A SPECIAL train left Cork yesterday evening, reported the Echo on Saturday, January 29, 1920, conveying two prominent city surgeons to Tralee to render assistance to those wounded in the Scartaglen ambush.
The Auxiliaries conducted extensive hold-ups in Cork early yesterday and shots were fired in the vicinities of Paul Street, Daunt’s Square and Kyrl’s Quay. Ammunition was found in a shop in the vicinity of Paul Street.
Approaching curfew (9pm) the usual exodus from the streets took place and as the military made their appearance, the city bore its customary deserted look. Matters were very quiet during the night.
There was talk of a possible British general election in May or June. The government was looking at an unexpectedly favourable budget and would surely be tempted to go to the people. David Lloyd George (Prime Minister) and Neville Chamberlain (Chancellor of the Exchequer) were in a position to entertain the possibility of introducing a £950m budget and considerable remission to the taxpayer.
John Cowhig was fatally wounded in Tower, near Blarney, on Thursday night. Details are vague but it appears three or four masked men called at around midnight, a struggle ensued and Cowhig was shot through the heart, dying almost instantly.
People locally attribute it to robbery and the word is he had a large sum of money at home.
The deceased managed a shoemakers business for the late Mr Ambrose and was aged between 55 and 60. He was unmarried, well-known and very popular. A military party visited about midday yesterday to make enquiries and, in the village, a man named Timothy Twomey (aged about 30) was shot and seriously injured in the neck. It appears he either didn’t hear, or ignored a command from the military to stop as he was making his way to his home among the Model Cottages. Mr Twomey was a brother of the St Ann’s Hill railway stationmaster.
An ambush party was surprised by the military between Dripsey and Coachford shortly after 4 pm yesterday. A pitched battle was fought near Peake with one man killed, five wounded and taken prisoner and five more captured.
The military appear to have suffered no casualties. Rifles, shotguns, bombs and ammunition were captured. As far as can be ascertained the intended ambush site was on the Coachford side of Godfrey’s Cross.
Advance intelligence appears to have reached the large party of military from Ballincollig that were in Tower in relation to the Cowhig shooting.
People resident at Peake, though greatly perturbed, had a grandstand view of the shooting battle.
Considerable military activity in the district continued today but there were no further arrests.
In a big round-up operation in the city this morning, the block of buildings bounded by Bridge Street, Coburg Street and Camden Quay was sealed off, with military posted at all intersections nearly as far as Blackpool Bridge.
Military also lined the foot of Patrick’s Hill and King Street (MacCurtain Street) and armoured cars were present. The search lasted from 10.30am to 1pm and ten young men were arrested and marched to Victoria Barracks.
“I only went out for a Packet of Fags”
A total of 76 summonses for breeches of curfew between January 16 and 28 came before Resident Magistrates W.E. Callan and J.A. Hardy.
Michael Buckley was charged with being out of doors at 9.15pm. He said he was put into a military lorry only to be let out again very soon after and told to go home. But before reaching it he was stopped by a second lorry, “tumbled into it” and taken to the Bridewell (laughter). He was fined 2s. 6d. for his troubles.
Some cases were withdrawn as those charged were arrested just a few minutes past nine.
However, Denis Keane was arrested at 12.25m, and said he was “at a bit of a racket” and had too much drink taken when he left it. Magistrate Callan said he couldn’t ignore the late hour and fined him 7s. 6d.
“I was only out for a packet of fags,” was the reason given by Peter Doolan who received the standard 2s. 6d. plus costs.
Among the ‘Wanted’ ads in the Echo on Saturday, January 29, 1920, were: “A pair of lady’s boots, size 5, in good condition”. And “A piano, at once. An upright with good tone, state price”.