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Commemoration to mark Rineen Ambush

The Rineen memorial unveiling on September 22, 1957. Front row, from left to right: John Beakey, Corofin; Joe Connole, Ennistymon; Bob O’Neill, Miltown Malbay; Comdt Seamus Hennessy, Moy and Adjutant John Burke, Lahinch. Second row, from left to right: Comdt J J Neylon, Ballinacarra; Captain Thomas Burke, Ennis; Vice-Comdt Anthony Malone, Miltown Malbay; Captain E Lynch, Miltown Malbay; John McMahon, Miltown Malbay; Captain Pako Kerin, Glendine; F Mee, Ennistymon; M Reynolds, Ennis; P Devitt, Kilfenora; J Burke, Glendine; Timmy O’Connell, Moy; Martin O’Connor, Letterkelly and Michael Nestor, Ennistymon.
ON Sunday, September 26, the 90th anniversary of the Rineen Ambush will be marked with a programme of events in the locality. At 10.40am, the Irish Defence Forces will stage a guard of honour at St Mary’s Church in Moy, which will be inspected by Minister for Defence Tony Killeen at 10.55am.
A mass of remembrance will then take place, followed by a gathering at Rineen Monument. The crowd will be addressed by the chairperson of the Rineen Ambush Commemoration Committee and by the minister. Flowers will also be laid, while The Rineen Ambush will be sung and the National Anthem played. This will be followed by a commemorative lunch in the Armada Hotel, which will host an exhibition of War of Independence memorabilia.
On September 22, 1920, one of the most remarkable encounters of the War of Independence took place at Dromin Hill, Rineen. The purpose of the act was to get revenge for the murder of Martin Devitt, an Irish soldier who was shot dead in an ambush in February of that year in the locality. A secondary function was to get arms for the poorly equipped volunteers in the area.
Men from several battalions took part in the ambush. The companies in question were Ennistymon, Lahinch, Inagh, Moy, Glendline, Miltown Malbay and Letterkelly. Most of these, however, were unarmed because of the lack of ammunition. The entire lot of arms consisted of 60 rounds of ammunition, eight rifles, two bombs, two revolvers and 16 shotguns.
All the RIC men in the tender were killed. The RIC men killed were an RIC Sergeant (Michael Hynes), along with five other constables (Reginald Hardman, Michael Harte, John Hodnett, Michael Kelly and John Maguire).
The ambush was carried out by men from the 4th Battalion, Mid-Clare brigade led by Ignatius O’Neill, Battalion O/C and ex-soldier with the Irish Guards, British Army.
There were about 60 in the ambushing party but only nine had rifles. Among the men who took part were Seamus Hennessy, Peter Vaughan, Dan (Dave?) Kennelly, Steve Gallagher, Michael O’Dwyer, Michael Curtin, Pat Lehane, Sean Burke, Pake Lehane, Dan Lehane, Patso Kerin, Anthony Malone, John Joe Neylon, Owen Nestor, Tom Burke, Alphonsus O’Neill and Ned Hynes.
Thomas Moroney was in charge of the scouts, one of whom was John Clune, who cycled into Miltown Malbay to check when the tender would return. After the attack on the tender, the IRA had not fully withdrawn when the British military, consisting of about 150 soldiers, arrived on the scene. They were on their way to the site of the capture of RM Lendrum.
A running pursuit followed with no deaths on either side but O’Neill and Curtin were wounded.

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