Restorer refuses to give up the ghost on Rolls

A Rolls Royce Silver Ghost which was buried in Co Cork by the IRA following a series of audacious attacks is being lovingly restored and is set to be brought back to the Rebel county.

Built in 1919 and known as the “Moon Car”, it was discovered a few years ago buried in a remote hilly area near Donoughmore.

On Mar 24, 1924, the IRA — disillusioned that the British still ran the ports — decided to attack a contingent of British troops disembarking on the quayside at Cobh.

They’d fitted the car, once owned by Oliver St John Gogarty, with two mounted Lewis guns and opened fire, killing a soldier and civilian and wounding many others.

An embarrassed Free State government put up a £10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the IRA unit.

The car had been used in a number of previous attacks and the IRA decided that it was becoming too hot to handle.

They set it on fire and subsequently buried it. It was discovered 85 years later.

The car was acquired three years ago by James Black Restorations, a company based in Lisburn, Co Antrim, which specialises in restoring old Rolls Royces.

Mr Black has painstakingly restored the car to its original glory.

He discovered that the vehicle was only the fifth Silver Ghost built after the First Wold War and it was originally sold to the Adamson family in Co Galway.

Their home was burned by the IRA in 1921 and Mr Black believes that’s when the IRA acquired the distinctive vehicle.

During the restoration process he discovered storage cases beneath the chassis which suggested the Lewis guns were hidden there before being mounted prior to an attack.

The car had also been fitted with armour plating.

Mr Black has completely rebuilt the engine and the car is now in running order.

It has also been repainted in its original primrose/yellow colour.

A spokeswoman for the company said Mr Black was hoping to test the car on an Alpine rally for vintage vehicles which will be staged next June.

She said he was also planning to take the restored Rolls Royce Silver Ghost to Cork and to Cobh where it was involved in the famous attack on the troops disembarking from HMS Sythe.

A date for these visits will be announced later.

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