Oylegate Barracks Burned

Present day location where Oylegate R.I.C Barracks once stood (Google Street View 2019)

On the 11th of August 1920 Oylegate R.I.C Barracks was burned by members of the I. R. A. The building had been vacated by the police the previous July. The ‘New Ross Standard’ newspaper reported that ‘Petrol had been used in it and bushes were put into the rooms’ while ‘Nothing remained but the bare walls’ after the fire. Oyelgate was one of many barracks burned during the period to ensure it could not be reoccupied and therefore allow the I.R.A more freedom to operate. As a reprisal a Sinn Fein Hall named ‘Seamus Rafter Hall’, located on Lower Church St. Enniscorthy, was later raided by the Devonshire Regiment; They broke into the hall armed with pickaxes and caused great damage smashing furniture, chairs, tables, and a new billiards table. Written on the hall door was found ‘This is a reprisal for Oylegate Barracks’ and ‘this is not the last’ was also written outside.

Sources

Edward Balfe, 28 shannon Hill, Enniscorthy. Bureau of Military History Witness Statement #1373

New Ross Standard 22nd October 1920

North Wexford Brigade Activity Files

Sunday Independent, 15th August 1920

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