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New Ross IRA notes from War of Independence donated to Wexford archive

The Training Order Book of Richard Hanrahan of the 1st Battalion of the South Wexford Brigade offers incredible detail about the local campaign

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New Ross was the scene of some fighting including an attack position between two houses opposite Marsh Lane on South Street where IRA B Company were awaiting to ambush police patrol in March 1921.

New Ross was the scene of some fighting including an attack position between two houses opposite Marsh Lane on South Street where IRA B Company were awaiting to ambush police patrol in March 1921.

New Ross was the scene of some fighting including an attack position between two houses opposite Marsh Lane on South Street where IRA B Company were awaiting to ambush police patrol in March 1921.

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A fascinating insight into the activities and membership of the IRA in the New Ross district during the War of Independence has been donated to the Wexford County Library Archive.

Donated by a New Ross family, the Training Order Book of Richard Hanrahan, Adjutant, ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, South Wexford Brigade, IRA (1921-22) offers incredible detail about who was active in the campaign locally, including Captain P Mackey who had four All Ireland hurling medals to his name, from his Wexford playing days.

The training order book has been digitised and is described as a duplicate training and administration carbon copy order book maintained by Richard Hanrahan from North Street, New Ross.

The volume details written orders from Adjutant Hanrahan to the various ranks within ‘A’ Company to report to Rathgarogue camp for training purposes and for duty work during the period November 5, 1921 to March 31, 1922. The name and rank of those selected for signalling work as despatch riders, for transport services, intelligence, first aid, munitions and as armourers are recorded in addition to Volunteers identified for ‘special’ services.

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Orders are also issued for attendance at parades and lectures. In a memo to NCO Sutton, Charles Street, New Ross, Hanrahan orders him to parade his section one night per week for 90 minutes training consisting of 1 hour lecture and 30 minutes of squad drill (February 9, 1922).

Other entries include Richard’s request to Section Commanders Ryan, Roche, Sutton and Furlong to furnish him with their roll books of the section under their command and have them ‘fully written up by 2 o’clock’ (6 December 1921).

Occasional entries relate to the unsettled state of the country and the disruption to infrastructure wrought by ‘A’ Company including damage to New Ross, Ferrymountgarrett and Maudlin bridges, in addition to the commandeering of two motor cars from Dwyer Bros., North Street, New Ross from February 8, 1921 to September 3, 1921.

An entry on December 19, 1921, records Richard’s instruction to the Brigade Adjutant to demand an enquiry into Volunteer Martin Whelan’s detention and treatment in Rathgarogue training camp, Hanrahan informing the Adjutant that the officers of ‘A’ Company ‘will not carry out duty work until enquiry is over’.

In an entry dated February 18, 1922, Hanrahan orders Section Commander Roche, Irishtown to mobilise ‘every man’ in No. 2 Section to parade at the Show Grounds on the following Tuesday at 3 p.m. ‘with a view to taking over old Police Barracks’.

The IRA took over formal possession of the RIC barracks in New Ross on February 21 , 1922, following the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and closure of the barracks.

The IRA temporarily assumed responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in the town in early 1922. An entry dated February 17,1922, to Section Commander Sutton, Irishtown advises that the OC has facilitated him by appointing and notifying 12 men to undertake police duty for the coming week.

Hanrahan writes a note to the Mother Superior, Good Shepherd Convent, New Ross informing her that in the case of Volunteer Ed Cullen, ‘whilst the order to report tonight remains, all possible steps to facilitate you in respect of Laundry work will be taken’ (18 February 1922).

One of the last entries in the volume is a listing sent by Hanrahan to the Adjutant, 1st Battalion of all the officers and NCOs in ‘A’ Company, with the observation that ‘two Section Commanders & [the] NCO of Snipers who have joined regular army are not yet replaced’.

The training order book can be viewed in full on the Wexford County Library archive section.


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