British captain's home burned to ground by IRA in 1920

Oakgrove, Killinardrish, Co Cork — the Bowen-Colthurst family home.

Captain Bowen Colthurst’s home Oakgrove, near Carrigadrohid, Co Cork, was burnt down by the IRA in June 1920, mainly in response to fears it was to be occupied by British military amid heightening War of Independence violence locally.

Cattle and the caretaker had been ‘cleared out’ from a farm of the Bowen-Colthurst family before the house was burnt.

However, the family had been boycotted ever since the murder of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington in 1916.

Captain JC Bowen-Colthurst:IRA burned home in 1920.
Captain JC Bowen-Colthurst:IRA burned home in 1920.

In May of that year, as hostility was being expressed towards the Bowen-Colthursts in the surrounding Macroom district of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), police were placed on constant patrol around Oakgrove to prevent any action against the family.

By June, the main house had been vacated due to what RIC county inspector Thomas Tweedy described as “strong ill feeling” towards Captain Bowen-Colthurst and his family throughout the neighbourhood.

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