March 1920

Mar-01

Thurles wrecked by British troops and again on 7th Mar

Macardle (1999), pg 353

Mar-01

Command issued to banks to appear before commission enquiring into the whereabouts of Dáil Loan money, signed by resident magistrate Alan Bell.  See March 26th.

Macardle (1999), pg 332

Mar-02

Landowner Capt Frank Shawe Taylor of Moorpark, Athenry, Co Galway shot in 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. (McNamara and Henry say 3rd)

Gallagher (1953), pg 201; McNamara (2018), pgs 26 & 172; Henry (2012), pgs 53-55

Mar-03

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

Abbott (2019), pg 411

Mar-04

RIC Constable John Heanue is shot and critically 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 confronted by three men who ordered them to put their hands up.  Instead of surrendering, the constables drew their guns.  A gunfight ensued with Constable Heanue being mortally wounded.  The three assailants got away.

Abbott (2000), pg 62; Henry (2012), pg 37

Mar-04

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.

McNamara (2018), pg2 172-173; Henry (2012), pgs 46-48

Mar-05

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

Deasy (1973), pgs 98-99

Mar-06

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

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

Mar-08

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 police surrendered.  The IRA captured six rifles, two revolvers and some ammunition.   Constable Ryan left a pregnant wife and five children. (After a lengthy struggle, Mrs Ryan was awarded £4,500 in compensation.)  Walsh comments “The Kilkenny Brigade IRA would not have such an uncomplicated success again”.

Abbott (2000), pg 62; Walsh (2018); pgs 62-65

Mar-10

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

Abbott (2000), pg 63; Hopkinson (2002), pg 123

Mar-10

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

Mar-10

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 taking in the nine counties of Ulster).  A resolution is put forward (by Lord Farnham from Cavan and seconded by Michael E. Knight from Monaghan) that the partition should include all nine counties of Ulster (in line with the Covenant) but this is defeated. This is condemned by unionists from the three Ulster counties (Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan) who, inter alia, state that the Covenant had been shown to be nothing more than a ‘mere scrap of paper’.  Monaghan delegates subsequently resigned from the UCC.  Comment

Phoenix (1994), pg 80; Dooley (2000), pg 40; Dooley (2017), pg 98; McCluskey (2014), pg 88

Mar-11

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

Abbott (2000), pg 63

Mar-12

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

Macardle (1999), pg 353

Mar-13

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

Mar-16

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

Mar-17

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 officers are shot as they left a church. (Dooley says 16th.)

Abbott (2000), pgs 63-64; Dooley (2015), pg 50

Mar-18

U.S. Senate, while ratifying the Versailles Peace Treaty adds a resolution 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”

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

Mar-19

RIC Constable Murtagh is shot and killed at 11.00pm on Pope's Quay, Cork by two IRA men, Christy MacSweeney and J.J. O’Connell.  Some hours later (on morning of 20th) Tomas 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 believed to be members of the RIC. agents.  (MacCurtain had received a death threat four days earlier written on stolen Dáil notepaper.)  See 17th April 1920 for result of inquest.

Among those suspected of involvement in the killing of MacCurtain was RIC District-Inspector Swanzy.  See 22nd Aug 1920.  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

Mar-20

Six men were tried in Armagh for the murder of two RIC men during the rescue of Sean Hogan at Knocklong on the 13th May 1919.  Three are found guilty and two of them (Edmund Foley and Paddy Maher) are subsequently hung on 7th June 1921.  (Carey disagrees that they were found guilty in Armagh - see March 15th 1921)

Abbott (2000), pg 39

Mar-20

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

Mar-20

IRA Volunteer Michael Fahy from Kilkee, Co. Clare dies in accidental shooting.  (Ó Ruairc says 19th.)

O’Farrell (1997), pg 107; Ó Ruairc (2009), pg 325

Mar-21

British soldiers in Dublin shoot a young man and a girl – killing both.

Macardle (1999), pg 334

Mar-22

Many shop windows in Dublin broken by troops

Macardle (1999), pg 353

Mar-23

P. Hennessy from Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 109

Mar-25

British army Sergeant Fergus Brian Mulloy, who worked with Colonel Hill Dillion, Chief Intelligence Officer of the British Army, in Parkgate St is shot dead in Wicklow St, Dublin

Coogan (1990), pg 133; O’Farrell (1997), pg 72

Mar-23

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

Curran J M (1980), pg36 & O’Donoghue (1986), pg66

Mar-25

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

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

Mar-25

First 'Black and Tans' start to appear - they are mostly British ex-servicemen 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 the 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 

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

Mar-26

Resident Magistrate Alan Bell (who had been investigating the Dáil Loan) was taken of the Dun Laoghaire tram and shot dead by the IRA. Mick McDonnell and Liam Tobin do the shooting. Townshend comments that Collins was a “finance minister with the unusual advantage of also running a death squad”.

(Figgis says 27th). 

(That night, Frank Gallagher is re-arrested – five months after he was released)

Townshend (1975), pg 65; Figgis (19270, pg 289; Gallagher (1953), pgs 147; Coogan (1990), pg 188; Townshend (2014), pgs 91 & 192

Mar-26

The IRA under Michael Moran attack Castlegrove RIC barracks near Milltown in north Galway.  As with Castlehacket (attacked by the same battalion on 10th January) the attack lasted several hours but the attackers failed to take the barracks. (Henry says 22nd)

McNamara (2018), pg 121; Henry (2012), pgs 37-38

Mar-29

Better Government of Ireland Bill gets second reading in Westminster.  It is passed by 348 votes to 94.

Macardle (1999), pg 337; Phoenix (1994), pg 80

Mar-30

James McCarthy, Thurles, Co. Tipperary is shot dead by RIC after they had sent him a death threat on Dáil notepaper in an effort to incriminate Sinn Féin .

O’Farrell (1997), pg 58; Macardle (1999), pg 335; Gallagher (1953), pg 93; Leeson (2012), pg 188

Mar-30

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, was arrested in early February.)

Ó Duibhir (2009), pgs 126-128 & 123

Mar-30

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

Mar-30

Proclamation posted by IRA 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 (2000), pg 68; Durney (2013), pg 94; Abbott (2019), pg 84

Mar-30

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”.

The jurors at his inquest found that “Thomas Dwyer was wilfully murdered by unknown members of the R.I.C.”.  Presumably, this killing was in retaliation for the killing of Constable Heanue – see March 4th above.  Also see 7th July 1921.

Macardle (1999), pg 335;  Gallagher (1953), pg 93 & 200; Leeson (2012), pg 188

Mar-31

The RIC Hut at Clonoulty, Co. Tipperary is attacked by men from the 2nd Battalion, South Tipperary Brigade.  The defence is led by Sgt Patrick McDonnell - see 10th May 1920

Abbott (2000), pg 75

Mar-31

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 not confirmed by Abbott.)

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

Mar-31

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

Mar

Joseph Byrne formally replaced by T J Smith as Inspector-General of RIC

Hopkinson (2002), pg 33

Mar

IRA execute a man who they had convicted as a spy in West Limerick.

Harnett (2002), pgs 47-50

 

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