Hot The Irish Civil War

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#1

The Four Courts along the River Liffey quayside. The building was occupied by anti-treaty forces during the Civil War, whom the National Army subsequently bombarded into surrender. The Irish national archives in the buildings were destroyed in the subsequent fire. The building was badly damaged but was fully restored after the war.

Ireland - A Television History - Part 10 of 13 - 'Civil War 1921-1923'



Tom Maguire - BMH.WS0400.pdf, on page 168



Kieran Glennon tells the story of the four Republicans executed in Donegal in 1923, by among others, his grandfather.

Four Republicans, who subsequently became known as the “Drumboe Martyrs”, were executed by a Free State firing squad in Donegal in March 1923. None of the four was from that county – all had come there as part of a joint campaign against the north involving both the Provisional Government and their anti-Treaty opponents.

The Civil War in Donegal had an almost-uniquely northern dimension.

Firstly, two of the key protagonists’ involvement in the War of Independence had been in the north. Originally from Kerry, Charlie Daly had been appointed as a full-time IRA organiser in October 1920, responsible for Tyrone and the rural part of Co. Derry. He went on to command the 2nd Northern Division in this area until early March 1922, when he was removed due to his opposition to the Treaty. By mid-1922, he was Vice-Commandant of the Republican forces in Donegal.

On the other side, the Free State officer Tom Glennon was originally from Belfast. The month after Daly’s appointment as a full-time organiser in Derry-Tyrone, he had been appointed to an identical role in Co. Antrim, later becoming Officer Commanding of the Antrim Brigade until he was captured; his area of responsibility thus directly bordered Daly’s to the east. In November 1921, following his escape from internment in the Curragh, he was appointed Adjutant to the IRA’s 1st Northern Division in Donegal.

Secondly, and more significantly, the overwhelming majority of Republican forces in Donegal were from outside the county and were there directly because of the situation in the north. In April 1922, as part of their efforts to maintain unity in the IRA in the face of the split over the Treaty, Michael Collins and Liam Lynch had agreed on a joint military strategy to attack the Northern Ireland government.

The Provisional Government swapped British-supplied rifles with anti-Treaty units in Munster, the southern weapons then being smuggled into the north for use by local units of the IRA in staging an uprising in May. For their part, the Republican Army Executive in the Four Courts agreed to send men from anti-Treaty units of the IRA in Cork and Kerry up to Donegal, under the leadership of Cork man Seán Lehane, in order to launch attacks across the border. By early July, Free State Chief of Staff Eoin O’Duffy estimated that 700 Munster Republicans were in Donegal 1; in addition, several hundred anti-Treaty members of Daly’s old division had fled west from Tyrone and Derry to avoid internment. - Today in Irish History, The execution of the “Drumboe Martyrs”, 14 ...
 
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Antóin Mac Comháin
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#2
Curious Journey - The 1916 Easter Rising


1976 Easter Rising Commemoration, GPO, Dublin

For the uninitiated, the Civil War began approximately 6 years after the Easter Rising, following the War of Independence, 1919-1921, and Curious Journey is an interview with the participants on both sides.

Maire Comerford who is interviewed, was the assistant to the Constance Markievicz, and she was fined for attending the banned 60th Easter Rising Commemoration, which is an indication of how long the Civil War went on 'in the shadows.'

The story of the Citizen Army is another oral account of the years preceding the Rising.
 
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Antóin Mac Comháin
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#4
even more so than the penal laws and Gortin mor, it's a period of Irish history that angers or saddens me the most.
1916 survivors - Earnan de Blaghd - Ernest Blythe

In the Curious Journey documentary, one of the Easter Rising volunteers describes a young British soldier quizzing him after they had surrendered, who happened to be the brother of the man beside him, and another interviewer said there was several Protestants in his unit. What is a Civil War, if it is not about brother v brother?

The problem of how we define the Irish Civil War, arises again in Dublin tenement life: an oral history, as an eyewitness to the killing of the first Police Officer, knew the Policeman personally, and he was known to the local kids as 'Dada', and although she said she hated the British in the twilight years of her life, she still had a soft spot for the local Irish Police Officer, albeit one who was taking the Saxon shillings.

When Ernest Blythe was interviewed in the 1960's, David Thornley Book 'Unquiet Spirit', he claimed that he had 'no regrets' for the executions carried out against Republicans, including the killing of Prisoners of War and the Ballyseedy Massacre, which the interviewee said left his students dumbfounded and open-mouthed. Guide To G42 - The Papers of Seosamh Mac Grianna, is an indication of how vicious the Civil War in the shadows was, with Blythe in a position to censor Mac Grianna.

I think books such as Dílseacht cast a different light on the Civil War, but it's important to remember that it was written three quarters of a century after the events. Did someone say censorship? The Curious Journey documentary was put together by an English historian, and not an Irish historian, and that was done in the 1970's, again, a long time after the events which took place.

The witness statement about Tom Maguire - BMH.WS0400.pdf, on page 168, for me, confirms that the Civil War should never have happened, and that it was Collins intentions, to reorganize and then attack the north:

'Tom Maguire, 0/C. 2nd Western Division, attended a conference, called by General Headquarters Staff, of theprincipal divisional officers in Ireland, held in Dublin. I remember speaking to him a few days before the meeting and he told me it was coming off and that be was travelling to Dublin the next day. He told ma he would let me know what took place at it When he returned, He did let me know; because I was in the military barracks in Ballinrobe at the time and, to my amazement, he came out with a statement made to him by both Collins arid O'Duffy, that they were only playing a game of bluff, that they did not intend to accept the Treaty at all, that their purpose in pretending to accept it was to got all the arms they could from the British and to get the British troops out of the country and when this had taken place, we would resume the fight. In other words, they would attack the British. I remember my feelings on hearing this statement which the unfortunate man, Maguire, swallowed "hook, line and sinker". I know the effect it had on me. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. I was inclined to laugh at the foolishness of the man to be taken in by this bluff, and at the same time, I pitied and sympathised with him for being so simple and honest. I asked him why not resume the fight now. The Provisional Government were getting arms from the British. At this time they must have got at least 30,000 rifles. I said to Maguire: "Why not fight the British now and destroy them and take to the hills again; where was the necessity to wait for the British troops to leave the country; did he or anybody else like him believe for a moment that if the British did leave the country they could be kept out with .303 ammunition; in other words, rifle ammunition. Could he not see that if the British wanted to land troops again, they could land them anywhere on the Irish coast under cover of their fleet, and that we had not one piece of artillery that was capable of damaging the smallest warship of the British fleet". Maguire got rather 'huffed' and, as I did not want to press the argument any further, I left the room.'

Barry's Column
 
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#12
And into the 21st century. Questioning the GFA today is like questioning the Immaculate Conception in the 1930s.
IRA's 1956-62 Campaign

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh interview on the IRA Border Campaign

Tom Barry stayed in the IRA until 1937, but resigned because he disagreed with the bombing campaign in England, that Seán Russell had planned. I can't see how Barry's idea of Flying Column attacks would have panned out any better than the 1950's Border Campaign, if he had succeeded in sidelining the Russell wing in 1937. Ó Cadhain left around the same time, because the Army Council rejected his proposal to establish a Third All-Ireland Dáil. Cathal Brughas son, fought in the late 1930's, and thus accepted the 'Army Council' of what became the 'Continuity IRA' as the legitimate 'Republican Government in waiting', and as a recognizable entity, but his grandson claimed in 2016 that the new IRA, were not the old IRA, and this is where the problems start with defining Physical Force Republicans as *Dissidents*, as opposed to their correct historical names. Óglaigh na hÉireann which evolved from the Provisional IRA, are a distinct entity to the Continuity IRA. *Dissident* was deliberately introduced into the public discourse to replace the word *Terrorist*, in the mid-1990's, in order to put as much water as possible between those who *Dissented against the Republic*, and those who stayed out in the ditches and the mountains.
 
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