Dillons Bridge Barracks Raid
The Times, 3rd Nov. 1919
There is plenty of evidence that the raid was part of a well organised plan. County Meath has been one of the most peaceable and law abiding parts of the south of Ireland, and it will probably be found that the raiders were from a long distance. Dillons Bridge barracks is within five miles of the town of Navan.
The attack was made at 10 o’clock last night. The barracks was occupied at the time by Sergeant Matthews and three constables. The sergeant was in his own room on the ground floor writing a report when a knock was heard at the door. The barrack orderly, who did not unbar the door, asked what was wanted, and the man outside replied that he wished to know the way to Navan. The constable told him what road to take and immediately a volley was heard from a wall in front of the station. Sergeant Matthews was shot in the face and one eye was injured. The three constables took down their rifles and replied to the fire of the raiders. The shooting lasted from 10 to 12 minutes and nearly 100 shots were fired. The raiders retired only when their ammunition begun to run out. In their haste they left four bicycles behind, which are now in the hands of the police. The two windows in the front of the barracks were riddled with holes and there are bullet marks on the wall and floors.
When the matter was reported to the police in Navan, soldiers and policemen were sent into the district, but up to the present no arrests have been made.
Patrick Loughran, Navan Company, Irish Volunteers, made the following statement to the Bureau of Military History. The full statement is at Navan Coy. Irish Volunteers.
Around this time there was a strike of farm workers on the big estates in the county. On the instructions of the Brigade 0/C., Sean Boylan, a goods train was derailed at Farganstown, Navan, by members of Navan Company in charge of Lieut. C. McMahon. This action was taken following representation by the strike leaders to the Brigade Staff. During the general parliamentary election in December 1918, all our members again took a leading part, canvassing, supplying personation agents and tallymen.
Other activities by the Navan Company at the latter end of the year included the organisation and formation of Volunteer companies at Bohermeen, Johnstown, Stackallen, Castletown and other areas. I was sworn in a member of the I.R.B. at this time. The year 1919 saw the formation of the various companies in Co. Meath into battalion areas. Navan became the H.Q. of the 6th Battalion which comprised companies in Navan, Stackallen, Johnstown, Bohermeen and Castletown. A short time later, when companies were formed in Clongill, Kilbarry and Yellow Furze, they were incorporated into the battalion. I became Battalion 0/C., A. Levins vice-0/C., Kieran O'Connell adjutant, and Joe Hughes engineer.
Company training in the area was now intensified. Rifles and revolvers were purchased secretly from members of British armed forces. At the end of the year, shotguns and other arms were collected from civilians, resulting in the securing of a goodly store of weapons, chiefly shotguns. In some cases we raided the homes of loyalists and seized the guns. In a couple of these raids we were attacked by the owners with shotguns. Another Volunteer and myself received a number of pellets in the legs. The arms obtained in the raids were dumped in a house in Curraghtown.
In November, the police barracks at Lismullen or Dillon's Bridge as it is often called four miles from Navan, was attacked by selected members of the Navan Battalion. The attacking party numbered 20. A ruse to gain admission to the barracks failed, after which the attack opened and lasted about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the arms were not good enough; they were mostly shotguns and a few .22 rifles, so the capture of the barracks was not effected. A police sergeant was wounded in the attack. A considerable amount of preparation was made previously, including instruction in the use of bombs,scouting and reconnoitering the position. The Navan company took part in preparing for similar attacks on R.I.C. barracks in George's Cross and Bohermeen, but before the attacks matured, they were vacated by the R.I.C.
Dillons Bridge Constabulary Barracks was about 100 metres left ofthe main entrance of Lismullin House on the R147 Navan Dunshaughlin Road. Lismullin was the seat of the Dillon family.