The Brutal Murder of Denis O’Donovan

This Story is:

1921 April 17. 3 RIC men in civilian clothes were drinking in the Shannon View Hotel, 12 Auxiliaries in civilian clothes raided the hotel. There is some disagreement in the reports as to what actually happened. Pringle was shot apparently by one of the RIC men who fired out into the yard, and the RIC man was shot inside the bar itself. Three civilians ran out into the yard, the hotel owner and two of the RIC men. The Auxiliary commander says one then turned and ran back toward the hotel, and was hit (this was O’Donovan the hotel owner who was dead), the other two put their hands up and surrendered (the RIC men, one had been wounded).

The ADRIC patrol was commanded by DI2 WP Wood, 2nd in command of G Coy ADRIC. The Court of Inquiry says that the patrol consisted of two officers and twelve cadets in mufti, armed with revolvers, and one officer and twenty cadets in uniform, armed with rifles and two Lewis guns. The total strength of the party was therefore thirty-five. At the end of the day there were three dead – T/C Pringle, Sgt Hughes RIC and Denis O’Donovan

The orders were that the plain clothes party were to split into small groups (one group under DI2 WP Wood and the other under DI3 JE Workman, enter the bar casually and ask for drinks, see who was there, and, if they suspected any persons, hold them up and search them. The remainder of the force in uniform were to wait outside the town for fifteen minutes, and then enter and hold up and search all men in the streets. It appears that the orders given to the plain clothes party were not completely understood, as the first four who entered the bar, instead of mixing with the occupants and ordering drinks at once produced revolvers and ordered them to put their hands up. They were met with a blaze of revolver fire, driven out of the bar, and the door slammed against them. The rest of the plain clothes party then surrounded the bar, firing through the doors and window, and it was at this point that Cadet Pringle was killed, as he was firing into the bar through the window. The uniform party had by this time heard the firing and driven up with more men and the Lewis guns.