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their work well and had laid their plans well in advance. By March 1920 nothing had come to light. Liam Lynch moved into Drishanebeg and personally took charge of the case. A complete check of the whole population of Ballydaly convinced him that the robbery had been committed by local men. Then a few clues appeared; he was told of a light seen on a mountain six miles from the scene of the crime in the early hours of that morning; an armed man on horseback at a place no armed man should be without the knowledge of the local company captain. Then there was the story of a search made suspiciously in an old graveyard. On April 24, 1920, the Millstreet Battalion was ordered to arrest eight men in the town. The search for the men took several hours

during which time the RIC stayed in their fortified barrack and did not interfere. Seven of the men were found guilty; five deported and two excluded from the Battalion area;3 6 £9,208 was recovered and returned to the Bank. This action showed that the Volunteers were highly serious and efficiently organised and also that the morale of the RIC had collapsed. One of the bank robbers was not arrested until the beginning of October 1920 when the Column was billeted near Keale Bridge for a week during preparations for the ambush at Ballydrochane.

In October 1920 it was decided that the Battalion should build up its own Flying Column. The town of Millstreet was suffering much from the terrorism of the RIC and the Black and Tans Garrison. Michael O'Riordan has recorded: "None but the bravest

dared to venture about after nightfall. There were regular searches and highway robberies committed Black and Tans, not to mention the constant danger flying bullets fired by drunken hoodlums employed

murders, destruction of property,








caused to the by the British

people caused by the government to crush

the the

Irish." At a meeting on November 21st 1920 it was decided that from that moment Volunteers would not leave the town without protection. Thanks to the unceasing

efforts of Battalion commander, C. J. Meany and the Battalion Adjutant Jerry the men of the Millstreet area had been turned into as fine a fighting machine

Crowley as could

be in the had been

circumstances of forced to go into

the time. Father Joe Breen, chaplain at Drishane Convent, hiding after an attempt on his life. A fight took place on the

night of the

of November 22 between a party of Volunteers and Black and Tans Tans were wounded. The Volunteers suffered a severe loss however

in which two when captain

Paddy MacCarthy decided to occupy

was killed Millstreet

by on

a chance bullet from the following Tuesday

a passing RIC. Liam night, November 23,

lynch as he

anticipated British reprisals for the shooting of the Black and Tans; but the British garrison did not move out and the Column which consisted of nine men whose names were on the Black and Tan list for execution moved back into their billets. The Column was to be considerably reinforced later on when an effective Column of 40 men was formed from the Millstreet Battalion.

There were a number of other actions in the Millstreet area. In Father Ferris's notes there is an account of the Millstreet train ambush of February 11,1921 written by Jer Long; an account of the Banteer or Rathcoole ambush of August 26, 1921 taken from 'An t6glach\ Early in May 1921 over 1,000 British soldiers passed through Millstreet to a round-up on Claodach mountain; 600 to 800 soldiers were encamped at Leacadoite just before the round-up. The notes here say that that all, young and old,


This episode did not end so benignly. (Jack Lane)


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