Sent Up in Flames

‘Many a time I walked for three or four hours without meeting even one human being. Here and there a stately mansion, around it the gate lodge of the serf, the winding avenue, the spreading oaks, and the green fields in which no man was visible. Landlordism, the willing instrument of British rule, had wrought this desolation. I renewed my resolve to do my share in bringing about the change that must come sooner or later.’
Dan Breen, My Fight for Irish Freedom (1924) 

“I’ll bloody well settle that: six big houses and castles of their friends, the Imperialists, will go up for this. I don’t know what GHQ will do – but I don’t give a damn.” We selected six houses and castles from the half-inch map, then sent off the order.’
Ernie O’Malley quoting Liam Lynch in On Another Man’s Wound (1936)

‘Castles, mansions and residences were sent up in flames by the IRA immediately after the British fire gangs had razed the homes of Irish Republicans. Our people were suffering in this competition of terror, but the British Loyalists were paying dearly, the demesne walls were tumbling and the British ascendancy was being destroyed. Our only fear was that, as time went on, there would be no more Loyalist’s homes to destroy, for we intended to go on to the bitter end. If the Republicans of West Cork were to be homeless and without shelter, then so too would be the British supporters. ‘
Tom Barry, Guerilla Days in Ireland (1949)

Photographs show Deel Castle, County Mayo, formerly owned by the Gore family, Earls of Arran, and burnt by the IRA in September 1921. 

7 comments on “Sent Up in Flames

  1. says:

    Sad loss. I drove past it recently.

  2. Vincent Delany says:

    Much has been researched and written about the destruction of the big houses in Ireland by Terry Dooley and others. It is a sad period of our history. We cannot deny that it happened.

  3. TobyC says:

    Freedom isn’t free.

    English in Ireland is like Russians in Ukraine.

  4. Stephen Barker says:

    I have never heard about English firebombing of Republican homes before. Was this part of the campaign using the Black and Tans to terrorise Ireland into submission. One of the stupidest policy decisions made. The history of the two islands is a long unhappy story.

    • BobF says:

      Yes, it was government sanctioned. There are countless examples of Crown forces doing this. In July 1920, in the towns of Tuam, Co. Galway and Thurles, Co. Tipperary, the police burned several buildings, including the town hall at Tuam, in revenge for attacks on their men. In the village of Balbriggan near Dublin, a row broke out in a public house with two RIC men; it escalated and the two were shot. In reprisal it had 49 homes burned, 30 of them totally destroyed and two citizens murdered. In September several premises were burned by Crown forces’ The new Chief of Police for Ireland arrived there the following day, and instead of being critical of the police actions, told them ‘……this country is ruled by gunmen and they must be put down’. He promised the police machine guns, tanks if required and more reinforcement by ‘men who had been in the Army during the War and knew how to shoot to kill.’

  5. Emma Richey says:

    Are there any pictures of the house before it was burned? I have family connections to the Gore’s.

  6. Geralyn White says:

    Interesting to hear the dual narrative,
    To hear the ‘ Other ‘ voice

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