Attack on Ruan RIC Barracks

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Raids and Ambushes - Attack on Ruan RIC Barracks

About the middle of October, 1920, I received word from brigade headquarters to select ten or twelve men from my battalion, each of whom was to be armed with a revolver, for the purpose of raiding the R.I.C. barracks in Ruan. This operation was planned by the brigade staff, and Ruan is about twelve miles, as the crow flies, from Kilfenora. The following are the names, which I can remember, of those whom I selected: -

  Sean McNamara - Noughaval Company
  Nicholas Healy - "
  Paddy Devitt - "
  Tom Shalloo - Vice Commandant
  James Kelleher - Cloona Company
  Peadar Considine - Battalion Quartermaster
  Paddy Hehir - Kilshanny Company
  Mickey Vaughan - Kilfenora Company
  Paddy Ward - "

A few nights after hearing from the brigade, I took a party to Kilnaboy where a scout joined us and led the way across country to Ruan which we reached about half-past four next morning. Outside Ruan, we met Joe Barrett, brigade O/C operation, who explained that there had been a change in plans and that we would not be going into the barracks, but instead we would do outpost duty a quarter of a mile outside the village of Ruan on the Corofin road, to deal with any enemy reinforcements that might come from the R.I.C. barracks in Corofin, about three miles away. Barrett then asked for the revolvers which we were carrying and gave us rifles instead. He told us too, that, for the previous couple of days, he had been training men from the 1st and 2nd battalions in mock attacks in which each man was put through the part he would be called on to take in capturing the Ruan barracks. We then went on to the position which had been allotted to us.

So far as my party was concerned, nothing happened until after daybreak when a scout came from the direction of the barracks and told us the operation was a failure. About five minutes later another scout arrived with the correct account. The barracks had been captured with all its equipment, and the garrison were prisoners. In a short while, we were called into the village where two of the police, Constables Wilmot and Carroll, were handed over to us, with orders to detain them in my battalion area until further instructions were received. Taking the two prisoners, we made our journey homewards without incident, having got a much needed feed on the way at O’Briens, Caherlough. The two prisoners were sent on to Diffley’s cottage in Carron where the local company provided a guard over them.

I forgot to mention that a char-a-banc to take away the booty from the Ruan barracks was provided by Dwyer’s of Lisdoonvarna. This vehicle was driven by Mick Delahunty, a Tipperary man who was then employed in Dwyer’s. I can give no exact figures as to what comprised the booty but as far as I can remember hearing it included 14 rifles, 14 revolvers, several thousand rounds of ammunition, hand grenades and all the policeman’s bicycles. The R.I.C. barracks was burned to the ground.

Three nights after the taking of Ruan barracks, John Joe Clohessy, then attached to the brigade staff, came to me with orders to release Constable Wilmot. I cycled with him to Diffley’s in Carron and set this prisoner at liberty. The other prisoner's detention was only a sham. He, Constable Carroll was the man who had planned and arranged the capture of the barracks and it was pre-arranged that as soon as this was accomplished he would join the I.R.A. and go into active service with our battalion. Subsequently he fought in a number of engagements with the Mid-Clare brigade.

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