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Members of the Glenwood Ambush Centenary Committee at the launch of a new book to commemorate East Clare IRA’s successful operation during the War of Independence. Front row l-r: John Lenihan, Patsy Neville, Noreen Ryan, Flan McCarthy, Mayor of Clare Cllr. PJ Ryan, Mick Ryan, Sean Lonergan, Úna McCarthy. (Back) John Lenihan, Patsy Neville, PJ McNamara, Dan McNamara, G11, Aggie McCarthy, Denis Lenihan, Paddy Carroll, Sean O’Driscoll and Pat Lonergan. Photography by Eugene McCafferty

Official launch of Glenwood Ambush Centenary Book

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THE Bunratty Manor hotel was the venue for the official launch of the 170-page Centenary Book of the ambush at Glenwood which took place on January 20, 1921. 

This launch, which had previously been deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, was performed by the Mayor of Clare, Councillor PJ Ryan. The Council chairperson was assisted by Mr Flan McCarthy and Mr Mick Ryan, who are joint presidents of the Glenwood Ambush Memorial Committee. 

The publication contains a number of different versions of what actually happened on ambush day in January 1921, and accounts of the later reprisals by the Black and Tans. There are some details too of a number of the participating volunteers, in as much as was possible for researchers to get the information.

These include Martin ‘Neighbour’ McNamara, Joe Clancy, Tom McGrath, Mattie McGrath, James Hogan, Paddy McCarthy, Jackie Ryan, Jimmy McInerney, Miko Neville, Dinny Minogue, Mick Moloney, Mick Shaughnessy, Tom McInerney, Michael Cleary, Peter St Ledger, Dan Lenihan, Joseph McNamara, Tadhg McGrath, Mick ODea, Paddy Quinn, Jack OGrady. Jack Egan, Jack Curley, Tom McMahon, John Joe McNamara, Jack Quinn and Michael Quinn. 

The book also includes a number of very informative and readable articles such as the Combatants in the War of Independence” by Michael McNamara;Cumann na mBan” by Ann Quinn; The Enduring Flames of Glenwood” by Tomás Mac Conmara; and The Glenwood ambush in Context” by Ciarán Ó Gríofa. It also contains the full version of the Military Witness Statement made by Joe Clancy to the Bureau of Military History in 1956. Joe joined the British Army at the tender age of 16, and within six weeks of his enlistment was serving in the trenches in France in the First World War. After being wounded on three occasions, Joe was declared medically unfit to serve in July 2018. Within a few weeks of his return to Kilkishen, he got involved in training local volunteers. 

The book would not be complete without the following: images of volunteers, where available; ambush song by Denis Donnellan and poem by Sean Crowe; images of items from the War of Independence; images from previous commemoration events such as the 90th anniversary of the ambush and the 1916 Centenary Commemorative event; as well as images of local Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) Barracks.

The committee expressed its thanks to Clare County Council for part funding the publication through the Decades of Centenaries initiative. It also extended its thanks to Clare Library for arranging to have copies of the book available in local libraries and schools. Copies of the commemorative publication (previously on sale last December/January) can be secured via postage by contacting Patsy Neville on 087-969415.

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 or telephone 065 6864146.

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