“The Rineen Ambush”


The IRA ambush Black and Tan lorries in Rineen, County Clare. "The Black and Tans put up their hands and the peelers too likewise." "Gallant Irishmen together should unite ... And have another ambush soon to fight the Black and Tans!"


Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan: "A large monument now stands at Rineen Cross in memory of that day's events and their appalling aftermath [reprisals by RIC and Black and Tans] which are still embedded deeply in the memory of the people of Clare.

Sir Robert Peel established the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1812 and its success led, in 1829, to the Metropolitan Police Act for London. Originally the term "Peeler" applied to the London constabulary. (source: _Sir Robert "Bobby" Peel (1788-1850)_ at Historic UK site.)

In this song the term is applied to the RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary). - BS

The Black and Tans (for which see "The Bold Black and Tan") were a special English constabulary recruited to quell Irish violence. They failed, and in fact contributed to the brutality.

For one song about the aftermath to this event, see the notes to "Mac and Shanahan." It will tell you something of the violence of the period that none of the six histories I checked (including three devoted specifically to this period, one of which is largely a catalog of atrocities) mentions any of these events. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1920-1921 - The Black and Tan War
  • Sep 22, 1920 - A partly successful ambush of Black and Tans by the Mid Clare Brigade of the IRA was followed by a successful retreat (source: Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan).


  • Tom Lenihan, "The Rineen Ambush" (on IRTLenihan01)


  1. Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan 26, "The Rineen Ambush" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #5222
  3. BI, RcRinAmb


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1974 (Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan)
Found in: Ireland