Kilmichael Ambush

Kilmichael Ambush

Military Conflict
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Kilmichael Ambush

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The Kilmichael Ambush () was an ambush near the village of Kilmichael in County Cork on 28 November 1920 carried out by the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence. Thirty-six local IRA volunteers commanded by Tom Barry killed seventeen members of the RIC Auxiliary Division. The Kilmichael ambush was of great political significance as it came just a week after Bloody Sunday and marked a profound escalation in the IRA's guerrilla campaign.


The Auxiliaries were commissioned officers and were raised in July 1920 and were regarded as a highly trained elite force by both sides in the conflict. The Auxiliaries engaged at Kilmichael all had previous experience in World War I.

The Auxiliaries and the Black and Tans rapidly became highly unpopular in Ireland for their intimidation of the civilian population and their arbitrary reprisals for IRA actions – including house burnings, beatings and killings. Only a week before the Kilmichael ambush, the Auxiliaries had fired on a football match in Croke Park, killing fourteen civilians (thirteen spectators and one player).

The Auxiliaries in Cork were based in the town of Macroom, and in November 1920 they carried out a number of raids on the villages in the surrounding area – including Dunmanway, Coppeen and Castletownkenneigh – to intimidate the local population away from supporting the IRA - shooting at least one civilian dead. In his memoirs, Tom Barry noted that the IRA had...
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