`A tale of arson, loot and murder' was how one source described the events that would befall Cork city on the night of 11-12 December 1920. In a scene of almost unprecedented destruction, members of the British forces bent on revenge for the ambushes at Kilmichael and Dillon's Cross set fire to both the commercial and the civic heart of the city. One side of Patrick Street and the area surrounding it were razed to the ground, while City Hall and the neighbouring Carnegie Library were gutted as Auxiliaries and Black and Tans shot at Cork's firemen and cut their hoses in an effort to ensure maximum damage. Then, to add insult to injury, as the smoke cleared the British government tried to blame Cork's own citizens for the devastation. Using eyewitness accounts and contemporary sources, and illustrated with exceptional images from the period, Cork Burning tells the story of the events before, during and after that infamous night.
It covers such topics as Cork City before December 1920, the Black and Tans, Auxiliaries and K Company, Republican Cork, a timeline of events before the burning of Cork City, early fires and arson by crown forces in Cork, the Kilmichael Ambush, the Dillon's Cross Ambush, premises destroyed, official investigations into the causes, compensation and rebuilding.