The Battle of Crossbarry, March 19th 1921

The War of Independence and Civil War had profound impacts on Irish people, both individually and collectively, not least in the county of Cork. It is estimated that over 700 people lost their lives in the county owing to this tumultuous period (1920 to 1923) and one hundred years later, groups throughout the county are undertaking a range of different projects to commemorate this period in our history – many through the annual County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme, supported by Cork County Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

There were many significant events in the County of Cork during the period 1920 – 1923, beginning with what was reported as the first officially sanctioned attack on an RIC Barracks in Carrigtwohill on 03/01/20 to the killing of Liam Lynch (Head of Anti-Treaty Forces) on 10/04/23, who although from Limerick, had spent most of his life living in Cork (Fermoy). 1920 saw the assassination of Tomás Mac Curtain from Mourneabbey in North Cork; the death of Terence McSwiney from hunger strike who had represented mid-County Cork as a T.D. in the First Dáil and the very significant Kilmichael Ambush on 28/11/20, which saw 20 deaths. 1921, too, was a significant year in the County with ambushes in Dripsey, Cúl na Cathrach, The Battle of Crossbarry, and the greatest loss of Republican life at any War of Independence engagement – the Clonmult Ambush. 2022 will see the centenary commemoration of the assassination of Michael Collins and 2023, the centenary of the killing of Liam Lynch.

It is evident from the historical record that the county of Cork played a most pivotal role in the Anglo-Irish War of Independence and ensuing Civil War. Cork is a county that values its past and those people, men and women, who have given us our future.

In recognition of the importance of the War of Independence and Civil War one hundred years ago, Cork County Council has produced a draft centenary timeline spanning the 1920-1923 period with said listing having more than 500 entries. These include all the key occurrences of 1920 – 1923 including all major events from the County of Cork (including some other locations that involved people from County Cork), as well as key developments on the national level during this timeframe. All key ambushes, attacks and executions are included as well as events that saw the loss of life of Cork people, whether in Cork or further afield. This timeline is available to view on the upcoming heritage events section of www.corkcoco.ie/arts-heritage and at:  https://www.corkcoco.ie/sites/default/files/2020-02/centenary-timeline-for-the-county-of-cork-1920-to-1924.pdf.

Cork County Council has also published books on this part of their history. Two of these such publications are 1916:2016 Commemorating the Centenary in the County of Cork and Heritage Centenary Sites of Rebel County Cork. These publications are available from the Skibbereen Heritage Centre Online Shop (https://skibbheritage.com/shop/) .

For more information on upcoming commemorative events and projects in the county of Cork visit https://www.corkcoco.ie/en/arts-heritage-irish-language/commemorations or email commemorations@corkcoco.ie.

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