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On this day - the attack on Clara RIC Barracks, 2nd June 1920

Éireann_Ascendant

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An article on the attack on Clara RIC Barracks by several companies of the Offaly IRA which resulted in one dead and two others seriously wounded.

Undefeated: The Attack and Defence of Clara RIC Barracks, June 1920


By then, the RIC were very much on the wane as a police force. An internal review by the British Army on its performance during this war described the RIC as having:

…lost control over the population even in the towns and villages in which they were stationed, and it was becoming the exception rather than the rule for head constables and sergeants in command at outstations to do more than live shut up in their barracks.
In contrast, the IRA were very much in the ascendant. Its attack on Clara Barracks would display a shrewd understanding in how to isolate a target beforehand and an array of sophisticated, if unsubtle, techniques against a fortified position.

The inhabitants of Clara and those in nearby towns were awoken that night by the sounds of gunshots and lightning-like flashes. The latter were from the Verey flare guns that the besieged garrison were sending up to call for aid, and one of the participants in the assault would remember them vividly in his Bureau of Military History Statement:

While we were in the yard showers of multi-coloured verey lights came down on top of us. When the verey lights were fired they went right into the air like a star, then spread out like miniature fiery balls of many brilliant colours.
The Crown forces would learn from the battle on how to improve their counter-insurgency in Ireland:

1. The RIC to be concentrated in larger garrisons than before.
2. Directive boards to be set up at all military look-out posts, and the firing of alarm signals from neighbouring barracks to be practised.
3. Instructions in the care and firing of rockets and other alarm signals to be offered to soldiers and RIC.
4. Barracks in obviously untenable positions to be evacuated.
5. Military lorries to carry equipment that would help clear barricades, road trenches or damaged bridges, such as cross-cut saws, hawsers and temporary bridging equipment.

As well as a major operation for the area, the battle of Clara Barracks provides a dramatic example of the sort of warfare at that stage in the War of Independence and Ireland's fight for freedom.
 


Éireann_Ascendant

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I'm surprised anything happened in Offaly during the Anglo-Irish war
A bit more than one would assume - there was an ambush on a RIC bicycle patrol at Kinnitty in May 1921 in which two policemen were killed, and a few people murdered as spies including members of the (Protestant) Pearson family (still debated as to whether it was sectarianism or not) - but otherwise, yeah, there's a reason you don't hear too much about Offaly during this period.
 

Ex celt

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An article on the attack on Clara RIC Barracks by several companies of the Offaly IRA which resulted in one dead and two others seriously wounded.

Undefeated: The Attack and Defence of Clara RIC Barracks, June 1920


By then, the RIC were very much on the wane as a police force. An internal review by the British Army on its performance during this war described the RIC as having:



In contrast, the IRA were very much in the ascendant. Its attack on Clara Barracks would display a shrewd understanding in how to isolate a target beforehand and an array of sophisticated, if unsubtle, techniques against a fortified position.

The inhabitants of Clara and those in nearby towns were awoken that night by the sounds of gunshots and lightning-like flashes. The latter were from the Verey flare guns that the besieged garrison were sending up to call for aid, and one of the participants in the assault would remember them vividly in his Bureau of Military History Statement:



The Crown forces would learn from the battle on how to improve their counter-insurgency in Ireland:

1. The RIC to be concentrated in larger garrisons than before.
2. Directive boards to be set up at all military look-out posts, and the firing of alarm signals from neighbouring barracks to be practised.
3. Instructions in the care and firing of rockets and other alarm signals to be offered to soldiers and RIC.
4. Barracks in obviously untenable positions to be evacuated.
5. Military lorries to carry equipment that would help clear barricades, road trenches or damaged bridges, such as cross-cut saws, hawsers and temporary bridging equipment.

As well as a major operation for the area, the battle of Clara Barracks provides a dramatic example of the sort of warfare at that stage in the War of Independence and Ireland's fight for freedom.
1 dead and two injured. Devastating stuff from several companies of gunmen. Did they break any windows as well?
At least by the 1970s they had upped their game and were able to take out multiple enemy personnel in one go at La Mon,Birmingham,Kingsmills,Bloody Friday,Abercorn,Claudy etc. New techniques also ensured that your people got offside in case there was any unpleasantness afterwards.
 

RasherHash

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A bit more than one would assume - there was an ambush on a RIC bicycle patrol at Kinnitty in May 1921 in which two policemen were killed, and a few people murdered as spies including members of the (Protestant) Pearson family (still debated as to whether it was sectarianism or not) - but otherwise, yeah, there's a reason you don't hear too much about Offaly during this period.
You can't murder spies, they are combattants.
 

Éireann_Ascendant

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Ah yes I remember watching a docu about the Pearsons. Coolacrease or something I think
That's the one.

Like the killings in Cork, it's a topic that excites a lot of strong feeling, often from people with an axe or two to grind.

As far as I know, the only contemporary account of what happened is the Bureau of Military History Statement of Michael Cordial - the Pearsons had been "violently opposed to National Movement" and opened fire on some Volunteers who were blocking their road, wounding them - it's not clear if the Pearsons fired because they were "violently opposed" to the Volunteers or were just reacting to intruders.

Cordial doesn't say whether he was present, so it's not an entirely satisfactory account, but there it is.
 

Boy M5

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Owen Harris brings up the Pearson killings on occasion.
Hardly does their memory or case any service.
 

freewillie

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The Volunteers were organised throughout the country but different counties had different levels of activities. When country leaders apart from the very active Munster men came to Dublin Collins and Mulcahy were always pressing them to increase attacks and thus take the pressure off Dublin where there was so much British activity centred.
 

Eric Cartman

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I remember reading on here a long long time ago when a couple of posters 'outed' ex-celt. They compared the phrases he uses and his grammar etc to Harris' Sindo articles and they uncanningly were similar. The person to whom you refer has been commenting on this thread only this morning :)
Did he say 'pettifogging', yet? :D
 

McTell

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No
Offaly was big on the "Big House" burnings - more so during the civil war - there appears to have been a financial angle on this particular one - for both sides :lol:


https://www.offalyhistory.com/reading-resources/history/history-by-place/leap-castle-the-burning-of

Problem was, the rest of us had to pay for the anti-treatyites love of arson.

Interesting also from the article that the Darbys were there for "300 years", but in fact the first Mr Darby had got the castle and lands as a dowry on marrying an O Conor Eile heiress. So it was way more than 300 years of inheritance.
 

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