HX. 08 November 1920.

The Grange Ambush
MB grew up in the village of Grange in an old farmhouse next to the Camogue River. A stone bridge spans the river some 100 yards south of the farmhouse, and a similar distance on the other side, sits Bulfin’s farmhouse (now in different ownership). In 1920, MB’s family home was in the ownership of the O’Neill family, and Bulfin’s house was a pub in the ownership of the Clancy family.

On 08 November 1920 an ambush of British Crown forces took place approximately between Clancy’s & O’Neill’s. A number of witness statements are available from ambush participants. MB’s favourite version is that of one Edmund Tobin, who was lucky to escape with his life. There is some conflict, it must be stated, between the version of Tobin and that of another volunteer, one Morgan Portley. MB considers Tobin’s version to be very accurate in every respect of which MB has knowledge, such as the layout of the ditches around the farmhouse as they were in MB’s younger days and as they similarly were many years previously at the time of the ambush. They are now much changed, following the demolition of an old hay barn and the construction of a new one by MB’s dad many years ago, and the demolition of various ditches around the new larger barn. So for the reason of Tobin’s accuracy in the telling, in as much as MB can deduce, MB goes with Tobin’s version.

Another participant, one James Moloney from the nearby village of Bruff, claims to have come up with the idea of the ambush, along with a number of others. Moloney featured in MB’s posts of recent weeks and MB starts this week’s post with an extract from Moloney’s statement.

MB can remember meeting Moloney as a young kid hitching lifts home to Grange after football matches in Bruff. Moloney liked to tell tales from his fighting days to anyone who would stop and listen. MB and pals liked to stop and listen. MB remembers one particular line from the descriptive Moloney – “we hid in bushes to attack the Brits, bushes the birds had to get out of, such was the amount of lead flying in both directions”. Read More

HX. 1919 – 1921.

The Irish Government took witness statements from almost 1,800 participants in the Irish War of Independence, during the years 1947 to 1957, some 25 to 30 years after the events had unfolded. The statements are available online at the Irish Bureau of Military history, and were only made available to the public in 2003, following the death of the last witness. Even then, and to date, certain sections are blanked out lest they cause distress or danger to living persons or might lead to an action for damages or defamation. History lives long in the memory, etc. But regardless, they make totally fascinating and addictive reading.

Last week, MB quoted from the statement of one James Moloney, an IRA member from Bruff village, a very short distance from HX. This week he does so again.


It’s difficult to be a military rebel if you don’t have a gun. The hunt for guns and ammunition occupied the minds of Moloney & others, as they started to organise their active resistance against British rule. They had no outside sources of supply or donation, and funds to purchase weaponry were non-existent.


It’s only a few weeks away from the 100th anniversary of the (Irish) Easter Rising of 1916, which kick-started this particular period of Irish history. Up to that anniversary date, MB will have a few more tales to tell.

Read More

A little bit of history – Part 2

MB recently recounted the story of the shooting of the Mayor of Limerick from almost one hundred years back, as witnessed and told by his wife. The mayor hailed from the same village as MB back home, a village called Grange. This week MB wants to tell you some more of Grange. Read More