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Kinvara, Gort and south Galway – 1922

Freeman’s Journal 27th July, 1922 p.5 (abridged)

By Ardrahan Road, Kinvara Photo: EO'D

By Ardrahan Road,
Kinvara
Photo: EO’D

The National Forces operating from Galway under Commandant-General Austin Brennan have now begun to clear the country of Irregulars in real earnest, writes our Galway correspondent. As a result of an operation just under the valley of Tullira Castle, on the Kinvara road at Coolfin, sixteen prisoners were captured on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday a total of 22 prisoners was brought to Galway and lodged in the local gaol.
Early on Monday afternoon eight motor vehicles containing over thirty riflemen and their officers left Galway for Gort. They were equipped with cross-cut saws and engineering tools, and quickly cleared the roads on their way. They passed through Ardrahan village without incident, and along the road to the west of Tullira Castle, under the shadow of the Skehanagh heights, which have been made famous by the dramas of Lady Gregory and other Irish play-wrights.

To the west of this road lies the Great Southern Railway line to Gort and Ennis, and at the inlet of the sea further west the village of Kinvara. As the lorries passed along they noticed men on the march through the fields about a mile distant. They were evidently coming from Kinvara and making for Tullira Castle. The lorries passed along the road towards a bend in the hope of getting a better view, but here they found that their range of vision was altogether obstructed by trees and undergrowth. The vehicles were thereupon put in charge of a small party, whilst the little company of riflemen was distributed amongst the three officers and a few efficient sergeants, who had seen considerable service in the recent war. A few of the cars moved slowly back along the road that they had come, whenceupon the men dismounted, and one officer proceeded along a boreen towards the north-west, accompanied by half a score of men in extended formation. The first shot was fired when a scout was seen rushing across the fields apparently to warn his comrades in the rearguard. He was called upon to halt, and shots were then discharged at him at a range of over 400 yards. Thereafter shooting became general at long distance range.

The Irregulars replied, firing about 100 shots in all. Lieut. McCarthy, who was in charge of the centre, crossed a wall with a sergeant whilst bullets whizzed past. As the sergeant fell on his knees to take aim in the fields a bullet grazed his knuckles.

The National troops operated in a “V”, seeking what cover they could find, and sniping at the Irregulars as the occasion offered. The latter had splendid positions and excellent cover and they retreated as they fired. The main body was at least 1,000 yards from their adversaries and it was at this range that most of the shooting took place. When the scout had got clear, there was considerable commotion in the rearguard of the Irregulars, whistles were blown loudly and shrilly and a general retreat took place.

 

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