RISING – Battle of Ashbourne

A violent confrontation between the RIC and the Irish Volunteers Fingal Brigade took place in County Meath.  The Brigade was commanded by Thomas Ashe, involved with the IRB, Gaelic League and GAA.

The Fingal Brigade trained with a strategy of engaging the enemy by hit and run tactics.  On Easter Sunday, 120 men were ready to march to Dublin to take part in the Rising, only to be dismissed to await further orders.  On Monday, orders came from P.H. Pearse which ordered the Fingal Brigade to strike at one o’clock.  They were to attack police barracks in North County Dublin, and destroy the telegraph system and areas of railway transportation.

During the week, they raided several RIC barracks, and disrupted communication lines. On Friday, a battle ensued when the Volunteers attacked an RIC barracks in Ashbourne.  The barracks contained reinforcements, but they soon decided to surrender.  However, before that happened, another sixty RIC men arrived from Slane.  After several hours of fighting, the Fingal fighters took the upper hand, and the RIC men surrendered.

The Fingal fighters were disappointed to learn of Pearce’s surrender.  The Battle of Ashbourne was the only significant victory for the Rising.  Ashe was put on trial and sentenced to death, which was commuted to penal servitude.  Although he was released in 1917, he was again arrested for a speech he gave.  He went on a hunger strike and died from attempts to force feed him.

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