A fatal ambush near Macroom, and compensation after Burning of Cork

What was in the news 100 years ago today, by Richard Forrest of Cork City Library
A fatal ambush near Macroom, and compensation after Burning of Cork

Workmen clearing up the debris after the burning of Cork city centre by British Auxiliaries in 1920. There were a number of compensation cases at Cork Borough Sessions. See below for more.

Deadly ambush near Macroom

One of the biggest and fiercest ambushes yet took place yesterday on the mountainous part of the road between Ballyvourney and Macroom, but casualties were comparatively low, the Echo reported on Saturday, February 26, 1921.

The road here abounds in sharp turns and high rocks and the Republicans were advantageously ensconced and able to direct machine gunfire from north, south and west.

A party of some 77 Auxiliaries and police had left Macroom on regular patrol in a convoy of Crossley tenders and Ford cars and the battle lasted two hours.

Fierce resistance was put up by the Crown Forces, who took cover under their lorries, under over-hanging rocks and in an abandoned house, which turned out to be exposed to a direct line of heavy fire. 

Major Seafield Grant was hit and killed early in the attack and Constable Keane later succumbed to his injuries.

Major Grant, 29, held an outstanding World War I record, having been awarded the Military Cross. Constable Keane was an Australian of Irish parentage. Seven others of the Crown Forces were injured.

Of the Republicans, a man named Lucey was hit in three different places and taken prisoner. The last lorry in the convoy had managed to turn back to Macroom and machine gun fire from the roof of the Castle summoned the remaining Auxiliaries in the town. Reinforcements arrived from Ballincollig and Bandon.

The ambushers then began a successful retreat into the Derrynasaggart Mountains.

The Echo also reported that two bridges were demolished at Drimoleague the day before and the railway bridge at Aughaville, Bantry was blown up.

Compensation Cases

At Cork Borough Sessions, three employees of Cahill, Goggin & Co received compensation related to the Burning of Cork.

Jerome Hogan received £8 5s for clothes los Miss Reynolds received £45 19s for personal belongings, and Jeremiah Murphy £59 3s for the malicious destruction of the plate glass window at his premises on Marlboro Street.

For the same loss at his shop on George’s Street and for the looting of goods, Daniel O’Flynn received £475. 

James Wilkinson, Librarian at the Carnegie Free Library, who lived on the premises, and was burned out, got £1,175.

Raids in Waterford

Military raids were conducted in Waterford city last night. Thomas Keating, shop assistant, was arrested, charge against him not known.

Mrs Ryan, wife of Dr Ryan, Sinn Féin MP for Wexford, was fined £50 at a military court of summary jurisdiction in Waterford for refusing to display the Proclamation of Martial Law in the window of her house when directed to do so by a British commanding officer. 

She said she refused to recognise the court and would rather go to gaol. 

Her baby was taken from her upon arrest and she told the court there was a law of nature as well as British law.

For being in possession of “illegal documents”, Kathleen Hicks was jailed for three months without hard labour. 

James Cullen was sentenced to 14 days hard labour for a letter he wrote in gaol referring to the shooting at General Strickland, and stating: “It’s a pity they missed him”.

Gladstone Responds to Sir Hamar

Lord Gladstone (son of William) gave a scathing reply to Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, for stating “the opponents of the Government stand for the right to murder”.

Gladstone retorted: “I detest your system of reprisals and a policy which gravely and in all parts of the world compromises the fame of Great Britain for justice and common sense. What you have said is valuable as a record of how NOT to govern Ireland””

Michael O’Leary V.C.

Among passengers setting sail on the Empress of Britain for Canada was Michael O’Leary, recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War I.

He said he was going out to the far west but was uncertain about what occupation he should take up there.

A native of Inchigeela, Michael was now aged 40 and recently retired from the British army.

Situations Vacant...

  • Wanted: A young lady to take full charge of a tobacco shop starting in the city. A general servant, no washing, Aldergrove, College Road.
  • A smart young country girl as a general, wages £16, Monaville, Glasheen.
  • A strong boy to follow a pony and work in bottling stores, Military Road.
  • A working mother’s help (Protestant preferred).

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