in the UK
On the night of 11 December 1920 Cork City was to experience an unprecedented night of terror and destruction at the hands of the British forces of law and order. The Irish War of Independence was raging out of control and Cork was in the eye of the storm. It was a guerrilla war fuelled by reprisal and counter reprisal - the city streets became the battleground of a bloody and personalised war of attrition. With over five acres of the city destroyed and an estimated 20 million pounds worth of damage, the burning of Cork is recognised as the most extensive single act of vandalism in the entire period of the nationalist struggle. The burning of Cork cannot be regarded as an isolated incident. In the nine months leading up to the night, Cork city witnessed an ever escalating cycle of violence as attacks by the Volunteers were answered by the predictable reprisal by the crown forces. With two lord mayors dead and various high profile officers of the British authority kidnapped or assassinated, the fuse had been lit for the events that would unfold on the night Cork City was burnt.
The Mercier Press Ltd
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