Assassination in Enniscorthy, October 10th, 1922

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21 Main Street, Enniscorthy, the approximate location of the assassinations

On the evening of October the 10th, 1922, four Vincentian Fathers from Phibsborough, Dublin were holding a mission mass in Enniscorthy cathedral. The event attracted a huge crowd of worshippers, including two Free State soldiers, captains Peter Doyle and Thomas Doyle (no relation). As mass ended, the two men, who were in uniform but unarmed, left the cathedral and walked down Main Street. As they did so a pair of assassins stepped out of the shadows and approached them. Without warning they opened fire on the soldiers, who fell to the ground, mortally wounded.

Crossley tender irish civil war
A Civil War era Crossley Tender, similar to the one used in Enniscorthy on the 10th of October 1922

On hearing the gunfire, consternation broke out amongst the crowd leaving mass and people began to flee in all directions. Meanwhile a Crossley Tender lorry, full of Free State troops, raced into Market Square. In the confusion, the newly arrived soldiers believed that they too were under attack and they opened fire into the crowd milling around them. Unsurprisingly, this had terrible consequences and at least four women were seriously injured in the spray of bullets. These included Ms Leacy, Ms Kavanagh, Ms Reilly and Ms Keane. Of these, Ms Leacy was the most severely wounded and her leg was subsequently amputated (she owned a stationery shop on Castle street).

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Red dot = approximate location of the assassinations (mapping Ordnance Survey of Ireland)

When the shooting finally subsided, the two wounded soldiers were still lying on the ground where they had fallen (just outside No. 21 Main Street). Peter Doyle, who was 29 and from Ballinakill, Marshalstown, died that night, while his comrade, Thomas Doyle, who was 27 and from Curragraigue, Ballindaggin, succumbed to his wounds eight days later. The perpetrators of the assassination were never identified.

References

Freemans Journal newspaper, Thursday, October 12, 1922, P. 6

Freemans Journal newspaper, Thursday, October 19, 1922, P. 5

The Free Press newspaper, January 6, 1923, p. 5

Mac Suain, S. (1995) County Wexford’s Civil War, pp. 41-44

 

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