Lawlor, Pearse  

Burnings 1920


How the killing of two senior RIC officers, (one in Cork for delivering a shoot to kill speech and the other in Lisburn in reprisal for the murder of Tomás Mac Curtain in Cork) resulted in violent anti-Catholic pogroms in Banbridge, Dromore and Lisburn


Many RIC officers were killed during this period but the murders of Divisional Commissioner Colonel Smyth and District Inspector Swanzy led to unprecedented reprisals against the Catholic population in the towns of Banbridge, Dromore and Lisburn.

Lawlor traces the events which led to serious sectarian rioting and the burning of Catholic owned property over a period of three months in 1920 and details, for the first time, the extent of the destruction and loss of life in these towns. The sectarian violence in Belfast during 1920-1922 has been well documented but the scale of the violence in Belfast was such that events which took place in other towns, while mentioned, were never explored in detail. 

The Burnings 1920 highlights the importance of Cork and the killing of Tomás MacCurtain in the tragic events that later came to pass in the north.


ISBN 9781856356121


About The Author

Pearse Lawlor is a retired civil servant who served for 40 years in various departments of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and has worked with the European Commission. For the past twenty years his work entailed travel to the Far East, the Middle East, Europe and North America.


'...reveals a previously missing page of Irish history for which the author is to be commended'

- Hibernian