Despite the perception held for some time that Kerry was relatively inactive during the War of Independence, the first six months of 1921 in Listowel and North Kerry was a turbulent time.

The very first day of the year witnessed the death of Listowel IRA volunteer and student of All Hallows John Lawlor, following a savage beating by the Black & Tans.

Later that month RIC Detective Inspector Tobias O’Sullivan was assassinated on the streets of Listowel, and in February 1921 most of Ballylongford was burned by the Black & Tans.

However, the months of April and May 1921 was the bloodiest period of the War in North Kerry.

On April 7th IRA volunteer Mick Galvin was killed by British forces during an ambush at Kilmorna. As a reprisal for this event, Kilmorna House was burned to the ground by the local IRA on April 14th and Sir Arthur Vicars who was staying in the house with his sister, was led to the end of the garden by three members of the Flying Column and shot dead.

On May 12th Crown forces shot dead three unarmed members of the IRA Flying Column – Paddy Dalton, Jerry Lyons and Paddy Walsh, at Gortaglanna, Knockanure, a short distance from Kilmorna. A fourth member, Con (Cornelius) Dee made a miraculous escape. This event has been immortalised in the famous ballad The Valley of Knockanure.

As part of its programme of events to commemorate the centenary of the War of Independence in Listowel and North Kerry, Kerry Writers’ Museum will host a series of online lectures during April and May as follows:

• April 9th – ‘Sir Arthur Vicars and the Irish Crown Jewels’ by historian, author & broadcaster Myles Dungan

• April 16th – ‘Kerry’s Downton Abbey: Pierce Mahony and the Kilmorna House Visitors Book’ by historian Tom Dillon

• April 30th – ‘What it said in the Papers: How the Press reported on the War of Independence in North Kerry’ by Kerry County Archivist Michael Lynch

• May 7th – ‘When Freedom’s Sword Was Drawn’: The Gortaglanna Tragedy, 12th May 1921’ by historian and author Martin Moore

• May 14th – ‘Rhyming History: The War of Independence & the Ballads of atrocity in the Valley of Knockanure’ by poet and author Gabriel Fitzmaurice

All lectures will take place live on ZOOM at 7.30 pm each night.

To get a free registration link email [email protected]

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