1921 – Carrowkennedy Ambush, Co Mayo: Michael Kilroy and the IRA’s West Mayo Flying Column ambushed a convoy of RIC and Black and Tans.

The ambush was organised by Major General Michael Kilroy, later Commandant of the 4th Western Battalion of the IRA. He and his flying column of 33 volunteers took up position between Widow Sammon’s House and that of Widow McGreal in Carrowkennedy and awaited a Royal Irish Constabulary patrol. When a unit of Black and Tans arrived, the volunteers opened fire. Seven of the British side were killed outright or died of their wounds and sixteen surrendered. A large number of weapons were seized. The Black and Tans who surrendered were not killed, even though this policy had been endorsed by IRA General Headquarters due to the terror and mayhem they inflicted on civilians. Many of the local people went into hiding to avoid the retribution of the Tans. The IRA volunteers escaped arrest by sheltering in safe houses.

Photo: An unknown group of senior officers of an Auxiliary company. This group of Auxilaries was taken at the entrance gates to Westport House in June/July 1921. There are two other pictures extant, one of a larger group of about twenty, and one of the Auxies in sports gear. They had been sent from Galway to bolster the RIC after the Carrowkennedy ambush of 2 June 1921. When the Truce became operative, this group was moved on to Boyle where they were eventually disbanded.

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