#OTD in 1903 – An elephant named Sita kills her keeper tending her sore foot in Dublin Zoo.

Dublin Zoo was opened in 1831, making it the fourth oldest zoo in Europe. The Zoo’s first elephant was a female called Sita, and her keeper was James McNally. In 1903 Sita cut her foot and as James was applying ointment to her wound, she knocked him down with her trunk and stamped on his […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Carrowkennedy Ambush: 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 […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The newly created Royal Ulster Constabulary took over the policing of Northern Ireland.

Following the partition of Ireland, it was decided to disband the RIC as an All-Ireland police force. In southern Ireland a new police force, the Civic Guard later Garda Siochana was formed, while in Northern Ireland the Royal Ulster Constabulary was established on 1 June 1922 as the police force for Northern Ireland. The RUC […]

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#OTD in 1919 – Dan Breen and Seán Treacy rescue their comrade Seán Hogan from a Dublin-Cork train at Knocklong, Co Limerick; two policemen guarding him are killed.

In one of the most dramatic events in the Irish War of Independence, a handcuffed young Tipperary volunteer, Seán Hogan, was rescued from a train while sat between four armed members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). Two RIC were killed in the attack and a number of the volunteers wounded. The rescue was undertaken […]

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#OTD in 1920 – The Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, suggested the formation of a “Special Emergency Gendarmerie, which would become a branch of the Royal Irish Constabulary.”

In response to ongoing violence and rebellion in Ireland and a brutal campaign of attrition against members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the ADRIC was recruited in Great Britain from among ex-officers who had served in World War I, especially those who had served in the British Army (including the Royal Flying Corps). Most […]

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#OTD in 1916 – The first casualties of the Easter Rising were on Good Friday in Co Kerry.

Three Volunteers, Con Keating, Charlie Monahan and Donal Sheehan, drowned when their car plunged off a pier into the sea while they were on the way to Cahirciveen in order to set up radio communications with Sir Roger Casement and the German arms ship the Aud. Five men set off from Dublin by train to […]

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#OTD in 1922 – The ‘Arnon Street Massacre’ – Belfast.

Six Catholic civilians, three in Arnon Street, were shot dead. It is believed that members of either the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) or of the RIC were responsible, acting in retaliation for the killing of an RIC officer by the IRA. Although the Irish War of Independence officially ended in July 1921, the IRA’s conflict with […]

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#OTD in 1922 – McMahon killings: In Belfast, policemen break into the home of a Catholic family and shoot all eight males inside, killing six.

At about 1.00 am on 24 March, gunmen broke into the home of a middle-class Catholic family who lived at 3 Kinnaird Terrace, near the Antrim Road in North Belfast. Publican Owen McMahon lived there with his wife, six sons, his daughter, and his barman, Edward McKinney. The McMahon family had no connection to any […]

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#OTD in 1921 – Scramogue Ambush: An IRA ambush is mounted on Strokestown-Longford road by south Co Roscommon IRA.

Roscommon was not one of the more violent areas of Ireland during the conflict. The local IRA argued to their GHQ that it was very difficult to conduct guerrilla warfare in the flat open countryside there. Prior to the action at Scramogue, the biggest previous incident had been in October 1920, when four RIC policemen […]

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#OTD in 1884/1920 – Tomás MacCurtain (born in Cork City), revolutionary and Lord Mayor of Cork is both born and assassinated on this date.

On his 36th birthday, Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain was shot dead in front of his wife and son by a group of men with blackened faces, who were found to be members of the RIC by the official inquest into the event. Mac Curtain’s house in the city’s Blackpool area, […]

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