The Sack of Balbriggan, 20th September 1920

February 20, 2020 0

The tragic events of the sack of Balbriggan by Black And Tans have left an unforgettable memory on the town. Peter Burke the Head Constable of the R.I.C was accompanied by his brother William a Sgt and they entered Smyth’s pub (now the Millrace Pub) for a drink. There are confusing accounts of what transpired there but shortly afterwards Peter Burke was shot dead and his brother was seriously wounded.

Derhams Clonard St Drogheda St Sack of BalbrigganWhen word reached Gormanston Camp where the Black and Tans were stationed and a large body of them arrived in 2/3 lorries later firing indiscriminately in the streets. They stationed their vehicles outside the barracks on Bridge St (now the home of Ashling dry cleaners). They also burnt several houses and many families spent several nights sleeping outdoors in fear for their lives.

They looted the business of John Derham (a local Town Commissioner) now the Medical Centre on corner of Bridge St and Clonard St. and they burned several local businesses and several houses including 8 cottages on Clonard St (Known locally as Sinn Fein Alley).

Several licensed premises were also destroyed including Landy’s and the Gladstone Inn (now Harvest Pub and Milestone Inn). The Black and Tans were set on destroying the premises of Smyth and Co on Railway St however they burned down another factory,

Balbriggan Sea Mills, built by the English Company, Deeds Templar. Only the factory chimney remains.
Several locals were dragged into the barracks for questioning and 2 were murdered, Seamus Lawless a local Barber, and Sean Gibbons a dairy farmer. The plaque on Bridge St commemorates them. Both were buried in Balscadden cemetery. Peter Burke was buried in Glennamaddy,Co Galway.

Fulham Terrace has been named in honour of the bravery of Dr Fulham on the night along with the names given to Lawless and Gibbons Terrace in the town.

Preparations are underway for the centenary commemoration of The Sack of Balbriggan. All volunteers , individuals, groups and clubs are welcome to participate in this historic event . If you are interested and would like further information please contact the event organiser by emailing :

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