The Horror of the Tans
The following if an excerpt from the Introduction of Dorothy Macardle
's Tragedies of Kerry
, 1924. I am using it to supplement my previous entries about the Black and Tans
A war of conquest, such as England's war against Ireland, develops, inevitably, into a campaign of terrorism against the people.
Resistance to foreign invasion and foreign rule will never be limited, in a high-spirited nation, to a paid and uniformed army; young men will cast their bread upon the waters, go "on their keeping" and fight in hunger and cold; old men and old women and young girls will be taking their share. Therefore to break the spirit of the whole people by spreading panic terror amongst them, by making them suffer more than they can endure, must be the conqueror's aim.
The defenders who go out to ambush the armed forces of the oppressor, to wreck his military and governmental institution and to impede his progress thru the country, risk not only death in battle but capture, and torture and murder at their captor's hands.
Screams of agony heard from the prisons , dead bodies of young men found in ditches, are calculated to reduce the people to submission. That the contrary effect is produced is a lesson which empires are slow to learn.
This is the explanation of the little rough wooden crosses, sometimes not bearing even a name, which mark forsaken spots on the Kerry roads. It is the explanation of the Sign of the Cross which people make in passing places not marked yet with wood or stone.
Here, they will tell you, in Ballymacelligot, Maurice Reidy and John Leen were killed on Christmas night. That was in 1921; their murders were the Black and Tans. In Ballybunion young Scanlon was murdered, and Carmody in Ballylongford, and Houlihand in Ballyduff. There were Frank Hoffman of Tralee and Billy McCarthy of Lixnaw and Joseph Taylor of Glencar . . . .
In a field in Gortaglanna there are three crosses bearing the names of Padraic Dalton, Padraic Breathnac and Diarmuid Lyons, three friends who were taken on the road and put to death there in '21 by the Black and Tans.
On the road from Castleisland to Tralee there is a cross by the wayside "Remember Denis Broderick", who died in Defence of Ireland, May 24th, 1921. There is a cross that has no name on it a little further on, it is for Seumus Taylor; his brother's is on the roadside in Glencar. There is one for Jack Gavin a few hundred yards to the left, and there is one bearing eight name and the date March 6, 1923. It stands quite close to those three others, at Ballyseedy Cross.