Irish Civil War History in Sligo, Ireland, by J. McGowan
The Civil War started on 28 June 1922 with the attack on the Four Courts building in Dublin. They held it for about a week under more withering bombardment, mortars, cannons, and shelling, eventually surrendering.
During the month of July there were a number of military actions in the Sligo area. In early July the Irish Republican Army (IRA) took control of Collooney, and two weeks later the Free State Army (FSA) under General Sean MacEoin recaptured the town and took a large number of prisoners.
Thursday 13th July, a party of over 20 FSA troops was ambushed at Rockwood near Sligo town. In this action the IRA captured the armoured car called “Ballinalee” (Motor cars were a rare thing in Ireland at that time). Three FSA soldiers were killed in the engagement.
August, 1922, was a quiet month on both sides. One significant event that did occur was the escape of nine key Republican leaders from Athlone. Among them were several captured by MacEoin at Collooney a few weeks earlier. These included Frank O’Beirne, Harry Brehony, and Dominick Benson.
In September, 1922, in Sligo there were major engagements in Ballina and on the Ox Mountains between Ballina and Tubbercurry and numerous local actions. The Military Archives contain a report dated 11 Sept 1922 of an FSA intelligence survey of North Sligo and Rahelly. The report includes information on the number of IRA men, their arms and equipment, the areas occupied, the tent camp at Castlegal in North Sligo, Rahelly house defences and road blocks.
It is clear from reading this report, that the FSA were planning a major military action and September, for Sligo County, it was the most active period during the civil war.
On or about Sept. 23, 1922, some men were captured in or about the Ox Mountains (see attached article):