IN JANUARY 1919, AT SOLOHEADBEG IN TIPPERARY, two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) were killed by the IRA. In the four bloody years that followed, nearly 500 RIC men were killed and hundreds more wounded. In Tipperary alone, 46 policemen were killed, making it one of most violent counties in Ireland. The popular image of the RIC is that they were the ‘eyes and ears of Dublin Castle’, an oppressive colonial force policing its fellow countrymen. But the truth is closer to home: many were Irishmen who joined because it was a secure job with prospects and a pension at the end of service. When confronted with a volunteer army of young and dedicated guerrilla fighters, it was unable to cope. When the conflict ended, the RIC was disbanded, not at the insistence of the Provisional Government, but of its own members. 46 Men Dead is a thought-provoking look at the grim reality of the conflict in Tipperary, a microcosm of the wider battle that was the War of Independence.
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About the Author
John Reynolds is a serving Garda Sergeant based at the Garda College in Templemore. He founded the Garda College Museum in 2002 and holds a PhD in history from the University of Limerick.
Table of Contents
Introduction: 'Omnipotent and Omniscient' 1
1 'Six Dead Policemen': The Soloheadbeg Ambush and its Consequences 31
2 An 'Outbreak of Shinnerea': March to December 1920 73
3 The Storm before the Calm: January to July 1921 107
4 The 'Unemployable Period': Truce, Treaty and Disbandinent 141
Appendix 1 RIC Barracks in North Tipperary, 1919 176
Appendix 2 RIC Barracks in South Tipperary, 1919 177
Appendix 3 RIC Deaths in County Tipperary, 1919-22 178