January 1921


With British Government authorisation, the military governor in Cork, General Strickland, orders the burning of six houses in Midleton, Co Cork after the ambushes on the 29th December in which three policemen had been killed.  This is the first of Macready's 'Official reprisals'.  (Abbott says seven houses were destroyed by troops under the command of Brigadier-General Higginson.  Gallagher gives Strickland’s official statement which names the owners of the seven houses.  Gallagher also gives a series of official and unofficial reprisals over the next two weeks around the country.) 

Abbott (2000), pgs 168-169;  Townshend (1975), pg 149; Gallagher (1953), pg 271


One RIC man (Constable Michael Malone) and one civilian (Somerville) killed and three Auxiliaries wounded on the main street of Ballybay, Co Monaghan

Hopkinson (2002), pg 147; Abbott (2000), pgs 179-180


J. Lawlor from Ardfert, Co. Kerry dies as does D. Tobin from Ballinalackin, Co. Limerick.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 111 & 119


Ten policemen were attacked on Parnell Bridge, Cork City resulting in the deaths of two RIC men (Constable Thomas Johnson and Constable Francis Shortall), the wounding of four other policemen and the wounding of five civilians.

Abbott (2000), pg 180-181


Newmarket Battalion IRA, Cork No. 2 Brigade, under Sean Moylan, ambush British military at Meelin, Co Cork.  No casualties on either side.

O’Donoghue (1986), pg 129


George Murnaghan writes to Griffith asking for guidance on what line Sinn Féin in the north should take to the elections for the Northern Parliament due to take place in May.  Griffith writes a memo for his cabinet colleagues putting forward the two alternatives that Murnaghan put forward (1) contest the elections with the view of elected members joining Dáil or (2) boycott completely. 

Phoenix (1994), pg 107


In retaliation for previous day's ambush, British burn six houses in Meelin and kill an inoffensive youth called Morgan Sweeney.

O’Donoghue (1986), pg 130


Finbar Darcy, an ex-Alexian Brother, is shot dead in the Imperial Hotel, Cork during a raid by British forces.

O'Farrell P (1997), pg 25


Meeting at William Barry's, Ballylegan, Glanworth, Co Cork of IRA Brigade Officers from the three Cork Brigades, two Tipperary Brigades (Numbers 2 and 3) and the East Limerick Brigade. More Detail 

O’Donoghue (1986), pgs 149-153


Meeting between Llyod George and Fr O'Flannagan, Acting Vice-President of Sinn Féin (along with Lord Justice O'Connor)  -  Hopkinson claims that Llyod George's objective was to set up communications with de Valera.

Hopkinson (2002), pg 186


Chief Secretary (Greenwood) issues a direct order to his Under Secretary (Anderson) to release the editor and proprietor of the Freeman's Journal who had been sentenced to six months in prison for 'spreading a false report'.  The reaction of the British press forced the British Government to release him but Anderson had procrastinated on the order to release as he did not like it.

Townshend (1975), pgs 158-159


RIC District Inspector Thomas McGrath, who is leading a patrol at Kilshrewly, near Ballinalee searching for Sean MacEoin (V/C Longford Brigade IRA), knocks on a cottage door and is fired from inside.  Also, a bomb is thrown out.  He dies of a wound to the head and Sean MacEoin escapes.  (Hayes et al say it happened on Jan 9th.)

Abbott (2000), pgs 181-182; Hayes et al in The Kerryman (1955), pg 214; Hopkinson (2002), pg 142


M. McGrath from Polebery, Co. Waterford dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 112


P. Durr from Ballintubber, Co. Roscommon dies

O’Farrell (1997), pg 107


Collins replies to Griffith’s memo (see January 4th) on the Northern elections saying that the elections should be contested with those elected joining the Dáil.

Phoenix (1994), pgs 107-108


J. Doran from Camlough, Co. Armagh dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 106


A lorry with eight RIC men on board is ambushed at Cratloe, Co Clare resulting in the deaths of two policemen (Sgt Stephen Carty and Sgt Jeremiah Curtin).  The IRA ambush party of 20 men (plus scouts) is led by Michael Brennan.

Abbott (2000), pg 182; Brennan (1980), pgs 66-67


An RIC Special Constable (S/Constable Robert Compston) was shot after an ambush near Ballyfarnham Lodge, near Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh.  He was the first member of the newly formed Special Constabulary to lose his life in the line of duty.

Abbott (2000), pgs 182-183


De Valera writes a lengthy memo to Collins on the “Ulster Six Counties”. He said that he was also in favour of contesting the May election as long as Sinn Féin was sure of winning as least ten seats and requested an urgent analysis of electoral figures in the six counties. 

Phoenix (1994), pgs 108-109


RIC Sgt Thomas Kemp is walking up Market St., Armagh City when a bomb is thrown at him - he later dies from his wounds.

Abbott (2000), pg 183


William McGrath, KC (Counsel for Dublin Corporation) shot dead at 129 Altona Tce., North Circular road, Dublin.

O'Farrell P (1997), pg 63


Patrick Sloan and Joseph Tormey (from Moate, Co. Westmeath) internees in Ballykinlar Camp, are shot by a sentry called Murfitt. A military court of enquiry found that the killings were justified but also that Murfitt had contravened the regulations by opening fire.  (Sheehan say 17th)

O’Farrell (1997), pg 94 & 98; Sheehan (2017), pg 360


An extended search by the British Army in Church St/Capel St area of Dublin over the 15th to 17thNearly 700 troops were involved.  They cut off an area bounded by Church St., North King St, Capel St and the quays and conduct a house by house search. However, the search results in no significant arrests or arms finds.

Townshend (1975), pg 155


A second attack is made on Kilbrittain RIC Barracks in Co. Cork.  Again the IRA's explosive failed to ignite and they are forced to withdraw.  IRA attacking party led by Jackie O'Neill.

Deasy (1973), pgs 195-196


Collins replies to de Valera’s memo of the 13th Jan on the Northern Elections and calls for a vigorous policy on the North including getting county (Fermanagh & Tyrone); city (Derry); town and rural councils to give allegiance to the Dáil with a view to making partition unworkable over large areas of the north.   (Phoenix suggests that as early as this point, Collins was beginning to formulate an Ulster policy that would attempt, by reducing the partitioned area, to make the new state non-viable.)

Phoenix (1994), pg 110


The Irish Independent reports that the previous day in Ballina, Co. Mayo, Crown Forces arrested five prominent merchants and made them parade through the streets carrying the Union Jack with one trailing the Republican flag on the ground.  Before they were released they had to kneel and kiss the Union flag while at the same time the Republican flag was burned.  Two days later the Irish Independent carried a report that the merchants were not arrested but “were merely asked to come to the auxiliary headquarters, and that when desired to carry the Union Jacks through the town they did not object”.

O’Malley (1990), pgs 283-284


1,478 internees at this point.

Hopkinson (2002), pg 94


A policeman (Constable Robert Boyd) is shot dead in Mrs Moran's public house in Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary

Abbott (2000), pg 184


De Valera meets with Dr MacRory, RC Bishop of Down and Connor, to discuss the situation in the north.  He reports that the bishop thinks that “all … Nationalist parties will stand down in favour of Sinn Féin

Phoenix (1994), pg 111


Flying Column of the 3rd (West) Cork Brigade IRA re-assembles at Rossmore under Tom Barry.  (It had been demobilised on the 21st December.)

Deasy (1973), pgs 184 & 196


De Valera sends Collins long letter asking him to go to the States to carry out a number of tasks.  This proposal meets with a lot of opposition (except for Brugha and Stack) and is dropped.

Coogan (1990), pg 204


IRA ambush of police patrol in a Crossley tender at Glenwood, four miles from Sixmilebridge, Co Clare by the Flying Column of the East Clare Brigade led by Michael Brennan.  This ambush resulted in the deaths of six policemen.  More Detail 

Townshend (1975), pg 152; Abbott (2000), pgs 186-187; O'Kelly and Mulvey in The Kerryman (1955), pgs 142-150; Brennan (1980), pgs 68-70


RIC District Inspector Tobias O'Sullivan is shot dead 20 yards from the Police Barracks in Listowel, Co. Kerry by members of the 6th Battalion, Kerry No. 1 (North) Brigade.  (O'Sullivan had led the defence of Kilmallock RIC Barracks - see 28th May 1920 and had been sent to Listowel to restore RIC discipline in the aftermath of the ‘Listowel Mutiny’- see June 19th 1920.)  Later, on the basis of information, eight men were arrested and four of these were found guilty.  The information came from a  Miss Burke (who had to leave the country) and James Kane (see 11th June 1921).

Abbott (2000), pgs 184-186;  Regan (2007), pg


IRA (3rd Cork Brigade) execute ex-British soldier as spy at Mallowgaton near Laragh.  Shortly afterwards a farmer is tricked by the IRA into admitting he is a spy and he too is shot. 

Deasy (1973), pg 199


P. Donovan from Culnigh, Timoleague, Co. Cork and D. Hegarty from Clanflusk, Co. Cork die as does T. Lawless from Portlaoise.  Also, M. Magee from 20 Osman Pl., Arbour Hill, Dublin.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 106 & 109 & 111 & 113


At first Dáil Cabinet meeting since his return, De Valera demands large scale military activities and reduced level of terrorism but withdraws demand under pressure and gives full support to IRA (and says it is under government control).  Gallagher says that de Valera’s demand was to lead to the raid by the IRA on the Customs House (in May) and that an attack on the Auxiliary HQ in Beggars’ Bush was also considered.

Curran (1980), pg 46; Coogan (1990), pg 204; Gallagher (1953), pg 275


Two RIC men are ambushed near Waterfall, Co. Cork resulting in the death of one (Sgt Henry Bloxham) and the wounding of the other (Head Constable Larkin).

Abbott (2000), pg 187


IRA ambush on an RIC lorry at Drumcondra Bridge, Dublin is foiled when Auxiliaries arrive on the scene. Five IRA men are captured - four of whom are subsequent hung.  (Hopkinson says one IRA man dies but this seems unlikely.)  More Detail

Hopkinson (2002), pg 102; Carey (2001), pgs 98-99


Three off-duty policemen go for a walk near their barracks at Stranooden, Co. Monaghan.  They fail to return and two (Constable Robert Hegarty and Constable Frederick Taylor) are later found dead from bullet wounds.  The third (Constable Sibney Clarke) is found alive the following morning but he dies from his wounds nine days later.

Abbott (2000), pg 188


The Flying Column of the 3rd (West) Cork Brigade, under Tom Barry, entered Bandon in three sections in an attempt to attack both RIC barracks and the military barracks. Deasy says that the IRA lost one man (Dan O'Reilly of Kilbrittain.)

Deasy (1973), pgs 201-202


RC Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Gilmartin issues a letter saying that men who took part in an ambush "have broken the truce of God, they have incurred the guilt of murder"

O'Malley (2001), pg 97


A second IRA attack on Innishannon RIC Barracks fails when the explosives fail to ignite.

Deasy (1973), pgs 202-203


Writing in the London Daily News, Robert Lynd writes: “Various incidents have shown that the incitements of the Weekly Summary have had their natural result in making the Black-and-Tans feel towards their Irish ‘enemies’ as men feel towards wild beasts.”

Gallagher (1953), pg 295


In response to attacks on British Army vehicles in Dublin, the British start carrying IRA prisoners in their lorries while on patrol - however this practice is stopped on the 4th February.  Also, on this date, loitering on Dublin's streets is made an offence under ROIA which reduces IRA ability to mount prepared attacks.

Townshend (1975), pg 153


Three members of the RIC Reserve Force were shot in their beds in the Railway View Hotel, Townhall St., Belfast resulting in the deaths of two (Constable Thomas Heffron and Constable Michael Quinn) and the wounding of the third (Constable Gilmartin). Some hours later a Catholic (Michael McGarvey) is shot in his bed in Bray St.   More Detail

Abbott (2000), pgs 188-189; Parkinson (2004), pgs108-109; McDermott (2001), pg 71


A six-man RIC patrol was attacked on Haggard St, Trim, Co. Meath resulting in the death of one policeman (Constable Robert Barney).

Abbott (2000), pg 189;


T. Blake from Alphonsus Ave., Limerick dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 102


B. Browne from Fealsbridge, Co. Kerry dies

O’Farrell (1997), pg 103


The Flying Column of Newmarket Battalion, Cork No. 2 Brigade IRA, under Sean Moylan, and some East Kerry Volunteers ambushed seven RIC men travelling in two cars at Tureengarriff (or Toureengarriv), Co Kerry (2 miles west of Ballydesmond) resulting in the death of two RIC men.  More Detail

Abbott (2000), pgs 189-191;  O’Donoghue (1986), pg 130 & Glesson (1962), pg 92; Hopkinson (2002), pg 112 (who gives a date of 28th February);  Lynch in The Kerryman (1955), pg 150-154


Outside Dripsey, Co Cork, (at Godfrey's Cross on the road to Coachford), the 6th (Donoughmore) Battalion column of the Cork No. 1 Brigade IRA, are lying in ambush for an Auxiliary convoy when they are, in turn, ambushed by Crown Forces (from 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment).  Ten men are captured, six of whom are badly wounded.  More Detail  

Hart (1998), pg 308; Townshend (1975), pg 153; Sheehan (1990), pgs 90-124; O'Callaghan (1974), pgs 17-


Mrs King, wife of Capt W H King, RIC is killed during attempt to kill Capt King near Mallow Railway station.  In retaliation, British military and Black and Tans kill three railway men (Patrick Devitt, Daniel Mullane and Bennett).

O’Donoghue (1986), pg 133


The arms dump of the Mid-Limerick Brigade of the IRA discovered by RIC.

McCarthy in The Kerryman (1955), pg 154


In a raid at Clogheen near Cork City, the British find a large amount of IRA correspondence (from Cork No1 Brigade to/from battalion and from GHQ).  They also got a large haul of rifles, ammunition, explosives, etc.

O'Callaghan (1974), pg 50


Labour Commission to Ireland publishes its report.  It is very critical of British Government policy in Ireland especially of its security policy.  It stated that the Auxiliaries did not 'seem to recognize even the authority of Dublin Castle' and in creating the Black and Tans, the Government had 'liberated forces which it is not at present able to dominate.'

Townshend (1975), pg 159


An IRA man called Howett from Galway killed by the Igoe Gang after arrival at Broadstone Station, Dublin.  Another IRA man from Galway, Newell, wounded by the Igoe Gang in Greek St., Dublin in late January.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 109; Dalton (1929), pgs 130-131 & 135-136


The Dáil cabinet agrees on a northern policy which includes intensification of the Belfast Boycott (with Joe McGrath made Director of the campaign); dissemination of propaganda in the six counties area and creation of an election machine.   There is a detailed discussion on the effectiveness and repercussions of the Belfast Boycott in Parkinson.

Phoenix (1994), pg 111;  Parkinson (2004), pgs 73-82



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