On Thursday the 30th of December 1920 Cushenstown Hall was partially wrecked by fire and an explosion. The Enniscorthy Guardian reported that at about 8 o clock people in the locality heard a loud explosion. Earlier that night a motor car with 4 or 5 passengers was seen at the hall and a fire was noticed inside shortly after it left. Fortunately, it was extinguished before it could spread. The fire had already caught onto the gallery floor and stage. Afterwards it was noticed that the floor had been sprinkled with petrol and there was a hole in it caused by the bomb. The explosion shook the whole building, smashed the windows, displaced some of the doors, damaged seats and perforated the ceiling.
Cushenstown hall was one of the largest of its kind built in Ireland at the time and one of the first six co-operative halls built in Ireland in 1909. This was done under a grant given by the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society for the six parishes that had done the most work. The Cushenstown Co-operative society had given use of the hall for a school since the areas National School was burned several years before. It was still used as a school at the time of this incident and the school books inside were saved from the fire.
Circumstances surrounding the event.
This incident was reported in the Enniscorthy Guardian and although the article doesn’t mention who may have been responsible it does say that the hall had been raided by the military on a couple of occasions during the last few months. This indicates that it was targeted by the British authorities before, likely as it may have been associated with republican activity in some form or another. It would be unlikely that the damage was caused by any republican element as it was a focal point for the local community and was also being used as a school. Therefore it was most likely an incidence of sabotage secretively undertaken by the Black and Tans or Auxiliaries, perhaps as a reprisal for something done to them or the police.
The Site Today
Nothing survives of Cushenstown Hall today except the concrete foundations of the building. The stone wall and piers which are visible at the front of the building in the photo from 1921 still survive.
Enniscorthy Guardian, 1st January 1921, p4
Enniscorthy Guardian, 8th January 1921, p5