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3 March 1922: Closing Border Roads

Read Peter Leary​’s essay on ‘Friction on the Frontier’ on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland, we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Peter Leary and it deals with trenches being dug in country roads and with local people filling them in, a to and fro that started on 3 March 1922:

“At 11 p.m. on Friday, 3 March 1922, a party of B-Specials (a section of the Ulster Special Constabulary) opened a trench across the road at Gortineddan—a townland between Derrylin in County Fermanagh and Ballyconnell, County Cavan—severing motor access between Northern Ireland and the south. It was ‘filled’ the following day by local people but was reopened by A-Specials that night.¹ This was only the beginning. Over the course of that weekend, and in the weeks that followed, numerous attempts to seal the border were reported. Saturday saw three roads ‘cut’ near Clones, County Monaghan, blocking off the market town aimportant railway junction, both from Newtownbutler in Fermanagh and from access to the Cavan villages of Redhills and Belturbet, via routes that passed through Northern Ireland on the way. On Monday, 6 March two bridges near Swanlinbar, County Cavan—one leading to Derrylin, the other to Enniskillen—were destroyed by a combined force of A and B Specials. When the latter bridge was partially repaired by local farmers ‘to get their stock and goods across’, a group of A-Specials tore it down again.” Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.


Ireland 1922