Irish Newspaper Archive

  • Clare Milltown-Malbay 14th April 1920 RIC shot into crowd.

     Clare Tragedy Bombs thrown into crowd 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.

    Milltown-Malbay 14th April 1920 RIC and the military shot into a crowd.

    It was a month of terror in county Clare, none more so than at Milltown-Malbay on the 14 April when a group of RIC and the military shot into a crowd who were celebrating the release of prisoners' release from Mountjoy jail, killing three people and wounding nine others. Gathered around a lit tar barrel to celebrate the release of the Mountjoy hunger-strikers, the crowd were fired after being warned to disperse. The dead included Patrick Hennessy, a 30-year-old small farmer from Miltown Malbay and a father of two; John O’Loughlin, an unmarried tailor from Ennistymon; and Thomas Leary, 33, a married father of 10 children from Miltown Malbay. Naturally, there was widespread revulsion at the killings. In the House of Commons, TP O’Connor rebuked the British government for the actions of the police and soldiers. In the wake of the attack, the Bishop of Killaloe, Michael Fogarty, condemned the incident but called for calm. Writing to Fr Hannon, PP of Miltown Malbay, the bishop expressed:

        ‘Universal sorrow at slaughter of your helpless and inoffensive people. I tender my deepest sympathy to you and friends and victims. Please exhort people in my name to exercise self-control in spite of provocation’.

    The scenes witnessed at the funerals, it was said, would live long in the memory of the people of Clare.

    Download Source: Irish Independent 1905-current, Monday, April 19, 1920; Page: 5

    Another Appalling Clare Tragedy - Police thorw bombs into crowd

  • Sergeant Patrick Finnerty was shot - 15.April.1920

    Sergeant Finnerty Shot Dead

    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.

    In mid-April 1920 a large crowd of Sinn Fein demonstration at Balbriggan county Dublin was under the careful watch of the RIC. The Republican gathering was to celebrate the release of hunger strikers from Mountjoy jail some days previously. As the crowd began to move down Clonard Street and as the police looked on, Sergeant Patrick Finnerty was shot. A military inquest would later reveal that he had been shot by a revolver. Lingering for two days, Finnerty died in the Mater Hospital. Aged 51, Finnerty was unmarried and had given over twenty-five years of service to the RIC. Given evidence, his fellow officers stated that they had not seen the assassin and that visibility was poor owing to the darkness and heavy rainfall. They were praised for their calmness in the situation and no fire was returned. In his book, We Bled Together: Michael Collins, The Squad and the Dublin Brigade, Dominic Price recounts the killing of Finnerty as told by Captain John Gaynor, of the Balbriggan Company of the 1st Battalion Fingal Brigade who fired the fatal shot. According to Gaynor he anticipated that Finnerty would try and remove a tricolour flag which was on display. In his own words: ‘Finnerty made a dash to seize the flag, which was in the center of the procession. I immediately pulled a revolver from my pocket and dropped him’.  Patrick Finnerty was buried in his native Athenry,  County Galway.

    Download Source: Belfast Newsletter, 19 April 1920, page 5; See also Irish Examiner, April 17, 1920; Page: 11

    Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, Monday, April 19, 1920                                       Irish Examiner 1841-current, Saturday, April 17, 1920

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Saturday, April 17,

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

  • Farmer Brutally Assaulted - April 1920

    11 April 1920 Irish War oF Independence Farmer assaulted

    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 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.

    Irish War of Independence - Farmers Assaulted -

    Described as a ‘savage’ attack in which the farmer was ‘waylaid’ by a number of men, the beating received by James Flanagan, an aged farmer of Fahereen Grange, near Athlone, County Westmeath revealed much about the local dimension of the Irish War of Independence.  Harking back to the Famine, and the eviction of tenants, the attack near Moate suggested that old scores were being settled as agitation for land commenced. Flanagan described as the holder of 120 acres of land, ‘comfortable’ and an inoffensive man, was attacked and dangerously beaten as he made his way home from Moate fair. Some days prior to the attack he had told friends that he had received threatening letters indicating that he would be shot. Bitter memories of nineteenth-century evictions were expressed in the threatening letters. Presenting a ‘revolting spectacle’, Flanagan’s nose being completely shattered and his forehead opened in two places. In the same month a young man named  Flynn, a farmer's son, was shot and wounded in another land dispute near the border of Westmeath and King’s County (Offaly). Armed and disguised men broke into the house and dragged the family into the yard where they shot Kieran Flynn in the arm. Before leaving, the Flynns were warned to quit the farm, money was taken from them and an attempt was made to set fire to the house.

    Source: Evening Herald, 9 April 1920, page 1; See also Freemans Journal 1763-1924, 06.04.1920, page 3

    Evening Herald  Friday, April 09, 1920

    Twitter: #Agrarian attacks in #Westmeath in disputes over #land during April 1920 #irishhistory #irishwarofindependence  @ciaranjreilly

  • Tipperary IRA Ambush Shot 2 Policemen - 09.April.1920

    IRA Kill two policemen Tipperary Ambush 09.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 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.

    The upsurge in IRA activity in early 1920 resulted in heavy losses for the police and the military but few were carried out with the ruthlessness or efficiency as the killing of two police constables in Newport, County Tipperary on 8 April. Ambushed by 20 masked men, Constables, Finn, McCarthy and Byrne were cycling on patrol from their barrack when they were fired at when they reached a place called Lackamore Wood. This isolated and  ‘bleak part of County Tipperary’ gave the IRA perfect cover to carry out their ambush. Constable Byrne, who was leading, received a number of shots in the shoulders and back and fell into a ditch. His two comrades were shot in the head and killed. Constable Byrne climbed over a ditch and fired his revolver in the direction of his assailants, who fled immediately. In his testimony to the military, Byrne recalled that he saw nearly 20 men running through the wood. Although badly injured Byrne managed cycle back to Newport Station, raising the alarm and then collapsed. It is believed that 30 shots were fired at the three men. Although the area was quickly flooded with military, no arrests. A Police District Inspector later recalled the scene of the attack:

    ‘we found the late Constable Finn lying on his back in the centre of the road quite dead    – both eyes were blown away and the lower part of his forehead- brain matter scattered on the road and a large pool of blood. About five years in advance...we found the late        Constable McCarthy in a sitting posture against the wall of the road and a bullet wound in his neck’.

    Download Source Irish Independent 10.Apri.1920

    IRA Ambush and kill 2 policement 10.April.1920 Irish Independent (1)

    Irish Independent Friday, April 09, 1920

  • IRA Roskeen Tipperary Attack 07.April.1920

    Irish Independent IRA Attack Roskeen 07.April.1920

    RIC Fend Off IRA Attack Roskeen Barracks 07.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.

    Not all IRA attacks on RIC barracks were successful and in many parts of the country, the police were learning from previous attacks and from communication with colleagues. At Roskeen, county Tipperary this was the case in early April 1920 when the IRA attacked this isolated barrack confident of victory. Located on a ‘lonely, open road’ seven miles from Thurles, the IRA arrived at Roskeen which numbered fourteen policemen and surrounded the building shortly after 10.30 pm on 7 April. Almost as soon as the attack commenced the RIC sent up vesey lights which could be seen for thirty miles around.  While managing to fend off the IRA attack, the RIC were confident that their message had been seen in the low lying countryside around. As with all IRA attacks of this nature telephone and telegraph wires had been cut preventing outside communication. Within a short space of time, police and military reinforcements had arrived and although firing a number of volleys at the military, the IRA attack was over and the assailants made their escape through a wooded area. The vesey light had been used by the RIC in a number of attacks but perhaps not with such effect as at Roskeen.

    Download Source: Irish Independent, 9 April 1920, page 6

    Twitter: #IRA attack on #Roskeen #RIC barrack near #Thurles #Tipperary is halted by use of ‘Vesey Lights’ & military reinforcements #Irishhistory #Irishwarofindependence

    Irish Independent Friday, April 09, 1920 Thumbnail (1)

    Irish Independent Friday, April 09, 1920

  • 100 Mountjoy Prisoners on Hunger Strike 05.April.1920

    Irish Examiner 05.April.1920 Hunger Strike 100 Mountjoy Prisoners on hunger strike 05.April.1920

    Above: Crowds outside Mountjoy Jail cheering news of the granting of political status to the 104 republican hunger-strikers within in April 1920. (New York Times) & history Ireland

    Prison Hunger Strike - Cork Examiner 05.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 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.

    In early April 1920 IRA prisoners, some held with a charge for over six weeks, began to formulate a plan to carry out a hunger strike in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin where they demanded prisoner of war status. ‘Great excitement’ reigned in Dublin on Monday night 5 April when it was learned that the hunger strike had commenced. The previous Thursday the prisoners, all held in one wing started to destroy all the furniture and fittings in the cells, and in a number of instances, the walls of cells were broken allowing prisoners to mix together. Although handcuffed it did not deter them from wreaking havoc on the building.  In total about 100 prisoners held under the Defence of the Realm Act commenced a hunger strike, refusing food.  Crowds of sympathisers have gathered outside the prison and have started to sing songs in an effort to help the prisoners during their hunger strike The hunger strike would last for two weeks as the crowds began to mass in huge numbers outside the prison. Led by members of Cummann a Mban an estimated crowd of 20,000 people gathered. A general labour strike commenced across the country before the British government was forced to back down and released the hunger strikers.

    Download Source: Irish Examiner, 7 April 1920; Page: 5;

    April 1920 Hunger strike 100 men mountjoy Cork Examiner

    Irish Examiner 05.April.1920 Hunger Strike

  • 100 Police Barracks Burned Evening Herald 05.April.1920 Irish War of Independence

    War of Independence - 100 Police Barracks Burned

    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.

    In what was a perfectly executed plan, involving IRA units all across the country, the IRA burned over 100 abandoned RIC barracks in rural areas and almost 100 income tax offices. The Evening Herald newspaper estimated that large parties of men must have been involved in this well coordinated plan across the country. A feature again was the cutting of telegraph wires, while explosives were used in many attacks. Many of the barracks had been abandoned by the RIC since the IRA campaign targeting them gathered pace from January 1920 onwards. In some cases where the wives and children of the RIC constables had been left behind as caretakers, the IRA help removed the occupants and their belongings. In some areas, such as in county Kildare, which until this point had witnessed a limited number of attacks on the military, the precision of IRA units was signalled out by the IRA’s GHQ.  On that night RIC barracks at Lumville, Donadea, Ballinadrimna, Clane, Ballitore, Kilteel, Carbury, Maynooth, Sallins, Castledermot, Ballymore-Eustace and Kill amongst others were burned in Kildare .On the same night income tax offices were also targeted and documents destroyed and burned. The IRA’s raison d’etre was now to make it impossible for British rule to continue in Ireland.

    Download Source: Evening Herald, 5 April 1920, page 1 ; See also Kerryman, 10 April 1920, page 1

    Kerryman 10.April.1920 Police barracks burned                                  Evening Herald 1920 April 05 - Police Barracks burned

  • IRA Storm Ward’s Hibernian Hotel Killing Sergeant George Neazor - 10.03.201920

    IRA stormed Wards Hibernian Hotel in the town and shot Sergeant George Neazor Neazer

    IRA Shot & Kill Sergeant George Neazor IN Rathkeale - 10.March.1920

    March was a month of terror in Ireland. It was a month when the IRA began to target the police, military and others in broad daylight as the frequency of barrack attacks gave way to ambush and assassination. It was also a month when the military began to strike back, while Dublin Castle upped the ante against Sinn Fein and their supporters. What else happened in Ireland in March 1920?

    If attacks on the police and military up until this point in the War of Independence took on a proscribed format, after an incident in Rathkeale, County Limerick on 10 March everything changed. On that evening a small unit of the local IRA stormed Ward’s Hibernian Hotel in the town and shot Sergeant George Neazor (Neazer) dead and injured his colleague, Constable Doyle. During the day, which was fair day in the town, Neazor and Doyle, who were in plainclothes, had accompanied a land steward, Michael O’Brien, from County Kerry to buy cattle for a farm which was boycotted.

    Having observed the two RIC men throughout the day, the IRA led by Sean Finn waited patiently until they could strike. Just after 9 o'clock the IRA entered the hotel and were shown to the room where Neazor and Doyle were dining. Sensing what was happening when the doors burst open Neazor fired his revolver but was fatally wounded; Doyle receiving wounds in the hip and wrist. Neazor was moved to a private house but was dead before medical assistance could be provided. Once more, the attack was widely condemned both in the locality and across the country. By the end of the month Neazor, who interestingly had been a witness in the trial of Sir Roger Casement, would be just one of many who had been killed as the war intensified.

    Download Source:   Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Friday, March 12, 1920 Freemans jounral 12 March 1920 George Neazor shot dead by ira

  • Constable Thomas Ryan killed by IRA Bomb RIC Barracks Hugginstown - 08.March.1920

    Constable Thomas Ryan killed by IRA Bomb hugginstown Kilkenny 08March 1920

    RIC Barracks Hugginstown Kilkenny Attacked by IRA, Constable Thomas Ryan killed.

    On 8 March 1920 the peaceful village of Hugginstown in County Kilkenny was shook when the IRA mounted a daring attack on the RIC barracks. One of the police in the barracks on that occasion, Constable Thomas Ryan was fatally wounded during the night. Although IRA attacks on the police barracks were by March 1920 commonplace, it appears that this attack took them by surprise. The police were startled at 11.30pm by the noise of gunfire and bombs thrown at the building. Constable Ryan rushed downstairs shouting at his colleagues ‘come on boys, we're under attack’. Constables Tighe and Conroy fired from the day room while Ryan raced upstairs with a box of bombs. The IRA then spotting Ryan in the upstairs room managed to throw a bomb of their own into the room. A few moments later the police heard Ryan moaning and crying stating that he was dying. Coming downstairs he was bleeding profusely and his arm had been completely shattered by the blast. His last words to his comrades were: ‘I am done. They got me through the window’.

    The IRA had, it seems, taken out the best trained of the police officers present. Ryan had undergone special training in throwing bombs and had received a certificate for such. After an intense period of firing the IRA retreated. When the police searched the area outside the barracks they found fifty to 100 bombs some of which had exploded and some were unexploded. They also found four bottles of petrol outside which were presumably brought to set fire to the building. The following day Ryan’s remains were brought for burial to Ballybricken, County Waterford. On the same day the authorities ordered that Hugginstown barracks was to be closed.

     The Irish Bulletin (1918-1921), Friday, March 12, 1920 reported that on the 10th  March 1920 police and army raided nearly 200 houses in the town of Hugginstown, County Kilkenny:

    Irish war bulletin 12 March 1920 raids

    Download Source: Irish Examiner, 11 March 1920, page 5 & The Irish Bulletin 12.March.1920

    Irish war bulletin 12 March 1920                                                       Cork Examiner 11 March 1920 Hugginstown RIC barracks attacked

  • Dublin Castle Raids Sinn Fein Banks - 08.March.1920

    Sinn Fein Banks Raided 08 March 1920

    Sinn Fein Banks Raided and Barricaded March 1920

    By March 1920 Dublin Castle, under pressure to control the growing support of Sinn Fein and prevent further outrages from occurring all across the country, set their sights on how the organisation was financed. Over the course of eleven days in early March that investigation became apparent and there were two raids on the Sinn Fein bank on Harcourt Street. There were also raids on other banking firms in an attempt to establish any connections to the Sinn Fein movement. In the second raid on the Sinn Fein bank, which had been established in 1908 by Arthur Griffith and others, the military and police proceeded to board up the windows and doors of the building with wooden planks. Money and documents were also seized during the raid. It has been estimated that perhaps as much as £20,000 was seized during the month of March, a huge blow to the republican movement. At the instruction of the Attorney-General, an inquiry was established, and all of the banking sector were forced to comply. The move came as a surprise to those employed in banking in Dublin. Significantly, the order which formalised the inquiry was signed by a man named Alan Bell, Resident Magistrate in Dublin. In doing so, Bell would not have to wait long for retribution from the IRA as will be discussed in a post later this month. This intense scrutiny on Sinn Fein's finances was a major setback to the movement and one which they struggled to overcome.

     

    Download Source: Irish Examiner, 8 March 1920, page 5. See also Irish Examiner, 10 March 1920, page 5.

    Cork Examiner 08 maRCH 1920 SINN FEIN BANKS RAIDED                                          Cork Examiner 10 MARCH 1920 SINN FEIN BANKS BARRICADED AND RAIDED

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Wednesday, March 10, 1920 page 5

    Irish Examiner 1841-current, Monday, March 08, 1920 page 5

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