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The Durrow Ambush

The Struggle For Freedom In West Waterford

17. The Durrow Ambush
Durrow (3 March 1921)
The Assises opened in Waterford on 3rd March 1921, and it was decided to hold up the early morning train from Dungarvan to Waterford in order to prevent Jurors from attending the Court, and also to draw out the enemy into an ambush. The A.S.U. were operating in the 2nd Battalion area (Killrossanty/Stradbally) at the time, and they, with all available local Volunteers were mobilised near Durrow Railway Station.

The train conveying the Jurors arrived at Durrow Station and was allowed to proceed. About a half mile further along the line, it was held up and the Jurors taken off. Some time afterwards a Volunteer approached the Stationmaster and ordered him to send a message calling out the military, that the train had been held up. The A.S.U. and Volunteers then took up their positions at Ballyvoile, which is on the Dungarvan side of Durrow Station.  They were anticipating that the military would arrive by the Coast Road from Dungarvan. At 11.30 a.m. a train carrying enemy troops arrived from Fermoy, and fire was opened on them, which they returned. The train carried on and stopped at Durrow Station. The Volunteers now moved into open country, and followed the train to Durrow.

In the meantime 4 lorries of enemy did come via the Coast Road and also went on to Durrow. They joined up with the Fermoy Troops and moved out from the station in search parties, but were met with sharp rifle fire which drove them back to the station. From there they sent out messages for reinforcements and afterwards about 150 military came by train from Waterford. By now the enemy had about 300 men in action, well equipped with modern arms and machine guns. Firing continued throughout the day, during which the enemy attempted a few sorties, but were repulsed on every occasion, and were forced to remain in their positions. Due to shortage of ammunition, the Volunteers withdrew under cover of darkness, having suffered no casualties, while two of the enemy were killed and several wounded.

Author: Domnall O'Faoláin

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