The Culleens Ambush
Two Policemen Shot Dead Near Dromore West, Fierce Mountain Fight
In July of 1921, following the dispatch of RIC Officers to investigate a robbery at Culleen’s Inn, “one of the most sensational ambushes yet recorded in the West (took place). Two policemen—Constables King and Higgins—were shot dead as a result of the tragic affair, and another Constable Curley, was seriously wounded” The Western People, July 7, 1921
Ten days later, the Truce that ended The War of Independence, providing participants of the ambush with immunity, came into effect. However, one man was arrested on the day of the ambush and spent over five months in prison until his release on the 9th of December 1921.
Originally from Dublin, Frank now lives in west Sligo and through his work as a Volunteer in the Jackie Clarke Collection in Ballina (a private collection of Irish historical memorabilia, rare books and artifacts which were bequeathed to the town of Ballina) has become fascinated by the extraordinary local stories and experiences from the War of Independence and particularly the Civil War which have been shared with him by the elderly sons and daughters of the men and women who fought.
As a practicing psychotherapist and former tutor with the National University of Ireland, he has a particular interest in the legacy and aftermath of conflict in a small rural area. Frank was invited to speak to an audience of American psychotherapists in Trinity College at a conference organized by the University of Holy Cross, New Orleans, in August 2018. His presentation was entitled “Living with History” “Remembering and not Remembering Trauma in the west of Ireland” where he had an opportunity to share some of the stories he had listened to in the small kitchens and farmhouses throughout west Sligo and north Mayo.
He is currently an MA student in UCC writing his thesis on events in Sligo and Mayo in the summer of 1922.
Photograph from Jackie Clack Collection Website (courtesy Tuffy Family) of the original Tuffy’s shop in Culleens, the scene of the dramatic ambush on 1st July 1921.