11/28 – The Kilmichael Ambush

Irish Free State soldiers take a break from fighting in the aftermath of the partitioning of Northern Ireland, a result of the War of Independence. Their opponents at the time were anti-treaty IRA members. (source: MediaDrumWorld.com)

On this day in 1920, members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – a militant Irish republican movement – ambushed a convoy of trucks from the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). As night fell in the Irish town of Kilmichael, County Cork, IRA volunteers in civilian clothes led by Tom Barry halted the RIC convoy. As the trucks stopped, a grenade was thrown into the lead vehicle; a brutal fight ensued with IRA men and RIC police officers shooting, stabbing and rifle-butting each other to death in extremely close quarters. Out of 36 IRA, 3 were killed, and out of 18 RIC, only 1 survived. The ambush was used by British authorities to ramp up their campaign against the IRA and enact martial law in Ireland. An engagement in the Irish War of Independence – which resulted in the creation of Northern Ireland – the Kilmichael Ambush was and is an important part of republican Irish history.

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