New Maps of Midleton’s Main Street Ambush & Revolutionary Landscapes

Demonstrating how surviving elements of Ireland’s landscapes of revolution can be identified is the central aim of this project. There has never been a nationwide effort to undertake this work, which is vital if we are to appropriately manage our Revolutionary-era heritage. Following on from projects such as the one undertaken at Knockraha, we began investigating the surviving landscape of the 1920 Midleton Main Street Ambush and subsequent official British reprisals. Much of that work has been the subject of previous posts on the site (e.g. see here and here).

Back in 2016 we were fortunate to have Michael Fletcher, a PhD candidate at Middle Tennessee State University, come on board for a few months to help with this aspect of the project. Using an array of archaeological techniques we set about identifying the key locations and surviving elements associated with the events of December 1920 and January 1921. One of the outputs was a GIS map of the Midleton Ambush landscape, which Michael produced in conjunction with local archaeological consultancy Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd, who provided their time, resources and extensive expertise on a voluntary basis. We are sharing that map below for the first time. You can zoom in and explore it in detail by clicking on the image.

Map of the Midleton Ambush and Reprisal Landscape in GIS, produced with Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd–click to enlarge. Special thanks to Hannah Sims of Rubicon who worked on the map with Michael and imparted her expertise with GIS (Copyright Landscapes of Revolution)

The map incorporates locations that were identified following a detailed examination of surviving historical documents and accounts, discussions with local historians, and detailed on-site landscape analysis. It is a focused component of a broader map that seeks to examine activity in the wider Midleton area during the Revolutionary period, much as we did with Knockraha. That map is far from complete, but a working version of it can be found below.

Map of Midleton’s War of Independence Heritage Landscape, Incomplete Working Version, GIS, produced with Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd. Click to enlarge. Special thanks to Hannah Sims of Rubicon who worked on the map with Michael and imparted her expertise with GIS (Copyright Landscapes of Revolution)

A follow-up post will discuss these maps and their different site locations in more detail. It is my hope that the Ambush and Reprisal Landscape map, in conjunction with a modified version of the Midleton Ambush map we produced for Cork County Council (see page 159 of the Heritage Centenary Sites book by clicking here) could form the basis of an information panel located on or near Midleton’s Main Street to impart information on the events of late 1920 and early 1921 to both locals and tourists in time for the 2020 centenary of the ambush. That is an undertaking we will be actively seeking support for within the local community in the coming months, so do let us know if it is something you would like to see! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy exploring the map in more detail.

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