The centenary of one of the main events of the War of Independence in Co Mayo has been marked.

The Tuar Mac Éadaigh (Tourmakeady) Ambush involved an attack on a convoy bringing supplies to an RIC station a short distance from the village.

It was carried out by the South Mayo Flying Column, backed by volunteers from around the area.

Coming late in the war, it was one of only a number of skirmishes with Crown forces to take place in the county, before the truce was declared.

IRA volunteers planned the ambush for weeks, with much of the preparations taking place close to the village of Cross, where Brigadier Tom Maguire was from.

The South Mayo Flying Column

On 3 May 1921, they attacked vehicles bringing supplies to a barracks in Deerpark.

A car transporting police officers was leading the two-vehicle convoy. It was shot at, as it travelled out of the village, causing the Crossley Tender behind to stop close to the local hotel.

RIC Constables Christopher O'Regan and William Power; Sergeant John Regan and Black and Tan Constable Hubert Oakes all died in the ambush.

But British forces were able to take refuge in the hotel, where they called for reinforcements.

Volunteers fled westwards into the surrounding hills and a battle ensured over the following hours.

Tuar Mac Éadaigh village today

Adjutant Michael O’Brien sustained fatal injuries when he was shot while trying to assist the injured Brigade leader. Another volunteer, Pádraig Feeney, was also killed that afternoon.

Extensive searches and reprisals followed over the next week.

In the aftermath of the events on 3 May 1921, both the IRA and Crown forces spoke of the large numbers of enemy combatants they had engaged during the day, leading historian Joe Gannon to talk about "the fog of war" shrouding attempts to determine exactly what happened.

The effort to piece together all aspects of the story is central to the 100th anniversary commemoration.

Monument to volunteer Pádraig Feeney

Over the last few months, communities around south Mayo made contact, to work on marking today’s anniversary. Their task was complicated by the pandemic and the organisers have not met in person.

But they have published a book, created an interactive website, and are hoping to build a repository of images, recollections and documents connected with the ambush in the next few months.

The fruits of their labours to date can be seen at

Wreath laying ceremonies were held this afternoon in Ballinrobe and Cong to honour Michael O'Brien and Pádraig Feeney.