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The Hugginstown RIC Barracks capture, 1920 - Podcast

19/08/20 12:17


The first RIC barracks capture in Leinster – Hugginstown, March 1920

Historian and Author Eoin Swithin Walsh explores the capture of the RIC Barracks in Hugginstown in 1920

During the early months of 1920 many RIC barracks were attacked, but few were ‘captured’. Capturing a barracks usually involved the police inside surrendering. Hugginstown Barracks was one such barracks capture, which occurred on a Monday night, 8 March 1920. Led by Tom Treacy and Jim Lalor from Kilkenny City, Willie Farrell and Nicholas Carroll from Hugginstown, and the ‘bomber’ Joe McMahon from County Clare, it was a major early coup for the Kilkenny IRA, making headlines around the country and beyond. It was not a good night for the RIC, however, who lost one of their constable’s, Thomas Ryan, who was wounded during the attack. This podcast examines in the detail the buildup to the night in question and what exactly occured in Hugginstown. 

Hugginstown-Barracks-Attack-1920---Eoin-Swithin-Walsh.mp3 (size 15.9 MB)


Hugginstown RIC Barracks, attack and capture - the aftermath

In the aftermath of the Hugginstown Barracks attack, an inquest was heard to try find out what had occurred. The Bishop of Ossory had stern words for the men who took part. Bridget Ryan, wife of the deceased constable, also had a long ordeal trying to get some form of compensation for her husband's death. Meanwhile, the Crown Forces rounded up a lot of young men from the area and interned them in prisons in Belfast and London. These men would eventually go on hunger-strike. Eventually, they were released and they all received heroes' welcomes on their return to Kilkenny. The county had changed much since they left; most notably, a large portion of the RIC barracks that had dotted the Kilkenny countryside had been destroyed in the meantime.

Hugginstown-aftermath-Mar-1920---eoin-swithin-walsh.mp3 (size 13.4 MB)

Group of those arrested after the Hugginstown attack

These Podcasts are the first in an ongoing series of Decade of Centenaries themed events developed by Kilkenny County County Library Service and funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht