In February 1920, while the War of Independence was ratcheting up the authorities introduced a curfew, to quell the violent tactics of guerilla warfare. Introduced in Dublin first, the law caused all sorts of chaos for ordinary citizens going about their daily business. The Defense of the Realm Regulation clearly stated:
“Every person abroad between the hours mentioned in the foregoing Order when challenged by any policeman, or by any officer, non-commissioned officer or soldier on duty must immediately halt and obey the orders given to him, and if he fails to do so it will be at his own peril. “
The above first verse of a “ditty” penned by an anonymous songwriter, tells as much as any newspaper notice or article.
When you come to the start of a Curfew night,
and try to get home by ten –
Altho’ it is only broad day light,
You are dodging the Tans again,
When the lorries dash out on the streets,
The best is to be out of sight,
O, you want to to be smart upon your feet,
At the start of the Curfew night.
The potential barbarities caused by the legislation was nothing in comparison to actual ones, when a month later the Black and Tans were released on the country.
Weekly Freeman’s Journal 28 February 1920