ON THIS DAY Black and Tans arrive in Ireland

ON THIS DAY Black and Tans arrive in Ireland


Pictured top are the Black and Tans. Pictured bottom are some of the Clare IRA who ambushed the Black & Tans and RIC at Rineen, between Miltown Malbay and Lahinch, in 1921

On this day 95 years ago (25 March, 1920), the Black and Tans arrived in Ireland.

The force of Temporary Constables were recruited to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) during the Irish War of Independence. The force was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, then British Secretary of State for War, and was recruited in Great Britain in late 1919.Thousands, many of them British World War I veterans, answered the British government’s call for recruits.

Their role was to help the RIC maintain control and fight the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the army of the Irish Republic. The nickname “Black and Tans” arose from the colours of the improvised uniforms they initially wore, composed of mixed khaki British Army and rifle green RIC uniform parts.

The Black and Tans became infamous for their attacks on civilians and civilian property.



  1. Hi Mark. I appreciate your publication which reminds us of some of the darkest periods in Irish history. I often wonder how our so-called history revisionists, have the audacity to *slant* events of that dreadful era, particularly when some participants, who witnessed the atrocities of the thuggish Black & Tans, are still alive. I very much like the photo,of the Rineen personnel, as I had 2 Grand Uncles involved, brothers Pete & Sean Vaughan, from Moy, Lahinch, by any chance do you, have the names, of the people in the photo ?

    Mike Leyden.

    • Hi Mike. All I know is that the pic was taken at the Strand Barracks, Limerick just prior to the Civil War. Seamus Hennessy and Steve Gallagher are also pictured. These two men were confirmed participants in the Rineen Ambush in 1920.

    • My great uncle was also there – Dave Kennelly – He hid that night in the hedgerows behind my grand father’s house on the Ballard Road -The black and tans and ransacked the house – He was sentenced to Mountjoy Prision during the civil war – He the emigrated to Canada and then the USA