May 1920



Limerick city shot up by police.

Macardle (1999), pg 353


Two RIC men shot at in Derry but both escape serious injury.  Within a week, two more RIC shot and injured in Bishop St in Derry.

Gallagher (2003), pg 21


Three RIC men were cycling from Listowel to Ballylongford in Co. Kerry when they were ambushed at Galebridge by the Ballydonoghue company of the IRA.  In a bloody struggle, Sgt Francis McKeena of the RIC is killed.  (Sgt McKeena had arrested Sir Roger Casement in 1916.)

Abbott (2000), pg 74


The few Nationalist MPs at Westminister (after a meeting held on the 24th April where they decided that it was hopeless to try to make any ameliorating changes to the British government’s Bill for Ireland) issue a statement saying that they will be abstaining from the committee stages of the Bill and attack the Bill as creating an artificial area under the control of the ‘ascendancy party’.

Phoenix (1994), pg 83


T. Dowling from Arklow, Co. Wicklow dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 106


Cloyne RIC barracks captured by men from 4th Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade led by Battalion O/C Mick Leahy.

Breen (1989), pg 106; Cashman in The Kerryman (1955), pg 60



The inquest into the three men killed in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare on the 14th April (see above) states that they were died from bullet wounds inflicted by "Sergeant Hampson, Constables Thomas O'Connor and Thomas Keenan, Lance-Corperal Kenneth McLeod, Privates William Kilgon (Kilgour), James McEwan, Peter McLoughlin, Robert Bunting and Richard Adams.  We find from the evidence that each of the above-named members of the patrol was guilty of wilful murder, without any provocation …".  The Coroner issued warrants for the arrest of these men and they were served on RIC DI Mooney but the men were not arrested.

O'Malley (2001), pg 86; O'Kelly and Mulvey in The Kerryman (1955), pg 149


A police patrol is attacked at Ahawadda, on the road from Timoleague to Lislevane, Co. Cork.  Three RIC men are killed (Sgt John Flynn, Constable William Brick and Constable Edward Dunne).  The IRA is led by Charlie Hurley then Vice-OC, Bandon Battallion, 3rd (West) Cork Brigade.  Sgt Flynn and Constable Dunne had been part of the successful defence of Timoleague Barracks in February.

Abbott (2000), pgs 75-76; Deasy (1973) pg 106

May-10 (or May-09)

Two RIC men (Sgt Patrick McDonnell and Constable Hayes) are attacked as they leave the railway station at Goold's Cross, Co. Tipperary on his way to the RIC Hut at Clonoulty.  Sgt McDonnell is killed.  The attack was carried out by two members of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Tipperary Brigade - Ned Reilly and Jack 'The Master' Ryan.  Constable  Hayes recognised the attackers.

Abbott (2000), pg 75; O'Malley (1982), pgs 11-12


IRA attack on Hollyford Barracks, Tipperary results in its destruction without capture of arms.  More Detail

Hopkinson (2002), pg 120; Breen (1989), pgs 107-110;  O'Malley (2001), pgs 9-26; O’Malley (1990), pgs 144-148


British Cabinet agrees to Macready's request for substantially extra transport and eight extra battalions.  He explains that his strategy will be based on Army mobility.  Churchill agrees to submit a proposal to cabinet for the raising of a special emergency Gendarmerie (see May 31st)

Townshend (1975), pg 84; Macardle (1999), pg 341; Bew (2016), pg 95


Three RIC men are attacked in a tram in Lr Glanmire Road, Cork resulting in the death of two policemen (Sgt Denis Garvey and Constable Daniel Harrington).

Abbott (2000), pg 76


The Fisher committee (see Apr-18) reports and says that the Castle Administration is a shambles and recommends the appointment of a 'powerful civil servant'

Townshend (1975), pg 78 & Hopkinson (2002), pgs 59-60


Houses in Thurles fired and bombed by police

Macardle (1999), pg 353


Frank Gleeson, from Fariview, Dublin dies of acute appendicitis – he had been one of the Mountjoy hunger strikers and had only been released from hospital on the 3rd May.  (He had fought in the Easter Rising.)

O’Farrell (1997), pg 108; Gallagher (1953), pg 198


Every member of the Dáil (not in prison) received a note through the post, on official Dáil notepaper, saying “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.  Therefore a life for a life.”

Gallagher (1953), pg 90


Major General Henry Hugh Tudor appointed Police Adviser to the Irish government.  Took over command of the police but did not take title of Chief of Police until RIC Inspector General Smith retired in November 1920.  (Macardle says May 22nd)

Townshend (1975), pg 81-83; Macardle (1999), pg 341


Detective Sergeant Denis Moroney was shot and killed during a riot in Derry. First RIC man killed in Ulster.

Abbott (2000), pg 77; Gallagher (2003), pg23


Mayhem in Derry with evidence of both IRA and UVF involvement

Parkinson (2004), pg 23



J. Dalton from Clare St., Limerick dies.

O’Farrell (1997), pg 105


Houses in Bantry, Co. Cork wrecked by police

Macardle (1999), pg 353


Bernard O’Doherty, a Catholic ex-soldier, killed by a sniper during riots in Derry.

Gallagher (2003), pg 23


Dáil Minister of Agriculture sits in Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo dealing with a number of urgent land agitation questions.  1st public meeting of Arbitration Courts.

Macardle (1999), pg 348


Limerick City shot up by police

Macardle (1999), pg 353


Arthur Griffith holds a press conference in Dublin in which he displays the death notes that were received in the previous days by members of the Dáil.  He says that the Dáil note paper that they were printed on were removed by British forces from Dáil HQ in Harcourt St during a raid on the 11th November 1919.  Griffith goes on to accuse the British government in Ireland in being involved in assassinations of elected representatives.

Gallagher (1953), pg 90


Two RIC men (Sgt Kyran Dunphy and Sgt Patrick Hearty) are shot and killed in Mallow St., Limerick by men from the B company of the Limerick City Battalion (Mid-Limerick Brigade) IRA under the leadership of Michael Hartney.

Abbott (2000), pgs 77-78


Kilcommon, Co. Tipperary shot up by police.

Macardle (1999), pg 353


Dublin dockers decide that, in future, they would not handle 'war materials' - they are joined soon after by the ITGWU - in particular by the railway workers.  This strike lasts until December despite the sacking of many workers.

Townshend (1975), pg 69;Hopkinson (2002), pg 43; Gallagher (1953), pgs 200-201


T. Dunne from Loughlinstown, Dublin dies as does P. Meany from Tomard, Co. Carlow.

O’Farrell (1997), pgs 107 & 113


Sir John Anderson who was earlier appointed Under-Secretary arrives in Dublin.  Technically, he is Joint Under Secretary with James MacMahon but according to Townshend quickly establishes himself as 'unquestioned chief'.   With Andy Cope and Mark Sturgis as Assistant Under Secretaries, the administration of Dublin Castle is overhauled.  Comment  

Curran J M (1980), pg36; Hopkinson (2002) pg 61; and Townshend (1975), pg 80


Kilmallock RIC barracks attacked by IRA led by 'Sean Forde' (Thomas Malone).  More Detail

Abbott (2000), pg 79-84; O’Donoghue (1986), pg131 & Hopkinson (2002), pg 119; Ryan (1945), pg 127 & pg 132; Harnett (2002), pgs 50-53; McCarthy in The Kerryman (1955), pgs 55-59; Brennan (1980), pgs 49-52; O’Farrell (1997), pg 53; Regan (2007), pg 164



Statement issued by Chief Commissioner of the DMP (W. E. Johnstone) in response to accusations made by Griffith on the 18th May saying that no “notepaper or any writing paper was removed from 76 Harcourt Street or taken possession of by police or by the military”.

Gallagher (1953), pg 90


James Saunders shot dead in Limerick.  The verdict at his inquest was that he was killed by the police (the 8th verdict of murder by police since the beginning of the year).

Macardle (1999), pg 347


Griffith issues a short statement in response to Johnstone’s statement of the 27th May saying that Dáil notepaper was seized by detectives on the raid on 76 Harcourt St on the 11th November 1919.  (See 10th September 1920.)

Gallagher (1953), pgs 90-91


First meeting of British Cabinet with its new Irish officials.  Coogan claims that this meeting considered ways of making Irishmen "feel the effects of the campaigns of murder and arson along economic channels" and that this transformed into the policy of burning creameries, bacon factories and mills in reprisals.  Bew says that Churchill had lost enthusiasm for his original proposal for an Emergency Gendarmarie but that “remarkably, two months later, the government adopted Churchill’s original proposal and began recruitment of a ‘special corps of gerdarmarie, the auxiliary division’ “

Hopkinson (2002), pg 64; Coogan (1990), pg 143-144; Bew (2016), pg 95


Colonel Ormonde Winter appointed as Director of Intelligence and Deputy Chief of Police.

Townshend (1975), pg 82


Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Wilson appointed as Intelligence Officer for Dublin District Division of the British Army.  Other division and brigade I.O.s appointed over the coming months.

Townshend (1975), pg 91


IRA attack RIC barracks at Loughgeorge, Co. Galway led by Seamus Murphy

O’Farrell (1997), pg 73


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