Sinn Fein Hall and shops attacked - 01.March.1920

Sinn Fein Building Attacked 01 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?

The month of March 1920 commenced with the sensational news that the Sinn Fein hall in Thurles, County Tipperary had been attacked, and windows and doors broken in the process. In the early hours of the morning and under cover of darkness, twelve men were witnessed carrying large stones and wooden beams. They also broke windows in the adjacent business, which belonged to a man called McLoughney. The damage done to McLoughney’s windows roused the manager of the shop, a Mr O’Brien who despite the poor light thought that he would be able to identify the attackers having watched them make their way across the town square. Further damage was done during this rampage and included the 1798 monument suggesting a sinister motive for the attack. On other buildings, skulls and crossbones were painted on the walls. It was later alleged that the attack on the hall had been carried out by members of the military stationed in the town, resembling what became known as the ‘Sack of Thurles’ earlier that year in January when the military fired indiscriminately throughout the town. The IRA would take revenge for the damage done to the Sinn Fein hall and throughout the town in general when they shot dead a police officer three days later, which in turn prompted the military to retaliate on 7 March by wrecking more premises in Thurles. Thereafter, this process of reprisal from both sides would characterise how the War of Independence was played out.

Source: Freeman’s Journal, 1 March 1920, page 5

Freemans Journal 01 March 1920 page 1

Freemans Journal 01 March 1920 page 5