Raids and Ambushes - Lisdoonvarna Hotel & Ballyvaughan Coastguards

During October, 1919, the Battalion O/C Peadar O'Loghlen, Frank Molyneaux, a chemist, who worked in Ennistymon, and myself travelled in a car, which Molyneaux had provided and which was driven by a Volunteer, named Thomas McDonagh, to Lisdoonvarna where we raided the private house of Mr. Curtin, proprietor, Lisdoonvarna Hotel. After knocking at the door, we got no answer and we forced an entrance, by using a crowbar. There was a caretaker in residence but he did not interfere. In the course of the search of the house, we found a Lee Enfield service rifle, a shotgun and an assortment of ammunition, all of which we seized.

Later in October, 1919, a party of about twenty Volunteers cycled from Kilfenora to Noughaval, about three miles, and, from the latter point, went afoot to Ballyvaughan coastguard station to help the local company in the capture of that building and to disarm the coastguard who was reported to be after getting equipped with rifles. At the moment, I'm not sure whether the Captain of the Ballyvaughan company, Sean McNamara, was in charge of this operation or not, but in any case it turned out to be an easy affair. The coastguard station was surrounded. Sean McNamara and Ignatius O'Neill (O/C, 4th battalion) surprised the night watchman who made no effort to resist and, after that, the remaining seven or eight of his colleagues were made prisoners. The booty was not as big as expected, only one service rifle, a couple of telescopes and some ammunition. The poor old coastguards were a rather harmless crowd, who generally were on goods terms with the people. They were mostly Englishmen whose duties consisted principally of keeping a look-out for smuggling by sea and of operating a lifeboat service. After the station had been captured, all the coastguards were assembled in one room where we joined with them in a sing-song and in friendly conversation. Being strangers, we tried to give the coastguards the impression that we were a crowd from Dublin, and we parted with them on the best of terms. The Ballyvaughan R.I.C. barracks was only about three-quarters of a mile from the coastguard station and, while the raid was in progress, we had posted a number of the local Volunteers on all the roads in the district to act as scouts and particularly to watch out for the movements of the police. One scout, named Thomas O'Loghlen, a blacksmith, was noticed by the police as they began to follow up his movements. He observed this and suddenly stood. The police stood too. He remained stationary for over an hour until he was satisfied the raid was well over and then went home. The police kept watching him and even his house after he had gone in there. Next day, he was questioned by them as to what he was doing on the previous night and he was safely able to answer, 'Just taking care of you fellows'.

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