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Waterford County Museum marks the Centenary of the Burgery Ambush

Waterford Flying Column at Dungarvan Castle. Image courtesy of Waterford County Museum

The Burgery Ambush was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.) on 18th-19th March 1921, during the Irish War of Independence. It took place 2.5 kilometres outside Dungarvan on the main road to Waterford (on what is now the N25). The I.R.A.’s proposed action for the night of the 18th March 1921 was to blow up Tarr’s Bridge to disrupt military movements. The two local Companies, Dungarvan and Abbeyside, were to carry out this work under the protection of the Flying Column which left Ballymullalla to rendezvous with the demolition squad at Ballycoe. George Plunkett, a member of the I.R.A. G.H.Q., was with the Flying Column at this time as he was on a tour of inspection. George Lennon commanded the Flying Column. Also present were Pax Whelan, Officer Commanding of the West Waterford Déise Brigade of the Irish Republican Army.

At Ballycoe, as they were preparing to go down to Tarr’s Bridge, the lights of military vehicles were seen coming from Dungarvan. After some discussion, George Plunkett decided that they should abandon the demolition operation and instead attack the military on its way back to town.

At the end of a series of engagements, four people had lost their lives. I.R.A. Volunteers, Seán Fitzgerald and Pat Keating. Royal Irish Constabulary Sergeant Michael Hickey and Constable Sydney Redman.

The short video, created by John Foley Films for Waterford County Museum and the Decade of Centenaries Committee of Waterford City and County Council, provides a brief overview of the events around the ambush. Released on the 18th March to mark the centenary, it’s a prelude to a longer film that the Museum hopes to finish by Autumn 2021 providing a more complete overview of events. The film was assembled remotely with voice actors, musicians and crew working from home during the pandemic lockdown. Thanks are due to Angela Foley, Cliodhna Foley, Deirdre Collender, Eddie Cantwell, Ivan Lennon, Kate Morrissey, Mark O’Rourke, Pat Morrissey, Pat Power, Seán and Síle Murphy, Shane Collender and Tommy Mooney who all contributed to the project. In particular, the Museum and the Decade of Centenaries Committee would like to thank John Foley for his diligence in completing the work to such a high standard in very difficult circumstances. The project was managed by Cllr. Thomas Phelan and Willie Whelan for Waterford County Museum and the Decade of Centenaries Committee of Waterford City and County Council.

The film can be viewed on Waterford County Museum’s YouTube Channel or on the Waterford County Museum’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.

This project is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.


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