Attack on R.I.C. in Kilfenora.

On this Day in History 100 – 7nd December 1919.

100 today years ago members of the 5th Battalion Mid Clare Brigade, attack R.I.C. in Kilfenora.

Battalion Commandant Andy O’Donohue recalls the attack,” Kilfenora R.I.C. barracks was one of the nearest police stations to the scene of the attack which I have last referred to (Sheshymore), and like the other stations in the adjacent districts, it was reinforced after this incident. Among the reinforcements were two young R.I.C. men named Moore and McGill. They moved around the village a good deal after girls, a past-time which often kept them out late at night. We decided to attack these two policemen not so much for the sake of shooting them as to entice out reinforcements whom we would also be able to attack. The operation was fixed for the night of 7th December, 1919. Four men armed with revolvers, were assigned to a position at Howley’s corner which is opposite the Catholic Church and about thirty yards from the barracks. The men moved in about seven o’clock. People were on their way to the Rosary in the church at the time. As the two R.I.C. men came down the village towards the barracks, some women came between them and the waiting Volunteers who were thus compelled to withhold their fire. The delay enabled the police to get within a few yards of the barracks before fire could be opened. Altogether, not more than a dozen shots were fired after them. One policeman was wounded before they got into the station. Our party waited for some time but the police did not come out. In addition to the four men armed with revolvers, we had seven or eight others with rifles who were to deal with the reinforcements.

Not long after the last mentioned incident, a party of about six men armed with rifles sniped the Kilfenora R.I.C. station. I was not present that night, nor was there any purpose behind the operation other than to annoy the police and make life uncomfortable for them. It was the type of activity which, in later years, came to be regarded as part of a war of nerves. A half a dozen shots directed against a barracks after nightfall was enough to keep the members of the garrison inside on the alert until the next morning, and in the meantime their 'jumpy' condition was displayed by the wild barrage of firing which they maintained during the hours of darkness. Apart from the psychological aspect, there was also the waste of ammunition which added considerably to the expenditure of the British government in their efforts to defeat us. However, the enemy did not allow this type of harassing operation to continue for long in Kilfenora because he withdrew the R.I.C. altogether from that centre early in 1920.”

Image is a grouping of Officers and Volunteers from the 5th Battalion Mid. Clare Brigade 1921.

Front: Tom Gardiner, I.R.A. Police Officer, Andy O'Donoghue, Battalion O/C,

Peter Considine, Battalion Quartermaster, Peadar O' Brien, Adjutant.

Back: Tom Liddy, Paddy Hehir, Joe Murphy, Jimmy Kelliher,

Paddy Ward, James Lafferty, Mick Guthrie.

(Courtesy Clare County Library)