Sheemore ambush

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Sheemore Ambush
Part of the Irish War of Independence
Date4 March 1921
LocationSheemore, County Leitrim
53°59′31″N 7°59′53″W / 53.992°N 7.998°W / 53.992; -7.998
Result IRA victory
Flag of Ireland.svg Irish Republican Army
(South Leitrim Brigade)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland British Army
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Royal Irish Constabulary
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Ireland.svg Seán Mitchel unknown
7 volunteers 30–40 (although many RIC fled the scene)
Casualties and losses
none 1-7 killed,
4 soldiers and 2 RIC wounded
Sheemore ambush is located in island of Ireland
Sheemore ambush
Location within island of Ireland

The Sheemore ambush was an ambush carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 4 March 1921, during the Irish War of Independence. It took place at Sheemore near Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim.

The ambush was carried out by the IRA's South Leitrim Brigade[1] on a force of Black and Tans. The British suffered casualties and admitted one fatality, a captain in the Bedfordshire Regiment, although some local sources claimed several more were killed. The Black and Tans later ran amok in Carrick-on-Shannon, burning the Temperance Hall in Gowel.[2]


As the congregation made their way out of the local parish church in Gowel from the First Friday Mass they were confronted by three lorries carrying 30–40 British troops and Royal Irish Constabulary. The men were lined up for searching on one side while a lady took care of the women. There was no panic and as nothing was found, there were no arrests. The church had been singled out that morning as a likely place for volunteers of the IRA's South Leitrim Brigade to attend. Father Edward O’Reilly (the church's curate) was openly friendly towards the volunteers. After they searched the church interior, the police and soldiers remounted their lorries and continued back to Carrick-on-Shannon. About 2km down the road, on the slopes of Sheemore, volunteers of the South Leitrim Brigade awaited them. The day before, the Brigade had received word from Joe Nangle (Drumshanbo) of the British operation. They took up position behind a low wall which ran on the brink of an eighty-foot-high rock face on the side of Sheemore. It was four hundred yards from the road. There were seven volunteers – Brigadier Seán Mitchel (who was in command), Charles E. McGoohan (from Ballinamore), Michael Geoghegan (from Aughacashel), Mattie Boylan (from Carrick-on-Shannon), Michael Martin (from Ballinamore), Joe Nangle and Harry McKeon.[3]

At the command from Mitchell they opened fire on the convoy. The British jumped from their lorries in confusion and took cover behind a wall which ran along the road. The police ran despite the shouts from the soldiers to stand their ground. The officer in command tried to use field glasses to spot the positions of the IRA. After a forty-five-minute gunfight the IRA withdrew. The British made no attempt to follow them. Instead they gathered up their casualties and returned to Carrick-on-Shannon.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Rising Out by Seán Connolly of Longford by Ernie O'Malley ed Cormac K.H. O'Malley UCD Press 2007 describes the Sheemore Ambush on pages 149-52, Appendix I; p. 172 lists the participants in the Sheemore ambush as the 2nd section of the South Leitrim flying column. Joe Nangle's name is wrongly listed as Nagle.
  2. ^ O’Flynn, Micheal (2011). Marxist Perspectives on Irish Society. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 1443832502. 
  3. ^ IRA Memorial, Sheemore, Co. Leitrim,; accessed 20 August 2014.