On Wednesday night the 12th of May 1920 the R.I.C barracks in Killanne was burned by the I.R.A. The building occupied one corner of the crossroads in Killanne and had been in use as a barracks since at least 1840, being visible on the ordinance survey maps from the period. There are conflicting accounts as to whether the police had vacated the barracks prior to it being set ablaze; Edward Balfe in his witness statement says it, together with several other barracks that were burned around that time, had been vacated and the police stationed elsewhere, while a newspaper article regarding compensation awarded for the damage states that it was occupied. Considering its rural location the barrack was likely already vacant or perhaps at the very most was only occupied intermittently. It was one of many burned during the period on orders from general headquarters in Dublin to deny the British of their use while also making a statement against British rule.
The newspaper reported that there was evidence of efforts to break in the front door, which proved unsuccessful, but entry was eventually gained by breaking in the back door instead. A constable Sullivan, who visited the site the following morning, stated that the barrack was ‘entirely destroyed’. Mr. Blacke, the proprietor, rented the building to the police for use as a barracks and was awarded £340 compensation for damages, after attempting to claim £530. The building was later repaired by a tradesman named Michael O’ Neill whom reared his family there until he was bought out by the Department of Justice and was made a Garda Station in 1925. It remained such until 1977 when it was sold and has been a private residence since.
During the 1916 rising in Wexford the R.I.C vacated the barracks and fled to Bunclody after hearing of the activity in Enniscorthy.
Edward Balfe, Enniscorthy, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement #1373
The Irish Times, 14th May 1920.
New Ross Standard, Friday 25th June 1920
North Wexford Brigade Activity Files