picked up a copy of "A View from Above" by Donal MacCarron at the Collins Barracks museum last year. A good read.
One chapter deals with the flight of No 2 Squadron made up of 6 BE2as and a Farman Longhorn from Montrose to take part in Army exercises in 1913. Their destination was Rathbane, Co Limerick.
Another chapter titled The RFC Returns deals with Major Sholto Douglas and his work. Mentions the RNAS at Johnstown Castle and Malahide and the US Navy flying boats and kite balloons at Wexford, Cork, Bantry Bay and Lough Foyle. A gale at Fermoy destroyed several BE2s, DH6s, DH9 and RE8s.
Next chapters is RAF versus IRA. 141 Sqn stationed at RAF Tallaght. 100 Squadron at RAF Baldonnel. RAF HQ in Merrion Square, Dublin. No 2 Squadron reformed at Oranmore with detatchments at Fermoy and Castlebar. A flight from No 4 Squadron was detached to Aldergrove. Mention of mail runs, forced landings, taxi service for Gen Crozier etc and a passage from No 2 Sqn diary re the burning of Bristol Fighter 1487 by the East Limerick Flying Column.
"The Big Fella" chapter deals with Michael Collins and the start of the Irish Air Corps. Mentions ex-RAF men Charlie Russell and Jack McSweeney, the marching of ex-Auxiliary Captain Tom Arnott to the mailboat (he'd been lined up to test fly the plane acquired for Collins).
MacCarron's WW2 book "Landfall Ireland" shows Gormanstown, Collinstown, Baldonnel, Rathduff, Shannon and Foynes as operational at the start of "The Emergency".
Jerry Murland's excellent book "Departed Warriors" make reference to a relative being posted to 23 Training Depot Squadron at Baldonnel just after the armistice. The unit had Avro 504, RE8 and BE2c aircraft.
From Thomas Toomeys book re the War of Independence in County Limerick :
8th Nov 1920, East and Mid Limerick flying columns ambushed a convoy. Instead of 2 lorries of Black and Tans, they encountered an armoured car and 8 lorries carrying RAF men from Fermoy to Oranmore. Lt Watling wounded and claimed £2000 for head injuries. Reference to a wounded soldier in the convoy here :
17th Nov 1920 an aeroplace crashed at Cratloe on flight from Oranmore to Fermoy. Guarded by Ox and Bucks soldiers who were attacked. Pte Spackman killed. Pte Robbins wounded.
2nd/3rd December 1920 Capt David Tidmarsh ambushed by IRA party whose target was Col Michael Williamson, the local magistrate. Tidmarsh has just been demobbed from the RAF and was not the intended target. The IRA apparently apologised for the error and let him go on his way.
8th Feb 1921 an RAF plane crash lands at Thomastown, Kilfinnane and is captured and burned by the IRA. The navigator F/O MacKay is taken prisoner and held for some time but released unharmed on 13th Feb 1921. F/O Moreton had gone for help and was unharmed. The propellor from this aircraft is on display in the museum at Collins Barracks.
The bibliography makes reference to an article in The Irish Sword by Patrick McCarthy "The RAF in Ireland 1920-22" which I'd like to get to see.
"RAF Ireland" info can be found here : http://www.rafweb.org/Cmd_H2.htm
Hearts and Mines by William Sheehan carries a passage that "It was not until the end of May 1921 that permission was given for aeroplanes to carry machine-guns and bombs." Not sure if this relates to all Ireland or just the 5th Division area of operations. The book also mentions that the aerodromes at the Curragh and at Aldergrove had been dismantled but could still be used for landing purposes. Emergency landing grounds used during 1920/21 were a field 3 miles east of Athlone by the thrice weekly mail service and a private park near Carrick on Shannon used during a "Cavalry Drive" in June 1921 by Galway Brigade troops and RIC hunting for the IRA who had killed Capt Cornwallis and Lt McCreery of the 17th Lancers..
I'd had a query a while back re an RAF officer killed in an accident at RAF Tallaght
This station was used as a demob centre after the armistice before being auctioned off.