seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

The Tourmakeady Ambush


The Tourmakeady Ambush or Battle of Tourmakeady occurs on May 3, 1921, during the Irish War of Independence. The South Mayo Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), commanded by Commandant Tom Maguire ambushes a Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)/Black and Tan re-supply patrol in the village of Tourmakeady, County Mayo, in the west of Ireland in order to destroy the patrol and to cause the closure of Derrypark RIC Barracks, seven miles to the south.

A car transporting police officers is leading the two-vehicle convoy. It is shot at as it travels out of the village, causing the Crossley Tender behind to stop close to the local hotel. RIC Constables Christopher O’Regan and William Power, Sergeant John Regan and Black and Tans Constable Hubert Oakes all die in the ambush. British forces are able to take refuge in the hotel, where they call for reinforcements.

Following the ambush, the Flying Column takes to the nearby Partry Mountains and are subsequently engaged by British troops from the Border Regiment. IRA Adjutant (South Mayo Brigade) Michael O’Brien sustains fatal injuries when he is shot while trying to assist the injured Brigade leader, Commandant Maguire. Another IRA Volunteer, Pádraig Feeney, is also killed that afternoon.

On May 3, 1921, in reprisal for the ambush, Crown forces burn several commercial establishments and homes in the area. Extensive searches and reprisals follow in the area over the next week.

Monuments commemorating Michael O’Brien and Pádraig Feeney have since been erected in County Mayo.

(Pictured: The South Mayo Flying Column of the Irish Republican Army, taken at Moore Hall in Muckloon, County Mayo, during the summer of 1921)


Author: Jim Doyle

As a descendant of Joshua Doyle (b. 1775, Dublin, Ireland), I have a strong interest in Irish culture and history, which is the primary focus of this site. I am a Network Engineer at The Computer Hut, LLC, which is my salaried job. I am a member of the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (2010-Present, President 2011-2017) and a commissioner on the City of Little Rock Arts+Culture Commission (2015-2020, 2021-Present, Chairman 2017-2018).

2 thoughts on “The Tourmakeady Ambush

  1. Hello Jim, Michael Daley of the DALY Surname Study here. I understand your good works are compilations of public material, and I enjoy the narrative you craft around facts to tell the accurate story. I am interested in any posts you may have on specific topics, for example, the 1798 Rebellion and Belfast participants, as well as, anything to do with the Daly Surname.

    Is there a way for me to search your archives? Kind regards, Michael Daley


    • Hello, Michael! Thank you for visiting the site! There is a Search box on the right side of the page just below the banner photograph. I did a search for “Daly” and it returned at least ten posts that contain that name. A search for the 1798 Rebellion returns a number of posts as well. I hope this helps you with your search for information and thanks again for visiting! Best wishes!


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