The Kilmichael Ambush took place on November 28, 1920, during Ireland's War of Independence. On the 102nd anniversary of the seismic event, IrishCentral looks back at when veterans of the attack returned to the site in 1966.
Irish rebels ambushed a British army column in a remote part of Cork called Kilmichael on November 28, 1920, during Ireland's War of Independence.
17 of the 18 British were killed, while three IRA soldiers also died. The fighting was ferocious, with intense hand-to-hand combat reported from the scene. The incident was an enormous change of pace and escalation by the IRA and had serious consequences historically.
Happening just one week after Bloody Sunday, the Kilmichael ambush was both politically and militarily significant because, while the thousands of men within the British troops in Ireland at the time could handle the loss of 18 men, it was the fact that the IRA had succeeded in wiping out a whole patrol of elite auxiliaries that shocked the most.
In 1966, a memorial was unveiled at Kilmichael as part of the 50th-anniversary recognition of the 1916 Easter Rising. The memorial read in part: "They shall be spoken of among their people. The generations shall remember them and call them blessed."
RTE reports that in 1966, General Tom Barry led the surviving veterans in forming a guard of honor at the unveiling of a monument at the site of the Kilmichael Ambush.
* Originally published in 2017. Updated November 2022.