On the 20th January 1921 – 100 years ago on this date – over thirty men of the East Clare Brigade of the IRA ambushed an RIC patrol at Glenwood near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, killing six of their number. The well organised rebels suffered zero casualties and captured a significant amount of guns and ammunition. Numerous houses in the general area were burned by the RIC that evening in reprisal for the attack :

‘In mid January 1921, orders were sent to all six battalions of the East Clare Brigade asking all available I.R.A. Volunteers to assemble at Parker’s house, Castlelake on the morning of the 20th of January. The officers of the Brigade had decided to attempt to ambush the regular R.I.C. patrol travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford.

On the appointed day, thirty seven I.R.A Volunteers reported for duty. Half of them carried rifles while the remainder were armed with shotguns and revolvers. A number of the republicans who had arrived unarmed volunteered as scouts. Volunteer Joseph Clancy of Kilkishen, a local and a former soldier in the British Army, suggested a suitable location for the attack at the rear entrance to Glenwood House. Michael Brennan accepted his advice and divided up the men into different sections and explained the plan of attack. At Glenwood the republican scouts were posted along the road a short distance in both directions from the I.R.A.’s new position. The thirty or so remaining I.R.A. Volunteers were divided into three sections under the command of Michael Brennan, his brother Austin Brennan of Meelick and Tom McGrath of O’Callaghan’s Mills. The men in Michael Brennan’s section were all armed with rifles and positioned along a high stone wall just north of the gate to Glenwood house. The stone wall would give them a good cover from enemy fire and a direct line of fire for about fifty or sixty yards.

Michael Brennan himself was armed with a revolver and stood a few yards behind the men in his group positioned along this wall. Joseph Clancy was hidden behind a large holly bush on top of the wall keeping watch along the road as the other Volunteers remained hidden. Austin Brennan’s group of Volunteers equipped with rifles and shotguns, was placed fifty yards further north behind another stone wall. The remaining men under Tom Mc Grath’s command were located along the edge of a field a hundred yards to the south of the gate armed with revolvers. The ambushers were to hold their fire, until riflemen under Michael Brennan’s command attacked the lorry…at about 4pm, a motorised patrol of ten armed Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Black and Tan members, travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, approached the back gate of Glenwood house.

Waiting for them, concealed behind the walls of the Glenwood estate, was a group of approximately 37 armed IRA volunteers from the East Clare Brigade of the IRA, led by Michael Brennan of Meelick. As the British patrol passed by the gates, a fusillade of gunshot, fired by the waiting group, struck them. Six RIC and Black and Tans were killed, two were injured and two escaped unhurt. One IRA volunteer was injured. The ambush party withdrew in good order through the forest and mountains to the East of Glenwood, towards Oatfield. The surviving members of the British patrol made their way back to Sixmilebridge.

The local people, on hearing of the news of the ambush, braced themselves for the inevitable retribution which would follow. In an orgy of violence on that evening and in the following days, Black and Tans and Auxiliaries burned houses, destroyed property and terrorised and assaulted local people…’ (from here.)

The destructive and vindictive nature of the British forces that remain in Ireland are felt today by republicans in the Occupied Six Counties and, even though those forces wear a different uniform to that displayed by the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, their methods and their objective is the same. And the resolve of Irish republicans, too, is the same.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Peter McCarthy, Dublin, shot by police, June 1937.

Bob Clancy, Waterford, died in Curragh Internment Camp, June 1941.

Charles O’Hare, Armagh, died in Isle of Man Internment Camp, June 1944.

(END of ‘In Memoriam’; NEXT – ‘New Cumann In County Cork’, from the same source.)


A photograph from the scene of the loyalist bombing in Dublin on Saturday 20th January 1973 – 48 years ago on this date – in which one man died (29-year-old Scottish born Thomas Douglas, a bus conductor) and 13 people were injured.

‘On Saturday 20 January 1973, seven weeks after the December 1972 bombings, a further bomb exploded in Dublin city centre killing one man…unbelievably, the location was once again Sackville Place and the bombers were now beginning to thumb their noses at the security forces…by choosing to bomb the same location twice within seven weeks…the bombing was never claimed by the organisation which carried it out, but no one was in any doubt that loyalists were involved…the bomb, which contained 20 pounds of explosives, was planted in a red Vauxhall Viva car, registration number EOI 1129, which was hijacked in Agnes Street off the Shankill Road in Belfast that morning…’
(from here, and details on the author can be read here.)

Regardless of how active their campaign is in Dublin (or elsewhere in Ireland) or whether they claim responsibility for their actions or not, the fact remains that as long as Westminster continues to maintain a political and military presence in Ireland the loyalists can be ‘activated’ anytime the British administration feels it would be advantageous to do so. The loyalists and other pro-British elements can only be neutralised when Westminster stops interfering in this country.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

Michael Peoples, a friend of the McBreartys, received a series of blackmail phone calls alleging he had murdered Richie Barron. A male caller demanded £6,000 for his silence. After the first call, Peoples taped the caller and passed the tapes to the gardai. Four of those calls were traced to the home of William Doherty, while another call was traced to a garda’s house.

William Doherty denied making the calls, saying it was not his voice on the tape. A notebook belonging to the garda, containing notes on the Barron case, was also found in Doherty’s home in September 1997. Again, Doherty denied any knowledge of the notebook and claimed it was planted in his house in an effort to scapegoat the garda.

William Doherty “informed” the gardai that Noel John McBride, a youth known to the gardai, might have information on the death of Richie Barron. The gardai obtained a statement from McBride implicating several local people and, on foot of this statement, Frank McBrearty Snr and Jnr, Michael Peoples and Roisin and Mark McConnell were arrested. McBride’s statement said that on the night in question he saw McBrearty Jnr and McConnell walk away from the crime scene but he was later to retract this statement, alleging duress. He further alleges that in November 1996, William Doherty brought him to the house of a local garda, and that two other gardai were present… (MORE LATER.)


On this date – 20th January – in 1923, Free State forces removed 11 of the IRA prisoners (‘Irregulars’) they were holding and executed each one of them. Sixteen months previous to executing those men, Leinster House politicians had signalled their intent to do so in order to secure their own positions in the new Free State, declaring that those IRA men were fighting against what they described as ‘a legitimate Irish authority..’ About one year before that awful day, those Free State executioners would have fought on the same side, in the fight against Westminster, as those they executed on that Saturday, 20th January 1923.

Five Anti-Treaty I.R.A. men were executed by firing squad, at about 8am that day, in Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath : Thomas Hughes, from Bogginfin, Athlone, who was Lieutenant Commandant, ‘Officer Commanding Munitions’, Western Division I.R.A. He had served as Captain with the 3rd Engineers Dublin Brigade and was also ‘Officer Commanding Munitions’ in Athlone. Michael Walsh, born in Derrymore, County Galway. He was Vice-Commandant, 2nd Battalion No. 1 Brigade, Western Division. Herbert Collins, a native of Kickeen, Headford, County Galway, who was captured at Currahan and charged with being in possession of arms and ammunition. Stephen Joyce, a native of Derrymore, Caherlistrane, County Galway and Martin Burke, a native of Caherlistrane, County Galway – he was Officer Commanding, Active Service Unit Number 3 Brigade, Western Division.

Four of the IRA men (‘Irregulars/Anti-Treaty Army’) – Michael Brosnan of Rathenny, Tralee, County Kerry, John Clifford of Mountlake Caherciveen, County Kerry, James Daly from Knock, Killarney, County Kerry and James Hanlon of Causeway, Tralee, County Kerry – were executed at Ballymullen Barracks, Tralee, Kerry : they were ‘found guilty’ of being in possession of arms and ammunition under the ‘Emergency Powers Act’ but local opinion was that the four men were put to death because of on-going attacks on the railway system in the Kerry area.

Two I.R.A. men were executed at Limerick Jail : Commandant Cornelius ‘Con’ McMahon, Limerick, and fellow Limerick man Volunteer Patrick Hennessy. Both men were charged with the destruction of Ardsollus railway station in County Clare on the 14th of January 1923 and were ‘found guilty’ of same and of being in possession of guns and ammunition. Patrick Hennessy was secretary of Clare County Gaelic Athletic Association and a member of the county team. Con McMahon had served a term in prison in Limerick Jail in 1920.

Also, for the record, between 17th November 1922 and 2nd May 1923, seventy-seven Irish republican prisoners were removed from their prison cells and shot dead by order of the Free State administration. In this post we name those 77 men and list where each man was executed and the date of same. We do so in the hope that these men will not be forgotten :


James Fisher, Dublin, November 17th.

Peter Cassidy, Dublin, November 17th.

Richard Twohig, Dublin , November 17th.

John Gaffney, Dublin, November 17th.

Erskine Childers, Dublin, November 24th.

Joseph Spooner, Dublin, November 30th.

Patrick Farrelly, Dublin, November 30th.

John Murphy, Dublin, November 30th.

Rory O Connor, Dublin, December 8th.

Liam Mellows, Dublin, December 8th.

Joseph McKelvey, Dublin, December 8th.

Richard Barrett, Dublin, December 8th.

Stephen White, Dublin, December 19th.

Joseph Johnston, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Mangan, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Nolan, Dublin, December 19th.

Brian Moore, Dublin, December 19th.

James O’Connor, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Bagnel, Dublin, December 19th.

John Phelan, Kilkenny, December 29th.

John Murphy, Kilkenny, December 29th.


Leo Dowling, Dublin, January 8th.

Sylvester Heaney, Dublin, January 8th.

Laurence Sheeky, Dublin, January 8th.

Anthony O’Reilly, Dublin, January 8th.

Terence Brady, Dublin, January 8th.

Thomas McKeown, Louth, January 13th.

John McNulty, Louth, January 13th.

Thomas Murray, Louth, January 13th.

Frederick Burke, Tipperary, January 15th.

Patrick Russell, Tipperary, January 15th.

Martin O’Shea, Tipperary, January 15th.

Patrick McNamara, Tipperary, January 15th.

James Lillis, Carlow, January 15th.

James Daly, Kerry, January 20th.

John Clifford, Kerry, January 20th.

Michael Brosnan, Kerry, January 20th.

James Hanlon, Kerry, January 20th.

Cornelius McMahon, Limerick, January 20th.

Patrick Hennesy, Limerick, January 20th.

Thomas Hughes, Westmeath, January 20th.

Michael Walsh, Westmeath, January 20th.

Herbert Collins, Westmeath, January 20th.

Stephen Joyce, Westmeath, January 20th.

Martin Bourke, Westmeath, January 20th.

James Melia, Louth, January 22nd.

Thomas Lennon, Louth, January 22nd.

Joseph Ferguson, Louth, January 22nd.

Michael Fitzgerald, Waterford, January 25th.

Patrick O’Reilly, Offaly, January 26th.

Patrick Cunningham, Offaly, January 26th.

Willie Conroy, Offaly, January 26th.

Colum Kelly, Offaly, January 26th.

Patrick Geraghty, Laoise, January 27th.

Joseph Byrne, Laoise, January 27th.

Thomas Gibson, Laoise, February 26th.

James O’Rourke, Dublin, March 13th.

William Healy, Cork, March 13th.

James Parle, Wexford, March 13th.

Patrick Hogan, Wexford, March 13th.

John Creane, Wexford, March 13th.

Séan Larkin, Donegal, March 14th.

Tim O’Sullivan, Donegal, March 14th.

Daniel Enright, Donegal, March 14th.

Charles Daly, Donegal, March 14th.

James O’Malley, Galway, April 11th.

Francis Cunnane, Galway, April 11th.

Michael Monaghan, Galway, April 11th.

John Newell, Galway, April 11th.

John McGuire, Galway, April 11th.

Martin Moylan, Galway, April 11th.

Richard Hatheway, Kerry, April 25th.

James McEnery, Kerry, April 25th.

Edward Greaney, Kerry, April 25th.

Patrick Mahoney, Clare, April 26th.

Christopher Quinn, Clare, May 02nd.

William Shaughnessy, Clare, May 02nd.

Those 77 men did not take up arms in the belief that they were fighting for the establishment of a morally corrupt so-called ‘half-way-house’ institution, nor did they do so to assist the British in the ‘governance’ of one of their ‘part’ colonies : that which those men and many other men and women fought for remains to be achieved : ‘Unfinished Business’, if you like. You can help present-day Irish republicans to achieve that aim…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

The British Army search for the Omagh raiders was directed by Colonel E. H. W. Grimshaw, Chief of Staff, ‘Northern Ireland’ District, who served in Kenya until recently with Captain T. M. Troy, officer commanding the raided depot.

Colonel Grimshaw said after the raid – “Troy and I have had plenty of experience rounding up the Mau Mau in Kenya, and we should be able to deal with this lot!”

(END of ‘Anti-Mau Officer Led British Army Search’ ; NEXT -‘Licensed To Kill’, from the ‘United Irishman’, March 1955.)

(‘1169’ comment ; you can read about Mr Grimshaw here, if you’re that way inclined. He certainly enjoyed his overseas ‘adventures’ on behalf of his ‘Empire’, and gave many a ‘terrorist’ a jolly good pasting. Jolly hockey-sticks, and all that…)


On this date – 20th January – in 1902, a baby boy was born in Dublin who was to capture world support and sympathy while still in his teens : the child’s name was Kevin Barry (pictured, left), and he was born into a strong Irish republican family which could trace members of its clan as having been active in 1798 with Wolfe Tone. Kevin Barry, 18 years young, was executed on the 1st November 1920 in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin, and was the first Irish republican to be executed by the British since 1916. At the time of his death his eldest brother Mick was OC of the Volunteers in Tombeigh and his sister, Sheila, was in Cumann na mBan. He was captured while on active service outside the entrance of Monk’s bakery in Dublin. Although, as stated, born in Dublin, he spent much of his life at the family home in Tombeigh, Hackettstown, Carlow, and both sides of his family – the Barry’s and the Dowling’s – came from the Carlow area, and some of his ancestors had fought in 1798. He attended national school in Rathvilly, Carlow, for a few years, before going to Belvedere College in Dublin where he was a medical student.

Kevin Barry’s body was not returned to his family for burial ; he was interred within the prison confines of Mountjoy Jail and was the first of what was to become know as ‘the Forgotten Ten’. Because Munster and a small part of Leinster was under martial law those executed there were shot as soldiers but, as Dublin was under civilian law, those executed in Mountjoy were hanged. In his ‘Sworn Statement’ (‘written testimony’), Kevin Barry wrote –

“I, Kevin Barry, of 58, South Circular Road, in the County of Dublin, Medical Student, aged 18 years and upwards solemnly and sincerely declare as follows: On the 20th of September, 1920, I was arrested in Upper Church Street by a Sergeant of the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and was brought under escort to the North Dublin Union, now occupied by military. I was brought into the guard room and searched. I was then moved to the defaulter’s room by an escort with a Sergeant-Major, who all belonged to 1st Lancashire Fusiliers. I was then handcuffed. About 15 minutes after I was put into the defaulter’s room, two Commissioned Officers of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers came in. They were accompanied by 3 Sergeants of the same unit. A military policeman who had been in the room since I entered it remained.

One of the officers asked me my name, which I gave. He then asked me for the names of my companions in the raid. I refused to give them. He tried to persuade me to give the names and I persisted in refusing. He then sent a Sergeant for a bayonet. When it was brought in the Sergeant was ordered by this officer to point the bayonet at my stomach. The same questions as to the names and addresses of my companions were repeated with the same results. The Sergeant was then ordered to turn my face to the wall and point the bayonet to my back. The Sergeant then said he would run the bayonet into me if I did not tell. The bayonet was then removed and I was turned round again. This officer then said that if I still persisted in this attitude he would turn me out to the men in the barrack square and he supposed I knew what that meant with the men in their present temper. I said nothing. He ordered the Sergeants to put me face down on the floor and twist my arm. I was pushed down onto the floor after my handcuffs were removed. When I lay on the floor one of the Sergeants knelt on the small of my back, the other two placed one foot each on my back and left shoulder and the man who knelt on me twisted my right arm, holding it by the wrist with one hand while he held my hair with the other to pull back my head. The arm was twisted from the elbow joint. This continued to the best of my knowledge for 5 minutes. It was very painful.

The first officer was standing near my feet and the officer who accompanied him was still present. During the twisting of my arm the first officer continued to question me for the names and addresses of my companions and the names of my Company Commander or any other (IRA) officer I knew. As I still refused to answer these questions I was let up and handcuffed. A civilian came in and he repeated the same questions with the same results. He informed me that if I gave all the information I knew, I could get off. I was then left in the company of the military policeman. The two officers, three sergeants and civilian all left together. I could certainly identify the officer who directed the proceedings and put the questions. I am not sure of the others except the Sergeant with the bayonet.

My arm was medically treated by an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the North Dublin Union the following morning and by the prison hospital orderly afterwards for 4 or 5 days. I was visited by the Court Martial Officer last night and he read the confirmation of sentence of death by hanging to be executed on Monday next and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing same to be true and by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835. Declared and subscribed before me at Mountjoy Prison in the County of the City of Dublin, 28th October, 1920.

(Signed) MYLES KEOGH, a justice of the peace for said County.


Canon John Waters, the prison chaplain, wrote to Kevin Barry’s mother with a description of his final moments : “His courage was superhuman and rested I am sure, on his simple goodness and innocence of conscience. You are the mother, my dear Mrs Barry, of one of the bravest and best boys I have ever known, he went to the scaffold with the most perfect bravery, without the slightest faltering, ’til the very last moment of his life…” Incidentally, while speaking to Mrs Barry, Canon Waters opined that young Kevin “…does not seem to realise he is going to die in the morning..” to which she asked what was meant by that comment : the priest replied that Kevin “…is so gay* and light-hearted all the time (but) if he fully realised it he would be overwhelmed..” – Mrs Barry took offence at those words and replied “Canon Waters, I know you are not a Republican. But is it impossible for you to understand that my son is actually proud to die for the Republic?” The wise Canon didn’t argue back.

It was on this date – 20th January – 119 years ago, that Kevin Barry was born.

(*’Gay’ – ‘happy’, not as it apparently would be interpreted today.)




1169 BLOG AGREES A BOOK DEAL (sort of..)!

‘The kind assistance of Sharon O’ Suillibhan of Dublin, who helps publish the 1169 and Counting blog, which keeps alive valuable articles from the era, was generous with her time and thoughts, keeping me laughing and informed..’ – so wrote author Anthony Amore, in relation to his book, ‘The Woman Who Stole Vermeer’.

Ah Shucks! Going scarla’ here…!

Anthony contacted us a while ago when he was researching info for his ‘Woman Who Stole..’ book, as we had posted an article or two on our blog which caught his eye ; nothing unusual there, as we get contacted regularly by people looking to verify dates, locations etc and we respond to each contact as quick as we can, even if it’s to politely say ‘no’, if they are looking for information which, shall we say, could be deemed to be ‘delicate’.

Anyway – the info that Anto wanted (…and yes – we feel that we know the man good enough by now to confer that honorary Dub moniker on him!) was run-of-the-mill stuff to us which contained dates and locations etc which could be found elsewhere, with a bit of digging, so we helped him as best we could and he was delira and excira (…figure that one out for yerselves!) with the wee bit of assistance we gave him.

So much so that the gentleman insisted on re-paying the favour and, with a bit of prodding from meself (!) we settled on a brief mention for the blog in the ‘Acknowledgement’ section of his book (pictured) as ‘payment’ enough ; and so it came to pass!

And that, readers, is the ‘book deal’ involved ; probably not quite what some of ye may have been expecting, and we didn’t really(ish!) mean to imply otherwise in our blog, Facebook and Twitter posts in regards to the ‘deal’, but that’s all yer gettin’! And anyway – we’re chuffed about it, so there!

And – while I’m blowing trumpets (!) here – during our conversations with the Anto fella, Irish food favourites were discussed and I’m equally as proud to say that my receipes for Irish Stew and Shepherd’s Pie were passed, by request, to himself, and were made available to a 10,000-strong membership in a book club!

As me other auld segotia* would say – “Between the famous and the infamous there is but one step, if as much as one.”

This is Sharon, signin’ off and a-steppin’ out for now. To sign autographs, that is..!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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