Florrie Dreaper
By Sarah O’Neill, 6th Class

You may know Coolbaun as the site of the ambush, but I know it as my home. My family has plenty of stories about Coolbaun. I’m going to tell you about the important role that a Coolbaun lady played in this story!

Florrie Dreaper lived in Coolbaun on a farm. The day the Coolbaun Ambush was planned, Saturday June 18th 1921, the IRA were holding people including Sandy Bradley (who worked for Florrie on her farm) in a local building called the wood house. Sandy created a huge fuss and said to the IRA that he was going to be sacked if he couldn’t go to work. It was agreed to release him when one of the volunteers vouched for him. However when Sandy got to work his boss Florrie Dreaper told him she would sack him if he didn’t explain why he was late. When he told her about the planned ambush she immediately jumped on her horse and rowed to Castlecomer to warn the British military.

When Florrie told them they went to the site and sneaked up on the IRA men. Shots were fired by both sides and then two IRA men, Nicholas Mullins and John Hartley, were killed. Florrie Dreaper and Sandy Bradley were the reason that the two IRA men were killed. A few weeks later the people of Coolbaun had a meeting to either execute Florrie or burn her house down, as revenge for the deaths of the two men and her treachery of informing the British Military. The day they went down to burn her house down, she got her dog and hid in the fire tank to stay safe from the fire. She also threw down bombs at the people of Coolbaun and the IRA that the British Military had given her. Shortly after, she and her sister left for England.

I hope that you have enjoyed learning about Florrie Dreaper and about what she did.

Fun fact: some of the rooms are still there from the wood house which is close to my house.

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