Tom Barry returns to Kilmichael to give an account of the IRA attack led by him on Auxiliary forces in 1920.
The ambush was carried out on 28 November 1920 by the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence at Kilmichael near Macroom in Cork. A column of 36 local IRA volunteers led by Tom Barry attacked a group of eighteen members of the Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliary Division (Auxiliaries) travelling in two Crossley Tenders. Seventeen Auxiliaries and three IRA men Michael McCarthy, James O'Sullivan and Patrick Deasy were killed at Kilmichael.
In this film shot in 1965 by RTÉ General Tom Barry describes in his own words the sequence of events of the Kilmichael Ambush.
A section of a road at Dus a' Bharraigh in the parish of Kilmichael between Dunmanway and Macroom was chosen for the attack. A grim day lay ahead on 28 November, regardless of the outcome Tom Barry says the men knew that,
Either the Flying Column would win, or they'd be wiped out.
Tom Barry acknowledges that he has been blamed for placing the lives of inexperienced men at risk, and justifies his reasons thus,
This ditch of the road fighting was the only fighting that suited a weak people fighting one of the greatest empires of the world, with all their resources.
Once the ambush was underway there was no turning back for the Flying Column, who engaged in hand to hand combat with men who had military training and who had served with the British Army and seen active service. In Tom Barry's words.
It was a bloody fight, it was a bitter fight, it was a savage fight.
'Kilmichael Ambush County Cork 1920' was broadcast on 1 November 1966. The presenter is Seamus Kelly.