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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Irish Uprising: 1921

“Nov. 1920 was surrounded by Auxiliaries under command of Thomas McInerney. Was on the run for two months.”

William Quinn’s service with the Irish Volunteers/IRA appeared to have ended in 1920. What happened during that ambush in November 1920?  Why was he “on the run?”

In a 1939 narrative about his service in 1920, William Joseph Quinn II wrote, “My home was sacked and burned   the tans were looking for me   when I was not here they burned my house outhouses and all the hay corn and live stock   my brother was home so they beat him and fractured his scull with the result that he is now in an insane assilum in Ballinasloe. Was on the run latter part of year   took part in the burning of Kinvara RIC Barricks, Kileolgar house.  Took  part in several ambushes in Kinvara  Ballindereen  Adrdrahan and some in Co Clare. I am sorry I can not memorise any of the dates aft Jan 1921”

While William Quinn was vague about the date that his home was burned, Michael Fahey was not. Michael, a friend and neighbor of the Quinn family in Ireland, accurately reported that the original Quinn family home was burned by the “tan” on February 11, 1921.  The following accounts of the burning of the Quinn home were found in old Irish newspapers.

Galway Man’s Plight
Stripped and Clothes Burned
A number of disguised men on Friday night, a Gort report says, visited the house of Mrs. B. Quinn, Cahiraroneen, Kinvara, where 9 young men were card-playing. These were taken outside, put against a wall, and ordered to take off their clothes. Two made their escape, and as they did so shots were fired. The clothes of the remainder were put in a heap and burned, and they, meantime, were compelled to lie on the road face downward.
The dwelling house, some corn, and a barn containing oats, potatoes, machinery, etc., were also set on fire. The young men were after told to clear off, and as they did so, more shots were fired. Mrs. Quinn says the raiders stated they were looking for murderers of police, but no murder of Crown forces had taken place in that district. Mr. P. Glynn of the same district, it is also alleged, was taken from his bed on Friday night and ill treated.
From the Irish Independent - Monday, February 21, 1921

 (From Our Correspondent)
            On Friday night, the 11th inst. a party of men, numbering about fourteen, visited the house of Mrs. Bridget Quinn, widow, Caheraroneen, Kinvara. The party wore false moustaches and beards. On entering the house, where about nine young men were card-playing, they ordered’ “Hands up!” and questioned each man.  Then they searched the house, and put the men outside the door.  As each man passed the threshold he is alleged to have been ill treated. When the last man had come out, all were placed against a wall and ordered to take off their clothes. At this moment two of the men made good their escape by running away, seven or eight shots being discharged in their direction.
            The remaining seven men had to take off their clothes, which were then placed in a heap and burned to ashes.  Meanwhile the dwelling-house was set on fire, and when this was done the barn and two stacks of corn were burned. The barn contained oats, potatoes, machinery, etc. in the stable were two horses which had narrow escapes from the flames. 
            The owner, Mrs. Quinn, implored the raiders to allow her to free the animals while the buildings were burning, and they did so. Fowl fled to and fro in the yard, and were killed.  While the young men’s clothes were burning, they had to lie on the road, face downwards. After about an hour, when the second party of raiders came from another house {Patrick Glynn’s home}, the men were ordered to stand up, and, it is alleged, they were marched about one-and – a – half miles to where two lorries were situated, and compelled to sing “God Save the King,” the words being repeated after one of the men in charge. Ultimately they were told to “clear off,” several shots were fired after them. The flames from Mrs. Quinn’s house lighted up the village.  The young men were scarcely able to move after the terrible ordeal they had gone through. 
            Mrs. B. Quinn, in an interview stated: “When the raiders arrived my daughters and I were placed in a room, and instructed to stay there. The outer door was locked on us, and they began to set fire to the house. We were told to go out the back door.  There was no back door to the house; so I informed them of this.  We were then allowed to go out the front door.  Immediately the house was set on fire, and then the barn, stables, and two stacks of corn were burned. While all were burning the young men who were at my home were being badly treated on the road.  My two horses were badly burned, as it was with great difficulty I was able to loose them from their stalls.  The raiders stated they were looking for the murderers of police. No murder of Crown forces has taken place in this district.  I am now left with my house and everything inside it burned, and I did not get one moment to take out anything.”
From the Connacht Tribune - Saturday, February 19, 1921

Search At Mr. Patrick Glynn’s Caheraroneen 
            On Friday night the 11tin inst., the house of Mr. Patrick Glynn, Caheraroneen, Kinvara was searched. Mr. Glynn was in bed at the time the searchers arrived. He was told to get up and open the door. He did so, and on answering his name, it is alleged, he was ill-treated and brought outside, where a man with a hay-fork placed him against the wall, put a prong of the fork each side of his neck, and held him there with his hands up.  While he was in this position the house was searched.  The party then came out and closed the door.  Mr. Glynn was marched along the road from his house and it is alleged, beaten with rifles and the hay-fork.  A flash-lamp was turned on him, and he was ordered to “clear off” when several shots were fired after him.
                                    From the Connacht Tribune - Saturday, February 19, 1921

Michael Fahey might have been one of those nine young men. Although much younger than William Quinn, he served in the old IRA. Michael Fahey stated, “Willie {William Joseph Quinn II} was missing so they burned the house. Willie left in August or September 1920. He went to Dublin, then to Galway, and then to the USA.”

Peter Quinn, William’s brother was one of the seven young men abused by the disguised men. Michael said, “Peter was dragged to town by the tans.” This was three miles from the town of Kinvara.  William Quinn wrote, “my brother was home so they beat him and fractured his scull with the result that he is now in an insane assilum in Ballinasloe.” Michael Fahey said, “Peter was in good health for awhile. Peter had the land in the 1930s. 55acres. Put in a home.” Bill’s notes from his 1980 visit with Michael was “Peter- hospital and died.”  

As always, please contact me if you have heard stories about the burning, William Quinn’s service, or have any other Quinn/ Murray family information to share.  I have the following questions:

When and where did Peter Quinn die? Where is he buried?

When did Bridget Quinn die and where is she buried?

Which daughters were at home when the house was burned? All but Delia (Bridget) had moved to the United States. 

See my site for Quinn/Murray pictures. Does anyone have additional pictures to share? 


Next - The Irish Uprising:  The Quinn Home


© 2011, copyright Diana Quinn

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