The centenary of the burning of Tubbercurry by the Black & Tans at the end of September will be commemorated by the Phoenix Players Drama Group.
On Sept 30th 1920 in the middle of the Irish War of Independence, a band of IRA Volunteers ambushed an RIC convoy on its way back to Tubbercurry from Sligo, via Ballymote. The ambush occurred at Chaffpool and in the exchange, an RIC Officer, District Inspector James Brady, aged 21, was shot and killed. Two other officers were badly wounded but survived.
The Black & Tans were stationed in Howley's House on Teeling Street, Tubbercurry, next door to the present Bank of Ireland. This house was also next door to the RIC Barracks of the time.
When D.I. Brady was pronounced dead that evening in the barracks by the then doctor of the time, Dr. Flannery, they promised retribution.
They went down the town just as darkness was falling, smashing shop and house windows, shooting their guns randomly at homes of known nationalist sympathisers and wrecking shops. They looted the public houses, stealing and drinking alcohol as they called out Sinn Feiners to show their heads and fight like men.
The residents of the town were terrified and many fled to the countryside for safety. Some people stayed put to defend their homes and property and to put out the fire being set by the Black & Tans. Dozens of homes were looted and damaged and hundred of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused.
Cook's Shop on Wolf Tone Square, the building now occupied by the Credit Union was burned to the ground while Mullarkeys (now Super Valu), Cunnanes (now McCarrick's), Gallagher's (now Barry's Pharmacy) and Armstrong's (now the O'C Bar) were also badly damaged.
The flames of the burning town could be seen as far away as Swinford. Rathscanlon and Achonry Creameries were also destroyed and while Achonry was able to open again a few weeks later, it took years for Rathscanlon Creamery to recover and re-open.
The Phoenix Players have worked on original primary source material to re-enact events and are now in rehearsals for a radio drama of the event . Shop owners are being asked to dress their windows with some paraphernalia of 100 years ago to mark the events.
Historical documents, clothing, old family photos, tools, machinery or anything else to set the atmosphere would be appreciated.