April 1920


Jameson (who real name is James Byrnes from Newcastle West in Limerick) shot as a spy by two members of the Squad, Paddy O’Daly and Joe Dowling, near Albert College, Glasnevin, Dublin.  A trap had been laid for him by telling him that Collins had a store of documents in a house in Iona Drive, Glasnevin.  When the house was raided he was rumbled.  See also January 21st above.

Abbott (2000), pg 54-55; Gallagher (1953), pg 241; Putkowski (1994), no pgs given; Abbott (2019), pgs 65-68


First battalion of the Manchester Regiment arrive in Cork under Lt Col Gareth Evans billeted in Fermoy and Kilworth.

Sheehan (1990), pg 67


IRA burns more than 300 evacuated RIC barracks and almost 100 income tax offices in commemoration of the Easter Rising. 

Abbott says that approximately 150 barracks were destroyed on the night of 5/6 April and, between 1st January 1919 and 30th June 1920, 351 unoccupied barracks were destroyed and a further 105 damaged.) 

(Abbott also notes that, at the beginning of 1919, the RIC had 1,299 barracks – including 51 ‘huts’ and 24 protection posts - but this was reduced to 865 by the beginning of 1921.) 

McDermott gives details of Belfast raids on 5th April. 

McCarthy gives names of unoccupied barracks in Waterford destroyed.

Coleman notes that all unoccupied barracks in Longford were destroyed along with three more which were evacuated the following month.

McCluskey notes that only four were destroyed in Tyrone along with one more on 1st May. 

Ó Ruairc details the barracks destroyed in Clare – at least 10. 

Price mentions two (Deergrove and Cloontumper) that were destroyed in Mayo and, subsequently, at least nine more are burnt out.

Walsh lists 23 barracks that they destroyed on this night or subsequently in Kilkenny.  In addition, two courthouses were burnt down in Kilkenny and two income offices had their records burnt. 

Durney lists 14 barracks which were attacked in Co. Kildare and says that six courthouses were also burnt.

Hall lists 7 barracks that were burnt in Louth before the end of May and that the tax office in Dundalk was burnt on the 14th April.

Ó Duibhir lists 15 barracks in Donegal which were destroyed along with two customs and excise offices.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this nationwide operation is that the little information about it would seem to have got into the hands of the Crown Forces before it happened.

Hopkinson (2002), pg 56; Abbott (2000), pgs 55-56; Dalton (199), pgs 68-72; McDermott (2001), pg 28; McCarthy (2015), pg 67; Coleman (2003), pg 119; McCluskey (2014), pg 90; Ó Ruairc (2009), pg 129; Price (2012), pg 71 & 94; Walsh (2018); pg 66; Durney (2013), pgs 95-96; Hall (2019), pg 70; Ó Duibhir (2009), pgs 130-131; Abbott (2019), pgs 69-71


Hamar Greenwood (Canadian Coalition Lib) appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland replacing Ian Macpherson

Curran J M (1980), pg32; 


Start of hunger strike in Mountjoy Jail by IRA prisoners led by Peadar Clancy demanding prisoner of war status. 

(Gallagher was a prisoner in Mountjoy at the time and one of the leaders.  Considerable detail is given by Gallagher of the hunger strike from the inside.)


Curran J M (1980), pg36 & Hopkinson (2002) pg xiv & pg 37; Macardle (1999), pg 344; Gallagher (1953), pgs 161-163; Townshend (2014), pgs 142-143


Patrick Cloonan from Maree, Co. Galway dies.

But see April 6th 1921.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 104; Henry (2012), pg 115


Large cattle drives take place in south Mayo carried out by men looking for local estates to be sold and divided up among local people.  Other cattle drives occurred around Ballyhaunis, Hollymount and Ballindine later in the month

Price (2012), pgs 69-70


Two RIC men (Constables William Finn and Daniel McCarthy) shot dead in an ambush at Lackamore Woods between Rearcross and Newport, Co Tipperary.  Part of the reprisals for these killings were attacks on eight creameries in the surrounding areas.  (A total of 48 creameries were attacked by Crown Forces, with varying level of destruction,  during the War of Independence.)

Coogan (1990), pg 139;  Abbott (2000), pg 68; Hart (1998), pg 76; Leeson (2012), pg 138 & 156; Breathnach (2017), pg 556


Under a front page headline ‘Western Land Hunger’, the Mayoman reported that “the fight for the grazing land is developing all over South Mayo, Galway and South Roscommon. Cattle drives were occurring in many areas”.

Price (2012), pg 69


Five prisoners in Galway Jail go on hunger strike.  A general strike is organised in the city.  The prisoners are released after ten days.

Henry (2012), pgs 60-63


Large demonstrations in Dublin in support of jailed IRA hunger strikers (some convicted under DORA and some untried).  Thousands of keening women gather outside Mountjoy Jail. 

Townshend (1975), pg 76; Townshend (2014), pg 143


Call from General Strike to support the hunger strikers signed by Thomas Farren (Chairman, National Executive of Trade Unions) and Thomas Johnson (Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions)

O’Farrell (1997), pgs 33 & 48; Macardle (1999), pg 344


One-day strike throughout Dublin in support of the hunger strikers.  The Britsh flew aircraft over the streets of Dublin to buzz the crowd with one flying below the eaves of the houses.  Even the use of Lewis machine guns from the air seems to have been considered.

A nationalist MP tells the House of Commons in London that the Thomas Ashe’s death on hunger strike was the reason that “we have seven representatives here today rather than seventy-seven”.

Townshend (1975), pg 76; Townshend (2014), pg 143


IRA prisoners released.  Originally, it was intended only to parole unconvicted prisoners but, due to a mix-up, all 90 hunger-striking prisoners were released of whom 31 were convicted prisoners.   There was huge consternation within the RIC after the release of the prisoners.  As Townshend notes “The error delivered a dramatic republican victory and a correspondingly staggering blow to the forces of order (sic)”.


Later in the evening, a joint RIC and military (Highland Light Infantry) party, led by RIC Sgt Hampson, shoot at crowd celebrating release of prisoners in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare killing three (John O'Loughlin, Thomas O'Leary and Patrick Hennessy) and wounding nine.  O’Loughln was a member of the Irish Volunteers but O’Leary and Hennessy were not.  See May 7th. 

There are also riots in Derry when the released prisoners arrive back in the city. 

Townshend (1975), pg 76; Hopkinson (2002), pg 36; O'Malley (2001), pgs 84-85; O'Kelly and Mulvey in The Kerryman (1955), pg 148 & Coogan (1990), pg 139; Gallagher (1953), pgs 162-193; Regan (2007), pg 141; Ó Ruairc (2009), pgs 131-132 & 328; Grant (2018), pg 95; Townshend (2014), pg 144


Detective Constable Henry Kells, DMP is shot dead at the corner of Upr Camden St and Pleasants St, Dublin by Paddy O’Daly, commander of the Squad.  He had earlier engaged in trying to identify the leaders among IRA prisoners in Mountjoy who were on hunger strike.   (The day before Collins had sent a message to Peadar Clancy, who was in Mountjoy, saying “I am going to Kells to-morrow.”)

Abbott (2000), pg 69; Gallagher (1953), pg 159


RIC Sgt Patrick Finnerty is shot in Clonard St, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin when accompanying a group of people coming back from an illegal assembly.  He died two days later in the Mater Hospital.

Abbott (2000), pg 69-70


Constable Patrick Foley, who is on leave in Annascual, Co. Kerry, is abducted after leaving Moriaty's Hotel.  His body is found two days later in a creamery yard in Deelis, Co. Kerry. Foley had given the local RIC information on IRA men in the area (including his brother).  The RIC District Inspector informed the local IRA that he had done this so he was seized and court martialled.  He was subsequently shot 24 times. (Abbott gives the date of his abduction as the 21st April in the 2019 edition of his book.)

Abbott (2000), pgs 70-71; O’Callaghan (2017), pg 552; Abbott (2019), pg 90


RIC Sergeant Patrick Lavin commits suicide when in his room in the RIC Depot in Dublin.

Abbott (2019), pgs 408-409


Thomas Mulholland, QM of IRA C company, Dundalk of John St., Dundalk is killed by RIC Sgt Joseph Bustard during an attempt by party of eight IRA men (led by Patrick Culhane) to disarm a three-man RIC patrol.  At his inquest, Sgt Bustard said that he shot as he feared for his own life but the jury still brought the finding that there was no justification for his shooting. 

At Mullholland’s funeral on the 18th, Culhane is badly beaten. He is to receive another beaten from Crown forces in May after which his health fails.  He will die on the 19th September 1920.

On this night, a two man RIC patrol is relieved of their weapons by six IRA men at Seatown, Dundalk without any casualties on either side.

Gallagher (1953), pg 200; O’Farrell (1997), pg 114; Hall (2019), pg 70


RIC Constable Harry Moscrop commits suicide.

Abbott (2019), pg 410


Constable Martin Clifford, who was on home leave in Derinaden, Co Kerry, was ambushed and killed at Bradley's Cross, Dromod between Waterville and Derinaden. (Possibly a retired RIC man.)

Abbott (2000), pg 71; Abbott (2019), pg 88


Widespread riots in Derry when six prisoners are removed from Derry Jail to Wormwood Scrubs in England.  A number of serious injuries (and many minor injuries) but no fatalities. Catholic clergy intervene to calm the situation.

Gallagher (2003), pg 21;  Grant (2018), pg 96; Townshend (2014), pg 173


Bouladuff, Co. Tipperary shot up by police.

Macardle (1999), pg 353


Lord French writes to Bonar Law (Lord Privy Seal) asking for a complete review of the Castle Administration.  Bonar Law (who was acting for Lloyd George while the latter was at the Peace Conference in Versailles) agreed to set up an investigating committee under Sir Warren Fisher.

See May 12th.

Townshend (1975), pg 78


The IRA attacks a number of RIC men leaving a church in Kilmihill, Co. Clare.  One IRA man (John Breen) and one RIC (Sgt Patrick J Carroll) are killed.  Another RIC man (Constable Collins) is wounded.  Abbott says that a number of IRA men are wounded but Ó Ruairc does not mention any being wounded.

Abbott (2000), pgs 71-72; Ó Ruairc (2009), pg 134-135


The local IRA company from Ballysteen, Co. Limerick conduct a raid for arms on the house of Peter Switzer, a member of the Church of Ireland.  Switzer fires on the raiders and mortally wounds Lieutenant Dan Neville.  The O/C of the West Limerick Brigade, Sean Finn, reports to GHQ but Mulcahy orders that no reprisal is to be taken.  See 19th September 1920 and 10th January 1922.

O’Callaghan (2018), pg 116-117


P. Fogarty from Clontarf, Dublin dies.

O'Farrell P (1997), pg 108


The coroner’s inquest in Cork brings in a verdict that Tomas MacCurtain was murdered and that “the murder was organised and carried out by the R.I.C. officially directed by the British Government; and we return a verdict of wilful murder against David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England; Lord French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Ian Macpherson, late Chief Secretary for Ireland; Acting Inspector General Smith of the R.I.C.; Divisional Inspector Clayton of the R.I.C.; District Inspector Swanzy, and some unknown members of the R.I.C.”   See August 22nd.

Gallagher (1953), pgs 199-200; Lawlor (2009) pg 34


Detective Constable Laurence Dalton, 'G' Division, DMP is shot dead in Mountjoy St, Dublin near St. Mary's Place (or Avenue?).  

Abbott (2000), pg 72; Abbott (2019), pgs 89-90


Hunger strike starts among IRA prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs resulting in the release of some 200 internees in May.

Macardle (1999), pg 345; Murphy W (2017), pg 442


Private Thomas Sibthorpe of the Royal Highland Light Infantry dies in the British Army barracks in Ennis, Co. Clare.  The inquest returns a verdict of death by suicide but he could have been killed by his fellow soldiers.

Ó Ruairc (2009), pg 133


Constable  Michael McCarthy of the DMP is shot dead when on home leave and working in a field on his brother's farm at Lackenalooha, near Clonakilty, Co. Cork.

Abbott (2000), pg 73


Writing to Walter Long (or John Anderson), General Macready (GOC-in-C, British Army in Ireland) says “as regards the RIC, we are sitting on a volcano” and continued “if they were turned into an ordinary unarmed police force, they would fulfil their functions in time of peace a good deal better than at present”. 

Townshend (2014), pg 155


RIC Detective Swanton is shot at by the IRA in Ennis, Co. Clare.  He is wounded but survives and resumes his work.

Ó Ruairc (2009), pgs 135-136


Liam Lynch goes to the Milstreet area of Co. Cork and sets up an investigation into the robbery of two back officials the previous November (see November 17th 1919).  Eight men are arrested and seven confess to be involved.  £10,000 is recovered and the seven are sentenced to various lengths of deportation or exile within Ireland. 

Townshend (2014), pg 132


A three-man RIC patrol is ambushed at Ballinspittal, Co. Cork by IRA men from the local battalion of the 3rd (West) Cork Brigade led by Jim O'Mahoney (Adj Bandon Bat).  Two RIC men are killed (Sgt Cornelius Crean and Constable Patrick McGoldrick).  Sgt Crean's brother (Tom Crean) was a member of Shackleton voyage to the South Pole in 1909.  (Deasy places this ambush at Highfort on the Innishannon to Upton road.)

Abbott (2000), pg 73; Deasy (1973), pg 106


Private F. Quinn of the Royal Welch Fusiliers is killed in Limerick.

General Staff, 6th Division (1921), pg 3


Kilcommon, Co. Tipperary partially wrecked by police.

Macardle (1999), pg 353


East Limerick Brigade, IRA attacks and capture Ballylanders RIC barracks, Co Limerick led by Vice-OC Thomas Malone (Sean Forde).  More Detail 

Abbott (2000), pg 79; Breen (1989), pg 106; O'Daly in The Kerryman (1955), pgs 51-55; O’Callaghan (2018), pg 79


In retaliation for Ballylanders attack, Black and Tans go on rampage in Limerick city. (Macardle says 27th)

O'Farrell P (1997), pg xvi; Macardle (1999), pg 353


British soldiers from the Royal Horse Artillery in Kildare town sell the local IRA 17 revolvers and 723 rounds of ammunition.

Durney (2013), pg 91


During an attack on an RIC barracks in Rush, Co. Dublin, an RIC sergeant (John Brady) is wounded and dies 10 days later.

Abbott (2000), pg 74


J. Byrne from Gracefield, Ballylynan, Co. Laois dies

O’Farrell (1997), pg 103


Forbes Paterson, (the Presbyterian editor of Red Hand which was a Sinn Féin journal founded by FJ Bigger in 1920) writes a report on the political situation in north-east Ulster.   In it he suggests the founding of a paper which aims to bind Labour to Sinn Féin – he also warns of the arming of unionists which is setting the stage for a pogrom against Catholics.  (Diarmaid O’Hegarty does not think much of the idea of setting up a paper and says so to Collins.)

Gallagher (2003), pgs 23-24


Art O’Connor takes over from Robert Barton as Minister of Agriculture in the Dáil Cabinet

Townshend (2014), pg 127


Nearly £150,000 raised for the Dáil Loan.  See June 29th.

Townshend (2014), pg 92


Michael O'Callaghen (QM, Bantry Bat, Cork No. 3 Brigade IRA) discovers 4,000 detonators left behind by an RIC escort at Drimoleague Junction.

Deasy (1973) pg 107


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