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Tag Archives: War of Independence

Clare remembers brutal Bloody Sunday killings

WHILE the eyes of the nation were on Croke Park this weekend, both for sporting action and commemoration events, ceremonies were also held in this county to mark the centenary of Bloody Sunday. The events of November 21, 1920, are etched deep in the history of the War of Independence. Newspaper accounts of the time used words like “massacre” and “slaughter” to describe the killing of 14 civilians, including three children, and the injuring of up to 80, at the football match between Tipperary and Dublin. The killings were a reprisal for the assassination of 12 British Army intelligence officers and two auxillaries, and were followed, that night, by the torture and murder of Peadar Clancy, Dick McKee and Conor Clune at Dublin Castle. The three had been arrested on suspicion of being part of Michael Collins’s notorious Squad, or of having information about the unit, and are understood to have endured hours of brutal torture. Both Clancy and Clune …

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Whitegate commemorates The Scariff Martyrs

WHITEGATE marked the legacy of the Scariff Martyrs on the 100th anniversary of their capture at Williamstown House on the shores of Lough Derg. A wreath was laid last Sunday at the house of Michael Egan, the caretaker of the stately home who, despite being tortured by British forces, steadfastly refused to give away the hiding place of Brud McMahon, Alphie Rodgers and Martin Gildea. The three has been on the run since an attack on the Scariff RIC Barracks that September and sought shelter at the secluded house. Another wreath was laid on the grounds of the house itself, which now stands in ruins, with short orations from local historian Tommy Holland and from Dr Tomás Mac Conmara. On Monday, the centenary of the martyr’s capture, the church bell rang out in Whitegate at 9.30am, the exact time the men were discovered and taken to Killaloe for questioning. Children from Lakyle National School were present for a socially-distanced ceremony …

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East Clare prepares to mark centenary of Glenwood Ambush

AS EVENTS in the War of Independence are commemorated across the country, communities in East Clare are preparing to mark the 100th anniversary of the Glenwood Ambush in the New Year. On January 20, 1921 at about 4pm, a motorised patrol of ten armed Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Black and Tans, travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, approached the back gate of Glenwood House. Waiting for them, concealed behind the walls of the Glenwood estate was a group of approximately 37 armed volunteers, from the East Clare Brigade of the IRA, led by Michael Brennan of Meelick. As the patrol passed by the gates, a fusillade of gunshots struck the patrol. Six RIC and Black and Tans were killed, two were injured and two escaped unhurt. One IRA volunteer was injured. The ambush party then withdrew through the forest and mountains to the East of Glenwood, towards the village of Oatfield. The surviving members of the patrol made their way …

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Rineen centenary: Plaque to mark ambush and reprisals

WHILE events to mark the centenary of the Rineen ambush and the subsequent reprisals have had to be scaled back due to Covid-19, a plaque in memory of those who died on that day will be unveiled at Flanagan’s bar in Lahinch on September 22. On September 22, 1920, following the killing of six RIC men at Rineen, the military arrived in Lahinch around 2.30pm, setting fire to businesses and homes, with the blaze at Flanagan’s bar claiming the life of Pakie Lehane. Brian J O’Higgin’s is the grandson of the Flanagan couple who operated the pub in 1920.“That pub was burned, the 19th pub was burned, it was O’Dwyers then. Vaughan’s Hotel, which is now the Atlantic Hotel was burned on that night. It would have been owned by Michael Vaughan’s grandfather,” he says. “They all lost their homes and they all had to go down to the golf sandhills as they were called, and live there for a …

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Rineen ambush centenary: Bodies transported through Ennis

A FRONT page report of the Clare Champion described the transport of the coffins containing the six dead policeman through the town of Ennis. It claimed that local businesses were told to close. “Early in the morning police went through the town, requiring the townspeople to close their housing during the passing of the funerals. As a result all places of business in the town were closed, and in the main thoroughfares nearly all the houses had their blinds drawn.” It said that the bodies were carried in three vehicles, while all of the coffins were wrapped in Union Jacks. The dead men were Constable Hodnett of Cork, Constable Hardman of London, Constable Keely of Roscommon, Constable Maguire of Mayo, Constable Harte of Sligo and Sergeant Hynes of Athlone.

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Rineen ambush centenary: Clare Champion contemporary report

THE first Clare Champion of the month of October 1920 contains fascinating reports of the Rineeen ambush and the actions of the State forces in the aftermath, as they caused devastation in the local area. A lengthy report opens stating that, “A special representative of The Clare Champion visited Ennistymon and Lahinch on Saturday to ascertain as far as possible the nature and extent of the reprisals carried out there, following the tragic and fatal attack on the police on Black Hill, in which six policemen were shot dead.” Describing the recent events as a “painful chapter in history”, it dealt with the ambush first. “All the police in the wagon were shot dead,and the body of one policeman was, it is stated riddled with bullets.” While it said that obtaining all the correct information about the reprisals was not easy, “what is known is quite sufficient to bring home to all concerned the terrible realities of the present situation …

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Plaque will remember site of The Feakle Ambush

AN AMBUSH in the village of Feakle in 1920 is to be commemorated with the unveiling of a plaque at the place where it happened. The ambush, which took place on October 7, almost 100 years ago, involved members of the Sixth Battalion of the East Clare Brigade of the IRA. The attack on six members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) led to the burning of a number of homes and business premises in Feakle by way of reprisal. Local historian and Chairperson of the Feakle Commemorative Group Pat Flynn has researched the event in detail, combing military archives and consulting secondary sources, and says the ambush is a significant incident in The War of Independence in Clare. “Tommo Tuohy was the man in charge of the ambush, having been deeply involved in the republican struggle, even as far back as 1916,” said Mr Flynn. “The East Clare Brigade were very strong and determined to make a stand for …

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Silent commemoration for Canada Cross attack victims

SILENT and sombre were the centenary commemoration of one of the bloodiest attacks on a Clare community during the War of Independence. Unfortunately, due to the Covid 19 crisis, plans for the Canada Cross, Miltown Malbay commemoration, as part of Clare’s Decade of Centenaries, scheduled for Saturday, April 18, were put on hold. The community was to honour Patrick Hennessy, John O’Loughlin and Thomas O’Leary, who lost their lives at Canada Cross on April 14, 1920. Instead, the victims were remembered in the hearts and prayers of their descendants and the wider community in their homes. Reflecting on the attack at the time, Dr Michael Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, said, “My poor people they have made a Calvary of your little square, but what was meant for a massacre has become a consecration.” The families of the dead and wounded in the attack, the Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee and St Joseph’s GAA Club had organised a programme that will …

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