Irelands Agony

The Irish Independence Film Collection
Directed by:
Produced by:
Topical Film Company


4 min 32 sec
English Intertitles with Audio Commentary

The Burning of Cork by British forces took place on the night of December 11th and 12th 1920 , during the Irish War of Independence. It followed an Irish Republican Army ambush of a British Auxiliary patrol in the city, which wounded twelve auxiliaries, one fatally.

In retaliation the Auxiliaries, Black and Tans and British soldiers looted and burnt numerous buildings in the city center. Many civilians reported being beaten, shot at, and robbed by British forces.

Firefighters testified that British forces hindered their attempts to tackle the blazes through intimidation, cutting their hoses and shooting at them. More than 40 business premises, 300 residential properties, the City Hall and Carnegie Library were destroyed by the fire. Over £3 million worth of damage (equivalent to €172 million today) was wrought, 2,000 people were left jobless and many more became homeless.