Troops ambushed, Collins lies in state, and a rant about motor car owners!

What was in the news 100 years ago today? Richard Forrest of Cork City Library reports
Troops ambushed, Collins lies in state, and a rant about motor car owners!

An ad in the Echo on August 26, 1922

NATIONAL troops that left Cork yesterday afternoon for Millstreet were ambushed no less than three times, the Echo reported 100 years ago today, on Saturday, August 26, 1922.

It is almost miraculous that none were killed but five were wounded, some seriously.

They were travelling in an Overland touring car, two Leyland lorries and one Ford motor car.

The first attack came at Inniscarra at the junction down to the graveyard. The cottage here gave cover that saved the troops from total annihilation by Thompson and Lewis gunfire from the opposite side of the river. So too the cover availed of by the steep wood on their own side. The shooting got so intense in the half-hour battle that retreat had to be made further up its slope.

The Ford had no cover and turned back for Cork. Reinforcement arrived in the form of a Whippet armoured car.

The next attack came soon after Berrings Creamery .

On surviving this, the beleaguered men decided to turn back for Cork and were very soon attacked for the third time. A dreaded fourth attack repassing Inniscarra didn’t materialise.

Pests of the Highway

In Ireland, as in England, those pests of the highway - reckless motor drivers - give much concern to the general public. 

The toll of accidents is on the increase and roads are becoming increasingly dangerous.

Quite simply, the volume of traffic has outgrown the roads hosting it and outrun the common sense of those using them.

Our loose system of regulation is out-of-date and useless. Traffic experts point out accidents are caused by dangerous driving, lack of proper regulations, high hedges obscuring bends, and the inadequacy of approach roads into towns. The most significant of these being the first.

But the reckless driver is not necessarily he who puts up speed on the open road, but the driver who from ignorance of safe driving or from criminal neglect, fails to exercise adequate observation as he motors along.

Mr W.V. Gibson, the AA’s legal man in England, says the remedy is the infliction of severe penalties for proven cases of dangerous driving. The dangerous motorist must be dealt with in a way that prevents him driving again, such as the suspension of licence.

Michael Collins lies in state

The body of General Collins lay in state yesterday beneath the O’Connell statue in Dublin’s City Hall. Vast numbers passed by the coffin during the course of the day and scenes of grief were witnessed that will live on in Irish history. 

The Hall was heavily draped in black and the cover of the coffin was removed. The figure of the dead General lay bathed in the fitful light of six tapers with a brass crucifix at his head.

Meanwhile, a Solemn Requiem High Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in Cork at the Cathedral at 11am today, His Lordship the Bishop presiding.

Cork Corporation adjourned business as a mark of public grief and it was agreed that as many members as could attend should represent the Corporation at the funeral.

Cork Chamber of Commerce met in the Board Room of the Victoria Hotel this evening to arrange the chartering of a steamer to take passengers to Dublin for the funeral on Monday. One of the cross-channel vessels will leave Cork on Sunday evening and return Monday. The precise time of departure will be posted up at the Post Office when known. It is expected the return fare will be 30 shillings.

“He died like a Collins”

Patrick Collins, the General’s brother in Chicago Police Force, has expressed his deepest grief. He spoke of their boyhood days together and the many happy times they walked to Bandon.

Michael brought up the possibility of being killed in a letter to his brother a fortnight ago. Patrick said: “He wrote that if I got the news he had been killed, I would know he died like a Collins, and fighting for Ireland. 

"If it were a real Irishman that killed Mike, I would say the Irish race stands discredited, but I know it was not. It was some blackguard not fit to wipe his boots.”

Land that Knows no Sigh

General Collins’s sister, a Sister of Mercy in England, has written to family members: “I am 21 years in religion today, and what an anniversary. The Sisters knew about it last evening but did not tell me till after Mass.

“My beloved ones, what can I say to comfort you in our sorrow? A sorrow not only personal but universal. May God help us echo our Saviour’s words, ‘forgive them’. Yes, my darlings, we must pray for this spirit, for so we shall follow our beloved hero brother to the ‘Land that knows no sigh, where the tear from every eye is wiped away for evermore’.

Our own baby has fulfilled papa’s prophecy, for down the ages the name of Michael Collins will be blest for his fearlessness, nobility, spirit of forgiveness and dauntless patriotism. Please God, it is the turning point in Ireland’s history. “

Trouble All Over

Sligo was heavily sniped this morning. National troops captured 18 Irregulars near Rathdowney, Tipperary, along with arms and explosives.

The motor car of three National Army officers in mufti was fired upon in Glasson, Co. Westmeath. Lieutenant MacCormack was mortally wounded. In the same incident, Patrick Murtagh, an egg exporter, was struck in the side as he was mounting his cart. He died an hour later.

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