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A salute to those killed at the Glenwood Ambush in 1921 during the ambush memorial re-enactment in Kilkishen at the 90th anniversary in 2011.

Clare Ambush commemoration publication seeks new material

A SECOND commemorative plaque has been installed at the site of the Glenwood Ambush in East Clare, remembering those who risked their lives by sheltering and feeding IRA volunteers on the run at the time. A new commemorative booklet is also being planned, with the Glenwood Memorial Committee appealing to the public to get in touch if they have details they would like included.

Six RIC members were killed when a Flying Column from the East Clare Brigade attacked their lorry at Glenwood on January 20, 1921.

The attack led to a series of reprisals and attacks on residents across the south-east of the county as the War of Independence raged. A scaled back commemoration event took place in January to mark the centenary and work to remember the anniversary continues.

“Since then we have mounted a second plaque which was sculptured by our great friend Michael McTigue as part of the 100th year commemoration of the ambush at Glenwood,” said Patsy Neville, Chairperson of the Memorial Committee. “As against the 90th anniversary plaque, which mostly commemorated the volunteers that participated in the ambush, this latest plaque celebrates the work of all those people who risked their lives in the sheltering and feeding of the volunteers on the run. It’s named the Safe House which adequately portrays the culture of the local people in their support of the volunteers in their fight for Irish freedom.”

Mr Neville also outlined how an upgraded commemorative publication is planned and said the committee is now urgently looking for material.

“This will be a 100th Anniversary Commemoration Booklet which is being partly financed by the Decade of Centenaries in conjunction with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media,” he said. “This publication must go to print in early September to meet funding conditions. We are now requesting people to submit material for this publication. This can be a hand me down story about events leading up to the ambush, the ambush itself, participants in the ambush and the later hardships related to the reprisals by the Black and Tans. Following from our previous publication back in 2011 we have had people telling us of people who participated in the ambush but did not get a mention. Now is your chance to right to what you perceive was a wrong by supplying some evidence of the participation of a particular person.”

Mr Neville added that the best account of the ambush is from an article in The Kerryman by Donal O’Reilly and George Mulvey. The piece, published in the mid-1950s, provides details of those involved in the attack.

“At the appointed hour thirty-seven men reported for duty at Belvoir Cross,” it outlined. “They included the Brigade OC Austin Brennan, and Tom McGrath Vice-Commandant. Command of the action was however in the hands of Michael Brennan the OC of the Active Service Unit, and for the occasion the Brigade Staff officers acted as section leaders under his orders. The remaining personnel were as follows:

First Battalion: Jack Grady, Danny O’Brien and Jack Curley, all of Quin

Second Battalion: Mick Hehir, Jack McCormack, Clonlara, Martin Naughton Oatfield, and Seamus Hogan of Galway who was temporarily attached to the East Clare Brigade at the time.

Third Battalion: Jackie Ryan

Fourth Battalion: Michael Clery and Tom McInerney of Mountshannon, and Dinny Minogue of Scariff

Fifth Battalion: Joe Clancy, Martin McNamara, Mick Neville and Jimmy McInerney of Kilkishen, Jack Egan (Intelligence Officer) of Pullough, Pat (Tadhg) McGrath, Dan Lenehan, Peter St Ledger, Michael Shaughnessy, Mick Moloney O’Callaghan’s Mills, Michael O’Dea, Paddy Quinn, Paddy Hanrahan and Paddy McCarthy of Tulla, Joe McNamara and Paddy Cox of Bodyke.

Sixth Battalion: Matty McGrath, Joe Tuohy, Joe Rochford, Joe Nugent, Mick O’Brien, Matty Moloney and Mick Tuohy all of Feakle.

Something less than half the Column were armed with rifles; the remainder, except for the scouts who were unarmed, were equipped with revolvers and shotguns. Dan Lenehan carried a Mills grenade.”

Mr Neville noted that the participants detailed in the article were listed in a commemorative publication in 2011. “We have had no further evidence since then of other participants,” he said. “However, we will publish additional names in this latest publication stating that the additional names now provided here are mentioned as having participated. We feel that this is the fairest way of the dealing with it at this particular time. Please now urgently provide further material including photographs for inclusion in the publication.”

Details can be sent by email to nevillepf11@gmail.com. All articles provided will be credited to the person who supplied them.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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