century’ there were over fifty outrages reported by Dublin Castle on a single day in mid-May.

     

    The disused military barracks in Mitchelstown, county Cork was destroyed by a group of twenty men. In counties Cork, Sligo, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Mayo, Meath, Cavan and Down – eleven in total. In county Down the burning of the RIC barracks at Laurencetown, near Banbridge highlighted the ingenuity of the raiding party who proceeded to raid three adjoining yards of petrol, paraffin oil and a large quantity of hay which they carried to the barrack to use in igniting the building. Such was the ferocity of the fire that a number of adjoining buildings were also damaged. At Bruff in county Limerick threatening notices were posting warning anyone from making compensation claims on the barracks which had been burned noting that they would be ‘marked men’ and would pay an ‘extreme penalty’. Likewise, anyone who dared to carry out repairs on the barracks would meet the same fate. Several cattle drives were reported and in county Tipperary W.R. Hickey of Galtee Castle was threatened that if he did not take his sheep off the Galtee Mountain he would be killed, informing him that British law no longer existed in Ireland. In county Cork a former soldier and then postman was threatneed with death if he did no give up his job as ‘ex-soldier’ were not welcome.

     

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 18.05.1920, page 5

     

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  • Irish War of Independence - Screams in Downpatrick - 14.May.1920

     Irish War of Independence Down Patrick

    During the morning of 13 May 1920 an incident in Downpatrick, county Down created a sensation across Ireland following the raid on an excise office in the town.

     

    Aroused by the screams of the caretaker, Mrs McBride, the nearby Revd T.G. Wilkinson, Minor Canon of Down Cathedral was shot by armed raiders as he went to try and follow the raiders. Armed with revolvers and disguised, about ten men described by many newspapers simply as ‘Sinn Feiners’ were there to take revenue papers and other documents. Commencing just after three o’clock in the morning, the raiders were disturbed by the screams of McBride who was in the building with her five young children. Wilkinson, the son of the pro-chancellor of the Queen’s University, Belfast was wounded by a gunshot to the leg as he pursued the raiders from the building. The attack was widely condemned in county Down and throughout the north of the country. Praised for his bravery in pursuing the raiders, Wilkinson was lucky to survive having lost a large amount of blood. There was little trace of the raiders who had effectively cut all the communication lines in Downpatrick prior to the raid on the excise office. On the same night two RIC barracks in the county were destroyed- at Strangford and at Clough, where a previous attempt at Easter had partially damaged the building.

     

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 14.05.1920, page 7

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  • Irish War of Independence - Series of IRA Raids - 13.May.1920

    Irish War of Independence

     

    The night of 12/13 May 1920 was one of sensation across the country as the IRA carried out over 100 hundred attacks, mirroring what had been done on the previous Easter Sunday.

     

    Among the reported attacks included 61 on barracks, 30 attack on tax offices with papers and books burned, mail cars held up in several counties and individual assaults. The series of raids on income tax offices, which numbered in total on thirty offices located in seventeen counties was a coordinated effort to deny another aspect of British rule in Ireland and make the country the ungovernable. Carried out between 10.30pm and 1am, in most cases the documents were piled into sacks and carried off. It was also a very active night for the various IRA units in county Dublin. RIC barracks at Ballybrack, Kill-o-the Grange, Blanchardstown, Bessborough and Crumlin. These attacks were well planned, described as ‘swift operations’. At Ballybrack the IRA informed Mrs Hurst, the wife of the sergeant who was absent from home, that she could have ten minutes to take whatever she wanted from the house and barracks and then it would be burned. On the same evening, and perhaps as a result of the various roadblocks which were set up to prevent the military intervening, in Killiney, William J. McCabe, head gardener for the Rt Hon. L Waldon MP for Dublin was shot dead as he left the gate lodge of Strathmore House. The incident was described as a tragic case.

     

    Download Source: Irish Independent, 14 May 1920, page 5

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    Irish Independent_14_May_1920

     

  • Irish War of Independence - Savage Attack - 13.May.1920

    Irish War of Independence

     

    In an effort to control the narrative of the war and to snuff out all opposition to the republican movement, on 13 May 1920 an attack was made on the home of Mr Sheehy, a solicitor and editor of the County Eagle newspaper in Skibbereen, county Cork.

     

    Answering a knock to the door shortly before midnight a number of armed and masked men rushed into the hall. Knocking him down, he was bound in ropes and his body, head and face were smeared with tar. No one witnessed the attack on the quiet Market Street in the town. Ms Sheehy, his sister who was out visiting, made the horrific discovery when she returned and quickly raised the alarm. Attended to by Dr O’Meara, it was said that Sheehy was severely traumatised by the incident. The cause of the outrage was presumed to be the fact that the Eagle newspaper was strongly anti-Sinn Fein in its stance. Within days Sheehy had lodged a claim for compensation for £1,000. Hitting back at the attack on Sheehy, the Eagle responded in its next issue condemning the assault. In addition, it vowed to continue to practice the principles of free speech claiming it would not be intimidated by the Sinn Fein movement. The editorial finished by stating that: ‘So the editor of the Eagle will continue, as ever, to challenge and combat this monstrous many headed enemy of individual freedom’.

     

    Download Source: Irish Examiner 1841-current, 14.05.1920, page 5; see also Irish Examiner 1841-current, Monday, May 17, 1920; Page: 5; See also Skibbereen Eagle 1882-1922, Saturday, May 22, 1920; Page: 4

     

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    Irish Examiner 17 May 1920irish exam 17_05_1920

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  • Irish War of Independence - IRA Ambush - 10.May.1920

     

    Irish War of Independence 10th May 1920

    On the 10 May 1920 an IRA ambush at Timoleague, county Cork resulted in the deaths of three RIC officers and another severely injured. Taking advantage of an agrarian dispute which they knew would draw the RIC to the scene, the IRA opened fire on the unsuspecting police patrol in what was a well prepared ambush.

     

    The dead included Sergeant John Flynn and Constables Edward Dunne and William Brick, while Constable Grimsdale was badly wounded and transferred to the infirmary. One newspaper account reported that the police men had little chance as the ‘rain of bullets was deadly’. In the days that followed there was widespread condemnation of the killings, particularly in county Cork. In a remarkable outburst the Most Rev Dr Kelly, Bishop of Cork and Ross condemned the shooting at Timolegue which he said ‘mad his flesh creep’. Speaking during the course of mass in Skibbereen, he continued by saying that it was a ‘callous and deliberate murder. It was slaughter. Likewise, speaking in Kanturk the Most Rev Dr Browne, stated that freedom would not be won by murder and called on the young men of the area to examine their consciences. At the funeral of Cosntable Dunne in Laois a few days later the Right Rev Monsignor Murphy spoke of his abhorrence at the murder of the police men, noting that there was ‘deep grief’ felt by the people of Raheen from where Dunne, a Catholic, came from.

     

    Download Source: Irish Independent, 14 May 1920 page 4 ; see also Leinster Express 1831-current, 15.05.1920, page 3

     

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  • Irish War of Independence- Roscommon Outrage - 7.May.1920

    Irish War of Independence

    May 1920 would display the many ways in which the Irish War of Independence would be fought. Perhaps in greater number than before - intimidation, attacks and outrages were committed on the general population as the IRA’s war extended beyond the RIC barrack or the military ambush. In this month’s blog posts we focus on how all sections of society were affected by the ongoing violence and terror

     

    In the first week of May 1920 a whole host of outrages were reported around the country. At Elphin, county Roscommon a man named Connor who was in the process of joining the RIC was fired at, while in Ballyconnell, county Cavan an armed and masked group called at the house of Thomas Maguaran and forced him to swear that he would not join the police.

     

    In county Galway two men named Griffen and O’Connell were fired at and wounded near Menlo, while two men named Duddy and Jennings were forcibly removed from their houses near Tuam in the same county and taken away in a motor car, their fate unknown. In Listwoel, county Kerry two men named Brennan and Foley were taken from their house by twelve armed men and severely beaten. In county Roscommon a man was attacked, stripped naked and forced to walk home with no clothes. A few days previously cattle had been driven from his brother’s land and he was threatened with death if he did not surrender his holding. A number of other houses. Threatening letters were sent to the wife of a county Cavan RIC sergeant and those who had refused to subscribe to the Dail Loan. Threatening letters were also sent to people to surrender their farms and to have any dealings with the RIC or to work as servants in their homes.

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 07.05.1920, page 7

     

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  • Irish War of Independence - Belfast Newsletter - 5th.May.1920

    Irish war of independence

    May 1920 would display the many ways in which the Irish War of Independence would be fought. Perhaps in greater number than before - intimidation, attacks and outrages were committed on the general population as the IRA’s war extended beyond the RIC barrack or the military ambush. In this month’s blog posts we focus on how all sections of society were affected by the ongoing violence and terror.

     

    In what would become a familiar story of the Irish War of Independence, but one which many wished to forget, the targeting of women.

     

    In May 1920 a ‘shocking outrage’ was committed near Tuam, county Galway when a group of seven armed and disguised men dragged a girl from a house during the night. The men had threatened to blow up the house unless they got the girl. Taking her from her bed she soon became unconscious with the fright. One of the men then took a pair of shears, and signing ‘we’re out for Ireland Free’ cut off her hair and asked at the same time should he cut her ears too. He sister was threatened with the same fate. Three arrests were subsequently made. Later that month three men were sentenced to six month imprisonment with hard labour for the attack on the girl. According to the evidence given in court the young girl was told ‘that is what you get for going with Tommies’, a reference to her interaction with the military. Describing it as a ‘blackguarding action’, Mr Golding representing the girl stated: ‘god help Ireland if these are the acts of Irishmen, and god help Ireland if these are the men to free her’. The girl was said to have been in a complete state of shock following the attack which was described by the judges as one of the worst cases which ever came before them.

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 05.05.1920, page 5; See also Westmeath Examiner 1882-current, Saturday, May 15, 1920; Page: 6

     

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    West Meath Examiner-5th-may-1920

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    Belfast Newsletter-5th-may-1920

  • War of Independence Belfast Newsletter - 02.May.1920

    Irish War of Independence 01.May.1920

    May 1920 would display the many ways in which the Irish War of Independence would be fought. Perhaps in greater number than before - intimidation, attacks and outrages were committed on the general population as the IRA’s war extended beyond the RIC barrack or the military ambush. In this month’s blog posts we focus on how all sections of society were affected by the ongoing violence and terror.

    May 1920 began with a daring and successful raid on military equipment in county Kerry.

    When military equipment arrived in Kerry for the soon to be established camp near Dingle the IRA in the county sent out a clear warning of their intentions and indeed competence. On the night of 1 May the IRA arrived at Tralee railway station and took all of the tents and bedding which had been sent in advance. The equipment was left in trucks at the station, awaiting the arrival of the military on the following morning when the IRA seized the opportunity to destroy it. A large body of men arrived during the night and as no guard had been left to look after the consignment, they took all of the equipment out onto the road and burned it in a large fire. Displaying how the IRA were growing in confidence and the daringness of its volunteers, the fire was lit within 100 yards of the RIC barracks and close to the coastguard station. Later that month the military sought compensation before the Tralee Quarter Sessions for the loss of the equipment but got little sympathy from the court which were overseen by Judge Cusack. The judge was unimpressed and claimed that someone had ‘blundered’ by not sending an escort with the equipment. Even in a time of peace, Cusack maintained, this was the right thing to do. Giving evidence, Michael Slattery, the night watchman at the railway station claimed that he had been held up by an armed gang and that there was little that he could do to prevent the burning of the equipment. Providing compensation for the railway company, Cusack struck out the military claim to be dealt with at the next sessions, claiming that ‘those military men don’t know where they are after a time’.

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 01.05.1920, page 5; See also Kerry News 1894-1941, Friday, May 28, 1920; Page: 3

    Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, Saturday, May 01, 1920 page 5

  • War of Independence - Miltown Malbay Tragedy - 18.April.1920

    Miltownmalbay Tragedy 18.April.1920

    Aril 1920 started with the largest scale IRA activity to date in the War of Independence with the systematic targeting of abandoned RIC barracks and other buildings. It was a month during which the issue of Irish independence would be brought to an international audience, while it continued to be a time of terror in Ireland. The RIC remained the open target of the IRA, but on a number of occasions in April, the RIC would claim victory. Elsewhere, land-related issues continued to flare as anarchy set in across the country.

    War of Independence - Miltown Malbay Tragedy - 18.April.1920

    One of the most daring attacks of the entire War of Independence period was carried out on the morning of 18 April in the quiet West Clare village of Kilmihil. On that Sunday morning as Sergeant Carroll, along with Constables Collins and Martyn made their way from having attended 10 o’clock mass they were ambushed by a large party of the IRA. Carried out in daylight and with a large civilian population present as they also congregated outside the church, the attack was all the more daring considering that the ambush occurred in the proximity of the Police Barracks and only a few hundred yards from the Military Depot. In the exchange of fire which took place, as men, women, and children fled in all directions Sergeant Carroll was killed and Constable Collins was severely wounded. Several civilians were also injured in the affray. Left behind to defend the situation John Breen was said to have fought valiantly to allow his comrades to retreat. He was eventually shot and died from his wounds. A large memorial now stands in Kilmihil commemorating Breen and the ambush in April 1920, while a smaller stone marker records the place where he fell. The inscription on the memorial records the following lines:

                ‘He died for the olden cause, the cause that shall not fail, while the stars above look down on one unconquered Gael’.

     

    Download Source: see Cork Examiner, 23 April 1920, page 3. ****PHOTO of the Village and those killed****

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Friday, April 23, 1920

    #Irish Examiner April 23, 1920

  • Rioting in Derry worst in half a century -17.April.1920

    Riots Derry City Belfast Newsletter 19.April.1920

    April 1920 started with the largest scale IRA activity to date in the War of Independence with the systematic targeting of abandoned RIC barracks and other buildings. It was a month during which the issue of Irish independence would be brought to an international audience, while it continued to be time of terror in Ireland. The RIC remained the open target of the IRA, but on a number of occasions in April the RIC would claim victory. Elsewhere, land-related issues continued to flare as anarchy set in across the country.

    Rioting in Derry worst in half a century -17.April.1920

    Simmering tensions throughout the month of April 1920 in Derry city boiled over on the night of the 17-18th and resulted in a night of riot in the city. Several events conspired to precipitate rioting on the weekend of 17-18 April. There was widespread anger when it was learned that a Derry man lay dangerously ill in Mountjoy jail as part of the hunger strike. Then on 14 April skirmishes between nationalists and unionists broke out in the city when Republican prisoners were arriving back in the city and an attempt was made by the military to disperse the gathering. What followed was reported as some of the worst rioting for more than half a century. Then on Saturday evening, the 17th, fierce rioting erupted in Derry after soldiers were attacked in various parts of the city. In retaliation, unionists and soldiers of the Dorset regiment engaged crowds of nationalists. Armed with iron bars and stones the rioters attacked soldiers as they left the Soldiers Club and who had come to help their besieged colleagues. They then retreated to the Soldiers Club which came under attack. All throughout the city, the rioting continued. When 200 soldiers of the Dorset Regiment arrived to put down the riot, the attention soon shifted to other areas including a RIC barrack which was located in a predominantly Catholic part of the city. In the end, thousands of pounds worth of damage was done to property, ten civilians were hospitalised and several of the military were also injured.

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 19.04.1920, page 5

    Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, Monday, April 19, 1920

    Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, Monday, April 19, 1920

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