Drishanebeg Train Ambush….Feb. 11th 1921…Supporting the Commemoration

Drishanebeg Ambush Site looking west towards Millstreet.  Tap on images to enlarge (S.R.)

Drishanebeg Train Ambush….Feb. 11th 1921 

In anticipation of the quickly approaching centenary commemoration of the Drishanebeg Train Ambush of Feb. 11th 1921, members of the Committee, including Tom Meaney, recently visited and surveyed the Ambush site which is located at a railway cutting 400 metres west of the Railway Bridge on the Millstreet to Mallow road just 2 miles from the town. For many of the Committee, it was the first time they looked down the steep slopes to the railway tracks where the ambush had occurred and where local volunteers of the Millstreet Battalion and Flying Column successfully stopped a train containing British Troops, forcing their surrender and relieving them of their arms, ammunition and equipment before allowing it to continue to Killarney.

This successful and morale boosting encounter with the soldiers of the British Empire led the way in what was a very successful few months for the Irish Volunteers in Cork.

Just three weeks later the Clonbanin Ambush took place near Derinagree and in mid-June one of the largest ambushes of the entire conflict took place at Rathcoole. The rifles and ammunition captured at Drishanebeg were crucial to the success at both Clonbanin and Rathcoole.  These events all occurred within a few miles of each other and together were a significant contributory factor to the Truce which emerged between the Irish Volunteers and the British Government on July 11th 1921.

So you might wonder why should events from a war fought 100 years ago, be commemorated?  

One of the reasons we might like to commemorate historical events such as this is because the ordinary men and women involved in the War of Independence displayed extraordinary bravery, fearlessness and courage.  They were farmers, schoolteachers, students, shopkeepers and labourers who believed that the injustice of British occupation of an Irish people was wrong and they were prepared to put their lives on the line for the cause of Irish freedom.

Like Pádraig Pearse in the GPO in 1916, they must have doubted their ability to win this conflict against the might and resources of the British Empire. This doubt, however, did not prevent them from trying, succeeding and finally establishing the Irish Nation that we enjoy today.

It is interesting to note that the Irish success inspired Nationalists across the globe from India and Malaya to Palestine and many African nations.   

The inspirational courage of our forefathers and the immensity of their achievement is worth remembering and should be cherished.  On February 11th 2021, the centenary anniversary, we have the ideal time and opportunity to remember their struggle and reflect on the nation we have become.  

One hundred years after the event the Commemoration Committee now plan to commemorate the Drishanebeg Ambush,

  • Firstly by erecting an INFORMATION BOARD at the Railway bridge near the ambush site which will provide a synopsis of the key events and personnel,
  • Secondly, by COMPILING A BOOK which will examine the circumstances leading up to the event, the Ambush itself in detail, the personnel involved and the events of the aftermath.

For the onerous task of researching and compiling the book on ‘The Drishanebeg Ambush’ and designing the Information Board for the centenary commemoration….Noreen Meaney, Séamus Buckley, Tim Murphy, Cathal O’Callaghan, Donough Reardon and Declan Crowley deserve great accolades and our thanks.

The Drishanebeg Ambush Centenary Commemoration Committee offer you the opportunity to support this project by making a donation towards the cost of this venture.  The Committee is a community based, non-political group of volunteers who wish to commemorate the local men and women who were involved in this event.

To facilitate contributions for this project a GoFundMe page has been set up under the name of:

The Drishanebeg Train Ambush Commemoration Project.   Please click on this highlighted link to enter GoFundMe page so as to Donate.

An Account has also been opened in Mallow/Millstreet Credit Union for this purpose.

Account Name:    The Drishanebeg Train Ambush Commemoration Project.

                 IBAN:     IE72MATN99221206224002

                   BIC:      MATNIE21XXX.

The Officers of the Committee are as follows.

President:  Mr. Tom Meaney

Chairman:   Mr. David Crowley   

Secretary:   Mrs. Elaine Crowley-Dennehy

Treasurer:    Mr. Tomás Meaney/ Noel Crowley

P.R.O:          Mr. Michael Thornton


7 thoughts on “Drishanebeg Train Ambush….Feb. 11th 1921…Supporting the Commemoration”

  1. While I salute and commend the dedicated group who have taken on the task of commemorating the “Drishanebeg Ambush” next year, it is disappointing to note that this Ambush up to recently was historically referred to as the “Glebe Ambush”. Why the change? The words of one of the songs written to celebrate the events of the time carry a line, and I quote “Twas at a place they call the Glebe the ambush was to be”. For too long we have accused the Revisionists, and justifiably I might add, of distorting our historical record. It would indeed be a sad state of affairs if those who are very genuine in their endeavours, unwittingly or accidentally fell into this mire.

  2. The area of the ambush is an active rail line, not a sightseeing venue. I do hope the visit was taken with the knowledge of and accompanied by a member of Irish Rail staff.

    1. Jack….Historian Supreme – Thanks a million for alerting us not only to this song but to the truly magnificent ducas.ie website with such fascinating local information from the Schools’ Collection of the 1930s and beyond. We note the superb contributions of teachers John Kelleher and Patrick O’Doherty and the many pupils of the National School of that era.

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