On the 13th of May 1920 the R.I.C Barracks in Killurin was burned by members of the I.R.A, Glynn company. It had already been vacated by the police, like so many other rural barracks at the time as they were considered more open to attack and the police were then stationed elsewhere. Burning the building ensured it could not be reoccupied. It was a rented building and during the compensation claim brought before the court it was indicated that paraffin oil was used in the burning. Some time after it was rebuilt and is now a private residence.
On Saturday night the 16th of May 1920 Ballinaboola police barracks was burned. It had been vacated by the police for some time before this. A previous attempt was made to burn the building a few days earlier on Wednesday the 12th of May which resulted in a portion of the roof being damaged. The second attempt however was more successful with the entire structure catching fire. (The New Ross Standard, 21st May 1920). Situated at a fork in the road along the main Wexford to New Ross route it is visible on the 1905 ordinance survey map as the largest and most prominent building in the village. It had been used as a police barracks since at least circa 1839, being visible on the ordinance survey maps from then.
The building like so many other barracks in the county was rented and in July that year it was reported the owner Patrick Byrne appealed the county court decision whereby he was awarded £200 compensation for the burning of the barracks after asking for £2000. (New Ross Standard, 9th July 1920). It was one of many destroyed in 1920 by the I.R.A to ensure it could not be reoccupied and therefore limited British operations in the area. The South Wexford Brigade activity files report that the 1st Company (New Ross) were responsible for the burning. No trace of the barracks remains today
On Saturday morning the 24th of July 1920 the R.I.C barracks in Killinick was burned by the IRA. The ‘New Ross Standard’ newspaper gave the following account of the event.
‘The police left Killinick , some on pensions some transferred to other stations, on Friday evening, (the 23rd of July). They vacated the barrack about 8 p.m. At about 2 a.m. on Saturday morning it was noticed that the barrack was in a blaze and when the people passed to their several business nothing but the smoking ruins were to be seen. On Saturday evening the burning of all inside woodwork was carried out. It was believed that the military were going to take up quarters in the barrack immediatly on its evacuation by the police. Strong colour was lent to this belief when it was found out that the military had comandeered quarters at the residence of Mrs. Burke, Bennertsbridge, not far from Killinick, on Saturday.‘ (New Ross Standard, 30th July 1920)
The Irish Examiner later in November of that same year reported on an incident where a ‘John Sinnott’ of Wexford was being tried by court-martial in Cork after a document ‘purporting to emanate from an officer of an unlawful association.’ was found in his home. This document described the activities of an I.R.A company, one of which included the burning of Killinick barracks. It also gave a good description of the barracks before it was burned which details how well fortified the building was.
‘An inspection of Killinick Barrack gave very useful information. Besides being fortified with steel shutters, sandbags etc. there were various bombing holes prepared, the wall being excavated from inside and just a shell of mortar left on outside. These holes were about two and a half feet by one. This particular barrack was especially strong and there were wire entanglements on the surrounding grounds.’ (Irish Examine, 4th November 1920, page 7)
These ‘bombing holes’ mentioned were to allow those inside to throw grenades and other explosive devices from inside the building at potential attackers on the outside. By July 1920 many barracks in the county had been burned while others, such as Clonroche barracks, had been attacked. Consequently it is no surprise that a rural barrack such as Killinick had become so fortified given the faith of other such buildings. It may also had been done in preparation for the military to occupy it. The barracks was one of many sabotaged by the I.R.A to ensure they could not be reoccupied and therefore reduced the British authorities’ capacity to operate in those areas. The South Wexford Brigade activity reports record that companies A (Murrinstown), B (Bridgetown) and C (Broadway) of the 3rd Battalion were responsible for the burning. Little trace remains today of the former barracks, hidden behind dense overgrowth. A service building is the most noticeable feature today which stands on the site.
On Wednesday night the 12th of May 1920 the R.I.C barracks in Tintern was set afire and burned. Previously in November 1919 orders had been issued to close the barracks and the acting Sergeant, Edmond Larissy, reassigned elsewhere. However, the building was not completely vacated as his wife, Julia Agnes Larrissy, still resided there with their two children. On the night it was burned she and the children were ordered to leave the building and interestingly the families furniture was removed for them by those who set out to burn the barracks. It can be seen on the front lawn of the house in the above photo. The South Wexford Brigade activity files report that A company (Gusserrane) and G company (St. Leonards) of the 2nd Battalion were responsible for the burning.
The barracks was located at a crossroads known as ‘Poundtown’, beside the entrance into Tintern abbey, the home of the Couclough family who were large landowners in the area and also owned the building used for the barracks, which was rented from them. A barracks had stood on the site since around 1839, as one is depicted on the ordinance survey maps from the period. The photo shows it was a large structure, possibly built of stone and with a slated roof. In the 1911 census buildings return it is shown to contain between 7-9 rooms, further indicating its large size. Sergeant Edmond is listed in Tintern with his family also on the 1911 census, therefore by 1920 they had lived in the area for quiet a long time. The courtesy shown to them by the removal of their furniture might suggest they were respected locally and perhaps in good standing within the community. This was not the first instance of an attack on the barracks in its lifetime as an newspaper article from 1833 reports how 3 men were arrested for taking arms and planning to attack it (Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 12.03.1833, page 2). No trace of Tintern Barracks remains today and the site is grass covered with some trees planted.
The New Ross Standard newspaper reported that in the early hours of Friday morning the 4th of April 1920 the police hut in Rosbercon, located across the river from New Ross town, was burned. The hut was a simple structure made built of brick and stone with a sheet iron roof. Locals in the area were awoken in the night by the sound of the hut’s roof falling in and by sunrise nothing was left of the building but what was described as ‘… a heap of ashes and charred brick and iron.’ It was also reported there was no furniture in the building at the time and that the blaze could be seen for miles around. According to the I.R.A brigade activity files A company, which was the New Ross company, was responsible for its destruction. Today the site where the hut would have stood is a private residence with likley no trace of the former hut remaining.
New Ross Standard 9th April 1920, p4
South Wexford Brigade Activity Files
A special thanks to Myles Courtney and Richard McElwee for their help and providing information for this article.
The Freemans Journal on the 19th of May 1918 reported that the rural R.I.C Barracks in Clonevan , south of Ballygarret village, had closed. The police had vacated the building and were reassigned to other barracks elsewhere in the county. It lay vacant and undisturbed until Thurdsay night the 13th of May 1920 when it was burned by the I.R.A. A newspaper description stated of the damage that ‘nothing remains but bare walls’ (Freemans Journal 20th May 1920). Patrick Ronan from Ferns, a member of the I.R.A in North Wexford, in his Military Withness statement (#1157), stated that the Ferns Company of the I.R.A were responsible. Clonevan was one of several empty barracks in rural Wexford burned around this time, to ensure they could not be re-occupied by the police or the newly arrived black and tans. This tactic confined the authorities to barracks in more urban settings such as towns and villages and left large areas of countryside for the I.R.A to roam freely. £450 in compensation was later paid for damages to the barracks (Irish Times July 20th 1920) and in 1924 tenders were invited by the Commissioners of Public Works for restoration works (Irish Times Dec 18th 1924). It later served as a Garda station for a number of years until 1972 when it was advertised for sale. Today it is a private residence and is the only barracks in Wexford with a known photograph of after it was burned.
Freemans Journal 20th May 1920
Irish Times 7th July 1920
irish Times 18th December 1924
Irish Times 14th May 1920
Irish Times 22nd September 1923
Patrick Ronan, Ferns, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement #1157
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.
Edward Balfe, 28 shannon Hill, Enniscorthy. Bureau of Military History Witness Statement #1373
On Wednesday the 12th of May 1920 the rural police barracks at Galbally was burned. It had already been vacated by the police, like so many other rural barracks, and was one of many burnt in Wexford during the period to deny the authorities of its use and therefore allow the I.R.A more freedom to operate. The barracks had been in operation since about 1840 , being visible on the ordinance survey maps from the time. It was being rented for use by the police and the owner was awarded £500 compensation by the courts for its destruction. Later the building was repaired and today is a private residence.
The Irish Times, 14th May 1920
The Irish Times, 7th July 1920
North Wexford Brigade Activity Files
Bureau of Military History Witness Statement #1373
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
In May 1920 the barrack in Blackwater village was set on fire and burned. The building, which was later repaired and is today used as a private residence, is located on the southern end of the village. It had been in use as a police barracks since at least 1839, being visible on the ordinance survey maps from that period. It was an imposing two story building which would have been very noticeable on the approach into Blackwater. The barracks was unoccupied at the time of the burning, having being vacated earlier like so many other rural barracks with the officers assigned to others in more urban settings which were easier to defend. It was one of many barracks burned in Wexford that month with the aim of denying the British authorities of its use as a base in the area. It was reported that a number of people in the village attempted to extinguish the blaze as it was feared it was going to spread to neighboring buildings. By the time they succeeded however the barracks was totally destroyed.
North Wexford Brigade Activity Files
Wexford People, ‘Many Police Barracked Burned in the Troubles’ 29th December 1999,