Ambush at Cnocán Mór, Milltown

Combined RIC and Black and Tan patrol.

Milltown Heritage


There was an ambush on June 27th 1921 at Cnocán Mór on the Milltown-Tuam road by a Flying Column under the command of Tom Dunleavy. The squad, which had seven local volunteers lay in wait for a combined RIC and Black and Tan patrol. Two members of the patrol were shot dead, Sergeant James Murrin and Constable Edgar Day. There were two others, one an unnamed policeman, who it is recalled was wounded and the other a Tan named Carter who escaped. It is said that Carter later continued on patrol triumphantly displaying the bullet hole in his cap during the shootout. Ironically, Sergeant Murrin was to have retired on pension a week earlier but due to a delay in the processing of his final documentation, he was required to remain at his post. Constable Day, a young man, was a native of Nottingham, England. Ambushes such as this were quite common during this period in areas where there was military activity.

The Egg-Shed Ambush, Milltown

This ambush was carried out in middle of April 1921 by ten to twelve local volunteers during the War of Independence. This event is referred to in popular folk memory as the ‘egg-shed ambush’ because of its occurrence at the site of the old egg shed. It is recounted that two RIC constables returning to the barracks after patrolling the nearby railway station were attacked and wounded. The purpose behind the attack was to confiscate the policemen’s rifles and ammunition. However, a number of armed policemen and Black and Tans rushed from the nearby police barracks and managed to retrieve the rifles. The old egg shed was where eggs were sorted and stored for collection by the large egg buyers and is a reminder of a time when the local farming communities traded and bartered eggs as part of their purchase of household provisions.

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