Royal Irish Academy

A Revolution in Profiles - Co. Offaly

In association with The Royal Irish Academy

George Adam 1894-1922

Relatively little background information exists for Constable George Adam, and what does is at times contradictory. It is suggested he was a native of Forfar, Scotland or England. Adam is believed to have served in the British Army during the Great War.

In the early phase of the conflict, many serving policemen who qualified for a pension or those who were unwilling to fight left the force. In response the British Government launched a series of recruitment drives to bolster the ranks of the Royal Irish Constabulary. These recruits garnered the moniker the ‘Black and Tans’ after being issued with a makeshift uniform consisting of khaki trousers and the dark green RIC tunic. Most of these new policemen were born in Britain and had served in the Armed Forces during the Great War. George Adam joined up in early 1920 and after basic training posted the RIC detactment stationed in Edenderry. While serving in Ireland he is believed to converted to Catholicism after marrying a Kildare woman.

In the spring and early and early Summer of 1921, there was an increase in IRA activity in Edenderry and along the Kildare border. On  3 June, Constable Patrick McDonald was accidentally shot dead by a colleague during an IRA attack on Blundell House.

In May, Adam himself had been ambushed and wounded in the arm, while cycling between Rathangan and Edenderry. Early in July he applied for restitution from Kildare ratepayers, but he remained on duty at Edenderry.

On July 11, 1921, less than an hour from the activation of the Truce he was shot and seriously wounded on main street in the town. Removed to a hospital at the military base on the Curragh, he was reported to be ‘progressing favourably’ but at compensation hearing the following October, Dr Stephenson…

Stated that the applicant would never be able to leave his bed. Judge Fleming said it was one of the saddest cases he met with even in these times. (1)

Pensioned from the RIC in later that year, he returned to Scotland where he passed away at Glasgow in September 1922.

The Author wishes to acknowledge the existing work by Richard Abbott and Ciaran Reilly


Sources:

Richard Abbott. Police Casualties in Ireland 1919-1922 (Cork) 2019.

Ciaran Reilly. Edenderry 1916 and the revolutionary era. (Edenderry) 2016.

Kildare Observer. 2 July 1921

Nationalist and Leinster Times. 23 July 1921.

(1) Freemans Journal. 13 October 1921.

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