March 1920


Thurles wrecked by British troops and again on March 7th.


Macardle (1999), pg 353


A command is issued by Dublin Castle to ten bank managers in Dublin to appear before a commission enquiring into the whereabouts of the Dáil Loan money. The command, personally delivered to each manager by a member of the DMP, was signed by Resident Magistrate Alan Bell.  The commission was a ‘Star Chamber’ – see Dec-30-19/1.

More Detail

See Mar-26-20/1.


Macardle (1999), pg 332; O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pgs 124-140 & 146


RIC Constable James Nixon dies from rifle wounds.  It is not known how he received the wounds.


Abbott (2000), pg 319; Abbott (2019), pg 411


John Jameson (who real name is James Byrnes or John Charles Byrne) was shot as a spy by members of the Squad near Albert College, Glasnevin, Dublin. 

More Detail



Abbott (2000), pg 54-55; Gallagher (1953), pg 241; Putkowski (1994), no pgs given; Abbott (2019), pgs 65-68; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 123; Molyneux and Kelly (2020), pgs 187-189;  McMahon (2008), pg 31


Landowner Capt Frank Shawe Taylor of Moorpark, Athenry, Co Galway is shot in a land seizure attempt. There had been a long standing dispute between the landowner and his tenants. He was shot at point blank range as he stopped his car in front of a felled tree.

Gallagher (1953), pg 201; McNamara (2018), pgs 26 & 172; Henry (2012), pgs 53-55; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 123


William O’Brien, founder of the United Irish League, member of Dublin Corporation and Secretary to the Irish Labour Party, is arrested by Crown Forces and interned without trial in England.


O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pg 122


Dublin Castle begins issuing the Summary of Weekly Reports in which it detailed attacks against Crown Forces committed by the IRA.

Erskine Childers later commented that “These Summaries became the laughing stock and the scandal of Ireland, though they probably served their purpose as defamatory propaganda against her for the consumption of the outside world”.

See Aug-13-20/2.


Mitchell (1995), pg 212


RIC Constable John Heanue is shot and mortally wounded in the village of Bouladuff (Ragg), near Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Heanue and another constable were in a public house/grocer’s shop in the village when, according to Henry, they were confronted by three men who ordered them to put their hands up. 

Instead of surrendering, the constables drew their guns with Heanue jumping over the counter.  A gunfight ensued with Constable Heanue being mortally wounded.  (O’Halpin and Ó Corráin have a slightly different account.  They do not mention if the two constables were asked to put their hands up before being fired on.  They also do not mention if the two constables drew their guns.)

The three assailants got away.  They were Jim Stapleton, Paddy O’Brien and Jim Larkin of the Tipperary No. 2 Brigade. 

See Mar-30-20/1 and Mar-30-20/4.


Abbott (2000), pg 62; Henry (2012), pg 37; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 124; Kautt (2014), pg 49


Martin Cullinane, a small farmer from Ardskamore, Corofin, Co. Galway, is killed when armed men raid the home of a neighbour which he was visiting looking for a shotgun they believed was in the house.  (While none of the three sources explicitly state it, this was most probably a raid by a number of very nervous IRA men.)


McNamara (2018), pg 172-173; Henry (2012), pgs 46-48; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 123-124


Six members of the Bandon Battalion of the IRA in Co. Cork arrested in the aftermath of the two attacks on the RIC barracks a week earlier.


Deasy (1973), pgs 98-99


Unsuccessful attack by IRA on Doon RIC barracks, Co. Limerick.

O’Callaghan (2018), pg 79; Corbett (2008), pg 58


Collins issues a circular to all Sinn Féin officers urging greater effort in collecting money for the Dáil Loan.  He says that £98,124 had been received so far in head office – well short of the target.

More Detail


O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pgs 71-74 & 117-118


During an attack by the IRA on the RIC barracks at Hugginstown, Co. Kilkenny, Constable Thomas Ryan is critically wounded and dies two days later. 

Attack is led by Thomas Tracey, O/C Kilkenny Brigade, and the attacking party comprised about 35 men.  Joe McMahon climbed on the roof, broke slates and dropped grenades into the barracks.  After about 45 minutes, the RIC surrendered.  The IRA captured six rifles, two revolvers and some ammunition.   Walsh comments “The Kilkenny Brigade IRA would not have such an uncomplicated success again”.

Constable Ryan left a pregnant wife and five children. (After a lengthy struggle, Mrs Ryan was awarded £4,500 in compensation.) 


Abbott (2000), pg 62; Walsh (2018); pgs 62-65; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 124


IRA Chief of Staff, Richard Mulcahy, sends a memo to the O/C of the Galway Brigade about a threatening letter which had been sent to a medical doctor for treating an Auxiliary.  In the memo, Mulcahy says “As far as Hospital and Hospital Staffs are concerned they must be regarded as common Institutions ministering to all” and that the doctor should be “given assurance that the warning is a bogus one as far as you are concerned”.


Hughes (2016), pg 32


According to Abbott, six men were charged at their trial in Armagh with the murder of two RIC men during the rescue of Sean Hogan at Knocklong on May 13th 1919 - see May-13-19/1.  Abbot says that three are found guilty on this day and two of them (Edmund Foley and Paddy Maher) are subsequently hung on June 7th 1921 – see Jun-07-21/1 – with the third (Michael Murphy) being released after the Truce. 

According to Carey, after the men were arrested in September 1919, they were tried two times in Limerick but the juries could not agree on a verdict.  Then the case was moved to Armagh but the trial had to be postponed after one of the key witnesses (RIC Sgt Reilly who had been at Knocklong) was kidnapped.  The men were then moved to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin and, after legal wrangling, their cases were handed over to the British Army who court martialled the men.  This court martial started in City Hall in Dublin March 15th - see Mar-15-21/3.


Abbott (2000), pg 39; Abbott (2019), pg 48; Carey (2001), pgs 160-162


RIC Sgt George Neazer, Constable Garret Doyle and land steward Michael O'Brien were in the dining room of Ward's Hotel in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick when they are attacked by members of the Rathkeale company of the IRA (4th Battalion, West Limerick Brigade) led by Sean Finn.  Sgt Neazer is killed and Constable O’Brien is badly wounded. 

Sean Hogan (veteran of Soloheadbeg and Knocklong) is among the attackers.


Abbott (2000), pg 63; Hopkinson (2002), pg 123; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 124; Kautt (2014), pg 49


RIC District Inspector McDonagh and Sergeant Ferris are shot at as they walked along Southern Road in Cork City. 

DI McDonagh is wounded and an innocent passer-by is seriously wounded. The attack is carried out by Florrie O’Donnoghue and Tom Crofts.  They were looking for ‘political’ RIC men.  There are reprisals that night as the RIC go on a rampage - destroying of the houses of Sinn Féin supporters and assaulting their inhabitants. No disciplinary action is taken against the RIC men.


Lawlor (2009) pg 25; Hart (1998), pg 77


The Ulster Unionist Council, with Edward Carson presiding, decides to accept the proposals that partition should be based on six counties rather than the nine counties of Ulster (accepting Craig’s argument against the creation of potentially unstable and ‘ungovernable’ state if the new state took in the nine counties of Ulster). 

More Detail

Phoenix (1994), pg 80; Dooley (2000), pg 40; Dooley (2017), pg 98; McCluskey (2014), pg 88; Fanning (2013), pg 219; Matthews (2004), pg 19


An RIC patrol is ambushed as they are returning to their barracks in Glanmire, Co. Cork.  Constable Timothy Scully is shot dead.

See Mar-12-20/1

Abbott (2000), pg 63; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 124; Cork Fatality Register


Royal Navy seaman James Bruce accidently drowns in Cobh, Co. Cork.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 124-125; Cork Fatality Register


Many houses in Cork City wrecked in reprisal for killing of Constable Scully the previous day.


Macardle (1999), pg 353


Ballybunnion RIC barracks in Co. Kerry attacked by about 50 IRA men led by Jim Sugrue.  They fail to take the barracks.


Horgan (2018) , pg 125


The IRA raid the Great Northern Railway Yard near Amiens St in Dublin and make off with a haul of gelignite.


Molyneux and Kelly (2020), pgs 191-193


Cornelius Kelly, the caretaker of the courthouse in Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry, is shot dead when he is slow to hand over the keys to a shed where six bicycles belonging to the RIC are stored.

Doyle (2008), pg 37; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 125; Kautt (2014), pg 50


Two RIC men, Constable Charles Healy and Constable James Rocke, are killed as the leave the evening devotions at their local church on St Patrick's Day in Toomevara, Co. Tipperary. 

This is the first time that RIC men were shot as they left a church.

The attackers were IRA men John Hackett and Paddy Whelehan.


Abbott (2000), pgs 63-64; Dooley (2015), pg 50; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 125; Kautt (2014), pg 50


U.S. Senate includes a reservation to the Versailles Peace Treaty by 45 votes to 38 declaring “The United States adheres to the principle of self-determination and to the resolution of sympathy with the aspiration of the Irish people for a Government of their own choice adopted by the Senate, 6th June, 1919 and declares that when such Government is attained by Ireland - a consummation it is hoped is at hand - it should promptly be admitted as a member of the League of Nations”. 

However, a few weeks later U.S. Senate failed to ratify the Versailles Treaty.


Macardle (1999), pg 366-367; Gallagher (1953), pg 256; Mitchell (1995), pg 196


RIC Constable Joseph Murtagh is shot and killed at 11.00pm on Pope's Quay, Cork by two IRA men. 

Lawlor says that the two IRA men were Christy MacSweeney and J.J. O’Connell.  O’Halpin and Ó Corráin say that the name of the first was Christy MacSwiney.

Some hours later (on the morning of March 20th) Tomás MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork and Commandant of Cork No. 1 Brigade, IRA, is shot dead in his Blackpool home by a group of men who were widely believed to be members of the RIC.

His wife and five children (aged between ten months and ten years) were in their home at the time of his killing.   (MacCurtain had received a death threat four days earlier written on stolen Dáil notepaper.) 

See Apr-20-20/1 for the result of the inquest.

Among those suspected of involvement in the killing of MacCurtain was RIC District-Inspector Swanzy - see Aug-22 to Sep-01-20/1.

More Detail and Comment

O’Donoghue (1986), pg 62; Hart (1998), pg 78 and Townshend (1975), pg 96; Regan (2007), pg 137-138; Lawlor (2009) pgs 27-35; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 125-126; O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pg 142; Cork Fatality Register


In an open letter, the RC Bishop of Derry (McHugh) attacks the British government’s proposals for partition saying that his fellow-Nationalists in west Ulster would not accept inclusion in a ‘Northern Ireland’ state without a struggle. 

He called the Government of Ireland Bill a ‘perpetual Coercion Bill’ and said that “To become hewers of wood and drawers of water for Sir Edward Carson, Catholic Ulster will never submit”. 

(Phoenix notes that McHugh’s attitude showed that there was a dichotomy in the attitudes of ‘east’ and ‘west’ nationalists in Ulster.)


Phoenix (1994), pg 78


IRA Volunteer Michael Fahy from Kilkee, Co. Clare dies in accidental shooting. 

O’Farrell (1997), pg 107; Ó Ruairc (2009), pg 325; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 125


BA soldier, John Wormall, dies in an accident in Templemore, Co. Tipperary.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 553


Sgt Thomas Evans of the BA’s Royal Engineers is accidently shot in Marlborough Barracks in Dublin and dies later in hospital.


O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 126


A sailor with the Royal Navy, Cedric Rees, dies in an accident at Haulbowline, Co. Cork.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 553


During a fracas near Portobello Bridge in Dublin, British soldiers shoot a man and a young woman – killing both.  Their names were Michael Cullen (39) and (Mary) Ellen Hendrick (17).

Macardle (1999), pg 334; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 126; Molyneux and Kelly (2020), pg 200; O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pg 142


Many shop windows in Dublin broken by British Army troops. The following day they are confined to barracks.

Macardle (1999), pg 353; O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pg 143


Dublin Castle makes the decision that all republican prisoners are to be treated as all other prisoners, i.e. they were to be treated as criminals and given no special treatment. 

See Apr-05-20/1.


Kautt (2014), pg 43


Rifleman Frederick Hale of the BA’s Rifle Brigade is accidently shot dead in Dublin.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 126


General Nevil Macready is made commander-in-chief of British forces in Ireland replacing General Frederick Shaw (Macready takes up duty on April 14th.)

Macready, who was at the time was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, did not want the post. In his memoirs he said that it was only out of a sense of loyalty to his ‘old Chief, John French’ (Lord Lieutenant) that he was persuaded to take up the job.

More Detail on Macready


Curran J M (1980), pg 36; O’Donoghue (1986), pg 66; Fanning (2013), pgs 222-223; Jeffrey (2006), pg 261


Railway worker, Patrick McCabe, is shot by the IRA in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim after he had indicated that he was going to join the RIC. 

His leg had to be amputated.  When it came to his compensation claim to be held in Carrick-on-Shannon, nobody would transport him so he had to walk the ten miles from Ballinamore to Carrick-on-Shannon on crutches.


McGarty (2020), pg 77


British Army soldier Fergus Brian Mulloy (or Brian Fergus Molloy or Bryan Fergus Molloy), who worked with Colonel S. S. Hill Dillion [or Dillon], a key Intelligence Officer of the British Army (working out of the BA GHQ in Parkgate St) is shot dead at the junction of South William St and Wicklow St in Dublin by members of the Squad.

More Detail


Coogan (1990), pg 133; O’Farrell (1997), pg 72; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 126-127; Molyneux and Kelly (2020), pgs 195-199; Kautt (2014), pg 57; O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pgs 113-114


Gortatlea RIC barracks (three miles from Castleisland, Co. Kerry) is attacked by IRA, led by John Cronin and Tom McEllistrim.  The barracks is destroyed.  The IRA obtained six rifles, five pistols and a substantial quantity of ammunition.


Horgan (2018), pg 39 & 292; Doyle (2008), pg 37; Kautt (2014), pg 50


William Cosgrave, Dáil Minister for Local Government, is arrested.  He is replaced a month later by Kevin O’Higgins who had been serving as his assistant minister.


Mitchell (1995), pg 125


The first 'Black and Tans' appear on Irish streets - they are mostly British-born former members of the British Army who had been recruited to the RIC. 

Even though they are full members of the RIC, the first recruits appeared in unfamiliar uniforms - which were mixtures of RIC (dark green) and military (khaki) – due to a shortage of standard RIC uniforms. 

The name ‘Black and Tans’ is said to come from the similarity between the colours of their uniforms and the colours of a famous pack of Tipperary hunting hounds. 

More Detail on RIC Recruitment


Abbott (2000), pg 67; Townshend (1975), pg 209


Resident Magistrate Alan Bell (who had been investigating the Dáil Loan and Sinn Féin funds held in nominal bank accounts – See Mar-02-20/2) was taking the Dun Laoghaire tram from his home at 19 Belgrave Sq in Monkstown to Dublin city centre when he is removed from the tram by IRA men and shot dead on Merrion Road near the Simmonscourt Rd. 


More Detail



Townshend (1975), pg 65; Figgis (19270, pg 289; Coogan (1990), pg 188; Townshend (2014), pgs 91 & 192; Fanning (2013), pg 221; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 127; O’Halpin (1987), pg 199; Molyneux and Kelly (2020), pgs 200-202; Mitchell (1995), pg 63; O’Sullivan Greene (2020), pgs 144-149 & 190-196


Frank Gallagher is re-arrested.

Gallagher (1953), pgs 147


The IRA under Michael Moran attack Castlegrove RIC barracks near Milltown in north Co. Galway.  As with Castlehacket (attacked by the same battalion on January 10th – See Jan-10-20/1) the attack lasted several hours but the attackers failed to take the barracks. (McNamara says March 26th; Kautt and Sheehan say March18th and Henry says March 22nd).

In the BA’s official History of its 5th Division, the BA claim that there were 200-300 rebels involved in this attack which was something of an exaggeration.


McNamara (2018), pg 121; Henry (2012), pgs 37-38; Kautt (2014), pg 50; Sheehan (2009), pg 31


Harnett gives details of the execution of a man by the IRA who they had convicted as a spy in a court martial.  He is killed near Newcastle West in Co. Limerick. He was probably Denis J. Crowley – this is the name given by O’Halpin and Ó Corráin.  

See Apr-28-20/2.

Harnett (2002), pgs 47-50; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 127

Mar-29 to 31 – 20/1

Better Government of Ireland Bill gets second reading in Westminster. 

More Detail and Comment


Macardle (1999), pg 337; Phoenix (1994), pg 80; Fanning (2013), pgs 219-220; Matthews (2004), pg 19; Boyce (1972), pgs 110-112 & 118


IRA man James McCarthy, Thurles, Co. Tipperary is shot dead by the RIC after he answers a knock on his door. The RIC had sent him a death threat on Dáil notepaper in an effort to incriminate Sinn Féin. 

James Leahy, O/C Tipperary No. 2 Brigade, says that this killing was in revenge for the shooting of Constable Heanue – see Mar-04-20/1. 

See also Mar-30-20/4.  

(O’Farrell says March 30th but Lesson and O’Halpin & Ó Corráin say March 27th.)


O’Farrell (1997), pg 59; Macardle (1999), pg 335; Gallagher (1953), pg 93; Leeson (2012), pg 188; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 127


Two of the three Donegal Sinn Féin TDs (Joe Sweeney and PJ Ward) are arrested.  They are first held in Derry Jail, then moved to Crumlin Road jail in Belfast and then to Wormwood Scrubs prison in London.  They are served with internment orders and go on hunger strike with other Irish prisoners. 

After a period, they were taken to hospital from which they discharged themselves with assistance from the Irish Self-Determination League. (The other Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Joe O’Doherty, had been arrested in early February.)


Ó Duibhir (2009), pgs 126-128 & 123


The IRA, led by Tadgh Brosnan, ambush a three-man RIC patrol at Killiney Cross near Castlegregory. Co. Kerry.  The RIC men are relieved of their weapons.


Horgan (2018), pg 77


IRA man Thomas [O’]Dwyer of The Ragg (Bouladuff), near Thurles, Co. Tipperary is shot dead in his bed. 

It is reported that, as Dwyer lay wounded, one of the gunmen is heard saying “Give him another”.  O’Dwyer was a Lieutenant in the Ragg Company of the Tipperary No. 2 Brigade.

The jurors at his inquest found that “Thomas Dwyer was wilfully murdered by unknown members of the R.I.C.”.  This killing was in retaliation for the killing of Constable Heanue – see Mar-04-20/1 above.  RIC Sgt Anthony is suspected by the IRA of being involved in this killing.

See also Mar-30-20/1 above, and Jun-12-20/3 and Jul-07-21/4 below.


Macardle (1999), pg 335; Gallagher (1953), pg 93 & 200; Leeson (2012), pg 188; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 127-128


Proclamation posted from IRA GHQ warning "Whereas the spies and traitors known as the Royal Irish Constabulary are holding this country for the enemy, and whereas said spies and bloodhounds are conspiring with the enemy to bomb and bayonet and otherwise outrage a peaceful, law-abiding and liberty loving people … [we] do hereby solemnly warn prospective recruits that they join the RIC at their own peril.  All nations are agreed as to the fate of traitors.". 

Abbott comments “What became to be known as the ‘Tan War’ had been declared”.


Abbott (2000), pg 68; Durney (2013), pg 94; Abbott (2019), pg 84; Molyneux and Kelly (2020), pg 206


Gunner Walter Payne from the BA’s RFA is killed in a train accident near Fermoy, Co. Cork.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 128; Cork Fatality Register


The RIC Hut at Clonoulty, Co. Tipperary is attacked by men from the 2nd Battalion, South Tipperary Brigade.  The defence is led by RIC Sgt Patrick McDonnell - see May-10-20/4.


Abbott (2000), pg 75


Attack by 5th Battalion, Cork No. 3 Brigade IRA led by Ted O’Sullivan on Durrus RIC barracks.  Despite a long engagement, no serious injuries on either side. 

(O’Farrell says one RIC man killed but this is not confirmed by Abbott or by O’Halpin & Ó Corráin.)


Deasy (1973), pgs 100-103; O’Farrell (1997), pg 86


The RIC barracks at Scartaglin, near Castleisland Co. Kerry is attacked by the IRA. Attackers did not capture the barracks but it is abandoned by RIC within a few days.


Horgan (2018), pg 39


Writing to his wife, Clementine, Churchill says that there was a “diabolical strain” in the Irish character, a “treacherous, assassinating, conspiring trait which has … prevented them from being a great responsible nation with stability and prosperity”.


McMahon (2008), pg 171


Joseph Byrne is formally replaced by T J Smith as Inspector-General (IG) of RIC.  After he was informally discharged (See Nov-10-19/2), Byrne was still formally IG of the RIC (according to O’Halpin, to the acute embarrassment of the Dublin Castle administration).  Dublin Castle tried to dismiss him in March but had to hastily withdraw the letter firing him within a week.

According to O’Halpin, he remained technically Inspector-General of RIC until 1922 when (apparently thanks to Warren Fisher) he was offered a series of colonial governorships (from which he retired in 1937). However, from November 1919, T J Smith acted as Inspector-General of RIC. 

See also Nov-18-21/8.


Hopkinson (2002), pg 33; O’Halpin (1987), pgs 194-196


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