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COME OUT YE BLACK AND TANS!

Black and Tans incident re-enacted in Naas
by
 
JAMES DURNEY
 
 
On August 20 1920 an ambush on a police patrol at Greenhills, Kill, by local IRA unit left two RIC men dead. Subsequently, a party of Black and Tans arrived in Kill, wrecked Broughall's pub, stole a large quantity of drink, assaulted a few locals and then drove into Naas where they burnt down Boushells Boot Shop beside the Leinster Leader offices. While researching this event for a book titled 'On the One Road. Political Unrest in Kildare 1913-1994' I was told  that the Black and Tans were searching for Jimmy White, a local volunteer, who lived across the road beside Haydes shop and Boushells was burnt down in mistake for Whites.
Frank Lawler, whose father, Peter, was an IRA officer at the time, has since told me that Boushells was singled out because the owner, Ben Boushell, had cleared all the shoes out of his front window except for a black shoe and a tan shoe which he left on display to annoy the Black and Tans, who must have taking the insult as intended and burnt down the shop.
On Thursday, 22 August 2007,  Naas Local History Group in conjunction with Lord Edward's Own Re-enactment Group from Monasterevin staged a re-enactment of the burning of Boushell's. Local author and historian James Durney (playing the part of Jimmy White) was arrested in McCormack's pub and thrown in the back of a Black and Tan crossley tender, while local historian and Leinster Leader corrrespondent Liam Kenny (playing the part of Leinster Leader 1920s republican journalist Michael O'Kelly) and local historian and UDC councillor Paddy Behan (playing the part of Sinn Fein councillor Dan Purcell) were arrested at the Leader offices. All three, joined by another detainee, Donadea historian and author, Seamus Cullen, were taking away by the Black and Tans to a destination unknown. A large crowd attended the re-enactment, which was well received with onlookers joining in with catcalls against the Tans and vocal support for the 'detainees'..
 
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  Photo - Sean Dunne
'Summary Justice for Paddy Behan, James Durney and Liam Kenny'
 
A report of the Black and Tan recreation in Naas
Text courtesy James Durney
Photo courtesy Sean Dunne
Re-enactment: Monasterevin Re-enactors
 

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