By Neil Donovan
While a number of IRA companies/battalions around the country claim the distinction of being the first to attack and capture an RIC barracks during the War of Independence, the distinction firmly lies with the volunteers of the Araglen Company in conjunction with the Fermoy Battalion.
The day itself was Easter Sunday morning on the 20th April, 1919, just over 100 years ago. But that was the end result, the planning and motivation was planted long before that date.
When the Irish volunteers organised nationwide in 1914, the Araglen Company was one of the first to come together and likewise was at the inception when the Irish Republican Army and Cumann na mBan came into being locally.
In the three counties of Cork, Waterford and Tipperary that comprise Araglen, remarkably over 110 men and women were active members of both organisations.
At the time, the RIC barracks in Araglen was located in the centre of the village in the townland of Gortnaskehy. It was a formidable building, a two story L shaped stone building with slate roof and comprised of 3 rooms upstairs, namely a bedroom and two dormitories.
The downstairs comprised 4 rooms, a dining room, kitchen, day room and the cell or the ‘Black Hole,’ as it was known locally.
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