In March 1920, the republican Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain, was shot dead in his home. Blaming the RIC for his death, IRA members followed District Inspector Swanzy, believed to have ordered the killing, to his new posting in Lisburn and shot him dead. Furthermore, Banbridge man Lt Colonel Smyth was killed for his policy of shooting any Irishman found carrying a gun who refused to surrender immediately. As a result the towns of Banbridge, Dromore and Lisburn erupted in anti-catholic violence. Catholic businesses and homes were torched, and families forced to flee. In The Burnings, Pearse Lawlor peels away the myth that enveloped these events and exposes the real reasons for the violence.