Pickardstown Ambush Commemoration
Remembering 100 years on the 7th January 2021
Close to one hundred years ago on the 7th of January 1921, sixty men gathered on the outskirts of Tramoreto prepare for an attack that was to take place on the British military stationed in Waterford.It was during Ireland’s War of Independence which had begun in January 1919. The initial plan of the East and West Waterford Brigades was to shoot at Black and Tans as they patrolled Tramore and its surrounds.
However, as the Tans had returned to the safety of the barracks it was decided instead to feint an attack on the barracks to draw reinforcements from Waterford. When the reinforcement arrived at the outskirts of Tramore an ambush was to take place and the British military were to be attacked and their weapons seized. The Tramore ambush which became known locally as the Pickardstown Ambush was one of the actions of the Irish Volunteers and the IRA of Waterford city and county.
Tramore Heritage who were responsible for the Sea Horse Commemorations of 2016 will hold a number of events to remember those involved in Waterford’s effort to secure an independent Irish nation. As a part of the commemoration, Tramore historian Dr Maxine Keoghan has written a book entitled,‘Waterford’s War of Independence – The Pickardstown Ambush’, which will be available in Cahills Newsagents in Tramore from the 22nd of December. “I have lived all my life in Tramore, and I love history, but I can’t believe that the full story of who these men were and where their ideology came from, was not fully discovered.” Reading and researching the Irish Military Archives, Maxine has written a detailed description of Waterford’s War of Independence including a full list of IRA members from this time. “Compiling the lists was time consuming and arduous but worth it. I could have never believed that over 2,500 men and women were members of the Irish Republican Army and willing to take part in raids, skirmishes, ambushes or assist in any way they could including information gathering and providing for the men of the active service units known as the ‘men on the run’”.
Unfortunately, due to covid19 restrictions, the book will be launched online along with a number of other virtual events. One of the members of Tramore Heritage is Jim Heylin whose grandfather and namesake James was a member of the IRA in 1921. James Heylin was a member of the active service unit, Waterford’s flying column. James was also responsible for the protection of Dr Vincent White who was the Sinn Fein political candidate from 1917. As Waterford was the home of the Irish Parliamentary Party leader, John Redmond, the elections of 1918 were hard fought for by both the Redmondites and Sinn Fein and necessitated the need for protection for the candidates.
Tramore Heritage’s Commemoration of the Pickardstown Ambush will take place in 2021 when Covid19 is less of a threat to the community and can safely proceed. The live commemoration event will include talks, music, and the laying of wreaths. Tracy McEneaney, chair of Tramore Heritage stated that, “as long as our community must deal with Covid, we bear the responsibility to be a part of the solution and not the problem, we simply cannot afford to take the risk, no outdoor unsupervised event can guarantee how many people may show up. The Pickardstown Ambush Centenary Commemoration organised by Tramore Heritage will take place instead in late Spring or early Summer. We wish to have the event as inclusive as possible”.
Tramore Heritage is grateful to all those who are assisting and supporting the events including local musicians, library staff, academics and Waterford City and County Council. Creative Ireland has made the events possible and Tramore Heritage will ensure the Pickardstown Ambush Centenary Commemoration will take place in a safe and inclusive environment.