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When the British tried to invade the Aran Islands

Galway Advertiser, September 24, 2009.

By Kernan Andrews

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In December 1920, the British army, then fighting the IRA in the Irish War of Independence, carried out an amphibious raid on Inishmore in the Aran Islands.

The islands had been evacuated by the RIC in July 1920, but the British suspected that they were being used by men 'on the run'. On December 19, Inis Mór was raided, resulting in the capture of two shotguns, two revolvers, and 10 IRA officers. One man who tried to escape was shot.

The raid is one of several fascinating incidents featured in William Sheehan's new book Hearts & Mines: The British 5th Division, Ireland, 1920-1922, published by The Collins Press. It contains original photographs and previously unpublished information. Also included is the British view on famous encounters such as the Partry Ambush and the burning of Ballinlough RIC Barracks.

The book is the final volume of a trilogy based on primary sources that includes British Voices (2005) and Fighting For Dublin (2007). According to the author, the book "will provide readers with the British army perspective on events in Ireland from 1919 to 1921".

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