The Ir­ish Rev­o­lu­tion was a trans­for­ma­tive pe­riod of our his­tory. In the first of a se­ries of ex­clu­sive ex­tracts from a ma­jor new book ‘At­las of a Rev­o­lu­tion’, we ex­plore how the war spread in Mun­ster.

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THE War of In­de­pen­dence, like all wars, was by turns heroic and gal­lant, nasty and brutish. It was also rel­a­tively short and small scale.

Mun­ster was the front­line of what Ir­ish Repub­li­can Army (IRA) Gen­eral Head­quar­ters (GHQ) termed the “war zone”.

Along with Dublin, Mun­ster was the war’s most dy­namic and strate­gi­cally sig­nif­i­cant the­atre. Po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence claimed 2,141 lives be­tween Jan­uary 1917 and De­cem­ber 1921.

Mun­ster ac­counted for more than half of that to­tal: there were 495 deaths in Cork; 152 in Tip­per­ary; 136 in Kerry; 121 in Lim­er­ick; 95 in

Clare and 35 in Waterford.

By way of com­par­i­son, 309 peo­ple were killed in Dublin and

224 in Antrim (the vast ma­jor­ity in ri­ot­ing in Belfast).

There was a long fuse to the war. As Sinn Féin reached its apogee with the gen­eral elec­tion vic­tory of De­cem­ber 1918 and the es­tab­lish­ment of Dáil Éire­ann in Jan­uary 1919, po­lit­i­cal busi­ness took prece­dence over mil­i­tary con­cerns.

In­creas­ingly dra­co­nian Bri­tish pol­icy was cen­tral to the trans­for­ma­tion of the Vol­un­teers into a guer­rilla army ca­pa­ble of sys­tem­atic mil­i­tary re­sis­tance. A se­ries of broad phases can be iden­ti­fied in the mil­i­tary cam­paign.

The first en­com­passed low-in­ten­sity op­er­a­tions against the Royal Ir­ish Con­stab­u­lary (RIC) from 1917 un­til the win­ter of 1919–20. The po­lice re­treat from un­ten­able ru­ral out­posts to con­sol­i­dated ur­ban bar­racks sur­ren­dered ter­ri­tory and moral author­ity.

There were 37 bar­racks in Tip­per­ary on 1 Jan­uary 1919 but only 22 two years later. The 56 RIC bar­racks in Lim­er­ick in early 1919 had re­duced to 21 by the time of the Truce in July 1921.

The num­ber in West Cork dropped from 40 to 19. No fewer than 54 bar­racks closed in Clare.

The de­ci­sion to main­tain or close a bar­racks was based on phys­i­cal ca­pac­ity rather than strate­gic lo­ca­tion, ced­ing fur­ther ad­van­tages to the IRA. At­tacks on the RIC be­came in­creas­ingly fre­quent dur­ing 1918.

In Fe­bru­ary, Clare be­came the first county to be des­ig­nated a Spe­cial Mil­i­tary Area. In April, the first as­sault on a bar­racks since 1916 took place at Gor­tatlea, near Tralee, Co Kerry, although it was un­suc­cess­ful.

Po­lice­men were reg­u­larly dis­armed and a num­ber were shot but not killed. Some lo­cal units can­vassed for wider lat­i­tude but GHQ was wary of pre­ma­ture es­ca­la­tion, cit­ing arms short­ages and a train­ing deficit.


The Solo­head­beg am­bush of 21 Jan­uary 1919, an au­ton­o­mous en­ter­prise by the South Tip­per­ary Brigade, unau­tho­rised by GHQ, has tra­di­tion­ally been con­sid­ered the open­ing ac­tion of the War of In­de­pen­dence.

But this des­ig­na­tion was ex post facto. Solo­head­beg as­sumed his­tor­i­cal mean­ing be­cause it had po­lit­i­cal res­o­nance, coin­cid­ing with the first sit­ting of Dáil Éire­ann, and be­cause of its deadly out­come: two con­sta­bles were killed.

The am­bush did not her­ald the gen­eral in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of hos­til­i­ties an­tic­i­pated by its abet­tors, but it did have a di­rect se­quel.

On 13 May 1919, two po­lice­men were killed at Knock­long, Co Lim­er­ick dur­ing the res­cue from Crown cus­tody of Seán Ho­gan, one of the Solo­head­beg am­bush party.

Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing Solo­head­beg, the at­tack­ers were cen­sured by GHQ, con­demned from the pul­pit and scorned by the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion.

The at­mos­phere had changed by May, how­ever. Pop­u­lar re­sent­ment had re­fo­cused on re­pres­sive state mea­sures. The des­ig­na­tion of Tip­per­ary South as a Spe­cial Mil­i­tary Area af­ter Solo­head­beg, a form of col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment, was a prime ex­am­ple of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ep­ti­tude.

On 23 June, Dis­trict In­spec­tor Michael Hunt, who had been in­volved in Ho­gan’s ar­rest, lay un­aided in a Thurles street mor­tally wounded af­ter be­ing shot in the mid­dle of a crowd in broad day­light.

Such as­sas­si­na­tions of par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­u­als were to ac­count for much of the killing in 1920–21. The war’s first ma­jor reprisal was the Bri­tish army’s sack­ing of Fer­moy on 7 Septem­ber.

The 2nd Cork Brigade, un­der Liam Lynch, had con­fronted sol­diers at­tend­ing church in the town that day, killing one of them. These in­ci­dents were among the ex­cep­tions in 1919, how­ever, punc­tu­at­ing long pe­ri­ods of quiet.

GHQ ap­proved a more ag­gres­sive pol­icy from the turn of the year. In the sec­ond stage of the war, from early 1920, the IRA de­stroyed hun­dreds of evac­u­ated bar­racks and at­tacked oc­cu­pied sta­tions.

On 2 Jan­uary, Car­rigt­wohill RIC Bar­racks in Cork be­came the first Bri­tish post seized in Ire­land since 1916. The burn­ing of the heav­ily for­ti­fied Kil­mal­lock Bar­racks in Lim­er­ick on 28 May was of great sym­bolic sig­nif­i­cance, given the fail­ure of the Fe­nian at­tack there in 1867. Over 100 Vol­un­teers, drawn from the three Lim­er­ick bri­gades, as well as Clare, Cork and Tip­per­ary, par­tic­i­pated in one of the largest ac­tions of the war.

Dirty war

Not all the fight­ing was of this tra­di­tional type, and the dirty-war char­ac­ter of the con­flict be­came in­creas­ingly pro­nounced. On 20 March, shortly af­ter a po­lice­man had been killed in Cork city, masked men broke into the home of IRA bri­gadier and lord mayor, Tomás MacCur­tain, and shot him dead in front of his wife.

Ru­mours of an ‘Anti-Sinn Féin So­ci­ety’ floated around Cork there­after. The group an­nounced it­self in the press from late sum­mer and claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for var­i­ous at­tacks, pri­mar­ily in Cork, but with cameos else­where, in­clud­ing Tip­per­ary, Lim­er­ick, Kerry and Clare.

It pre­sented it­self as a se­cret so­ci­ety of loyal, union­ist cit­i­zens. The re­al­ity was that the moniker was em­ployed by Crown forces as a cover for un­of­fi­cial reprisals. Their mem­bers also com­prised the so-called ‘Anti-Mur­der Gang’ that ter­rorised repub­li­can com­mu­ni­ties with sum­mary killings.

The modus operandi of the death squads was for a group of dis­guised gun­men to swoop late at night on the res­i­dence of sep­a­ratists, of­ten dur­ing ‘cur­few’ hours.

Un­armed vic­tims were shot out of hand. Typ­i­cally, mul­ti­ple in­di­vid­u­als were tar­geted on the same night, as on 7 March 1921 in Lim­er­ick city, when Mayor Ge­orge Clancy, for­mer Mayor Michael O’Callaghan and Vol­un­teer James O’Donoghue all died in such cir­cum­stances.

Bri­gadier Gen­eral Frank Percy Crozier, who re­signed as head of the Aux­il­iaries in protest at the lat­i­tude af­forded by se­nior Bri­tish of­fi­cials to his men to com­mit atroc­i­ties, con­cluded that the Lim­er­ick may­ors were ‘mur­dered by the po­lice act­ing un­der or­ders as part of a plan to “do away with” Sinn Féin lead­ers and put the blame on to Sinn Féin’. It is likely that ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings were un­of­fi­cial po­lit­i­cal pol­icy.

Bri­gadier Gen­eral Ce­cil Prescott-De­cie, the se­nior RIC of­fi­cer in north Mun­ster, favoured the ‘in­stant re­tal­i­a­tion’ in­her­ent in reprisals for the ‘stamp­ing out of ter­ror­ism’, rather than the pol­icy of ‘se­cret mur­der’ which he had seem­ingly been in­formed of by po­lice ad­viser Ma­jor Gen­eral Sir Henry Tu­dor.

The Septem­ber 1920 di­ary en­tries of Sir Henry Wil­son, army chief of staff, sug­gest that Tu­dor ac­knowl­edged the in­volve­ment of Crown forces in ‘reprisal mur­ders’ and that Lloyd Ge­orge ap­proved of a ‘counter mur­der as­so­ci­a­tion’.

The third phase of the war played out against the back­drop of the Restora­tion of Or­der in Ire­land Act, in­tro­duced in Au­gust 1920.

This leg­is­la­tion placed a whole raft of crimes un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of mil­i­tary courts. An un­in­tended con­se­quence was the emer­gence of elite IRA ac­tive ser­vice units, or ‘fly­ing col­umns’.

As Vol­un­teers were forced to go on the run, they be­came full-time rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. The East Lim­er­ick Brigade fly­ing col­umn ac­tu­ally came into ex­is­tence be­fore the in­tro­duc­tion of the Restora­tion of Or­der in Ire­land Act, and was the first to be recog­nised as such in the IRA.

The in­no­va­tion of the fly­ing col­umn im­plied main­tain­ing a stand­ing force in the field. The col­umn was con­tin­u­ally un­der arms and, the­o­ret­i­cally at least, pre­pared to ini­ti­ate con­tact and en­gage the en­emy on its own terms.

Guer­rilla tac­tics were de­signed to com­pen­sate for dis­crep­an­cies in num­bers, ar­ma­ments and tech­nol­ogy. Col­umn num­bers fluc­tu­ated around an ex­pe­ri­enced core.

In Cork, around 450 men did the bulk of the fight­ing. Kerry col­umns could call on 125 or so vol­un­teers, and Waterford on 75.

The mid-Clare and east Clare col­umns took the war to the en­emy with about 85 men. In Lim­er­ick, 150 reg­u­lar col­umn mem­bers faced 3,000 Crown forces. In Tip­per­ary, the fig­ures were just over 100 ver­sus 1,000.

Not all Crown forces were con­sid­ered ca­pa­ble of of­fen­sive ma­noeu­vres, how­ever. The Black and Tans were in­te­grated into the struc­tures of the RIC and served along­side reg­u­lar po­lice­men, although the Aux­il­iaries, a force apart, were de­signed ex­plic­itly for raid­ing pur­poses.

The Ir­ish Rev­o­lu­tion was a di­vi­sive, fas­ci­nat­ing and trans­for­ma­tive pe­riod of our his­tory. In the first of a se­ries of ex­clu­sive ex­tracts from a ma­jor new book ‘At­las of a Rev­o­lu­tion’, we ex­plore how the war spread in Mun­ster and why it was home to some of the most fear­some fight­ing.

Mun­ster was one of the most strate­gi­cally sig­nif­i­cant re­gions dur­ing the War of In­de­pen­dence, writes John O’Callaghan

In 1921, less than 15,000 of the 50,000 Bri­tish troops in Ire­land were primed to take the field. In Clare, troop num­bers peaked at around 1,500, but only about half were ever com­bat ready.

Suc­cess­ful IRA at­tacks grew more de­struc­tive be­tween the au­tumn of 1920 and the spring of 1921, in­flict­ing heav­ier ca­su­al­ties, though their fre­quency did not in­crease dra­mat­i­cally.

While fly­ing-col­umn am­bushes bore clear re­sem­blance to con­ven­tional com­bat, most of the killing hap­pened in the six months be­fore the Truce, and civil­ian deaths, which rep­re­sented a high pro­por­tion of all ca­su­al­ties, in­creased at a dis­pro­por­tion­ate rate.

A lot of the time noth­ing hap­pened. If fly­ing col­umns were not ly­ing in wait for the en­emy, they were stu­diously avoid­ing him. The Mid-Clare Brigade at­tempted 144 am­bushes be­tween Novem­ber 1920 and June 1921; 130 did not even re­sult in sight of the en­emy.

Faulty in­tel­li­gence, flawed tech­nique, weak lead­er­ship and in­ter­nal feud­ing, as well as bad luck and im­prov­ing Crown counter-mea­sures, were all fac­tors af­fect­ing the suc­cess of the brigade.

Cy­cle of vi­o­lence

The war de­scended into a self-per­pet­u­at­ing cy­cle of vi­o­lence that could ac­quire its own logic in­de­pen­dent of wider strate­gic con­cerns. The spo­radic reprisals of the first half of 1920 mor­phed into an of­fi­cially sanc­tioned sys­tem be­fore the end of the year.

Re­tal­i­a­tion was rou­tinely swift, as Crown forces lashed out in fear and frus­tra­tion, but it could also be cal­cu­lated. On 22 Septem­ber, af­ter six po­lice­men were killed at Ri­neen in the Mid-Clare Brigade ter­ri­tory, their com­rades paused to or­gan­ise sup­plies of petrol, ex­tra hand grenades and re­in­force­ments be­fore burn­ing the towns of En­nisty­mon, Lahinch and Mil­town Mal­bay and killing five civil­ians and one Vol­un­teer.

If the grat­i­fi­ca­tion of reprisal was de­layed, it could still be deadly. Crown forces re­tained the right to re­venge if Crown courts did not set­tle debts for them. On 24 July 1920, a Black and Tan, Wal­ter Oak­ley, was fa­tally wounded in Lim­er­ick. Civil­ians James O’Neill and Pa­trick Blake were ar­rested in Au­gust and ac­quit­ted on 19 Novem­ber, though the judge set the ver­dict aside.

Hours later O’Neill was shot four times in the head and James Blake was killed by bul­lets in­tended for his brother Pa­trick.

There were more RIC men killed in Kerry than any­where else out­side Dublin and Tip­per­ary.

One was Con­sta­ble Paddy Fo­ley, a Kerry na­tive. While home on hol­i­day in April 1920, he pre­sented in­for­ma­tion on the lo­cal IRA, in­clud­ing his own brother, to lo­cal of­fi­cers.

How­ever, the dis­trict in­spec­tor was in league with the Vol­un­teers. On the or­ders of two of his cousins, Fo­ley was seized and court-mar­tialled. He was shot 26 times.

Ruth­less­ness, clearly, was not the pre­serve of ei­ther bel­liger­ent alone. A spate of IRA at­tacks in Kerry from late Oc­to­ber to early Novem­ber 1920 (coin­cid­ing with the death and fu­neral af­ter a pro­tracted hunger strike of Ter­ence MacSwiney, who had suc­ceeded MacCur­tain as lord mayor of Cork), in which the IRA killed 14 con­sta­bles, re­sulted in the ‘siege of Tralee’, a se­ries of reprisals and burn­ings of pub­lic build­ings and busi­ness premises.

The cap­ture and de­ten­tion of four more po­lice­men en­gen­dered fierce rage. Pub­lic no­tices de­manded their re­turn on threat of dras­tic ac­tion.

The town was ef­fec­tively block­aded for more than a week. Two of the pris­on­ers were set free, but had been mis­treated, and one was ap­par­ently so trau­ma­tised that he killed him­self by cut­ting his throat with a ra­zor. The other two were killed and buried se­cretly.

At Kilmichael, on 28 Novem­ber Tom Barry’s west Cork fly­ing col­umn killed 17 Aux­il­iaries (one sur­vivor was left in­ca­pac­i­tated) and lost three Vol­un­teers.

Barry main­tained that the Aux­il­iaries pre­tended to sur­ren­der at one point be­fore re­sum­ing the fight, that this de­cep­tion cost the lives of two of his men who broke cover, and that the treach­ery prompted him to take no pris­on­ers.

Crit­ics have sug­gested that Barry con­cocted the false sur­ren­der to jus­tify a pre­med­i­tated mas­sacre. What­ever hap­pened amidst the fog of war, within a fort­night Cork, Kerry, Lim­er­ick and Tip­per­ary were un­der mar­tial law and a sig­nif­i­cant sec­tion of Cork city had been burnt by Aux­il­iaries.

Mar­tial law

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment had re­cruited, trained and de­ployed the Black and Tans and the Aux­il­iaries with

in­de­cent haste and con­fused the roles of po­lice­man and sol­dier with pre­dictably chaotic re­sults.

It had ma­nip­u­lated the legal sys­tem in the hope of cir­cum­vent­ing mar­tial law. But the log­i­cal con­clu­sion of in­creas­ing mil­i­tari­sa­tion was the even­tual im­po­si­tion of mar­tial law.

The Bri­tish cab­i­net’s in­sis­tence that it was fac­ing a re­bel­lion as op­posed to a war ham­strung Bri­tish forces and led to di­vi­sions within the mil­i­tary, a fail­ure to im­pose unity of com­mand, and an ab­sence of clarity as to where author­ity lay be­tween mar­tial and civil law.

The first of­fi­cial reprisal oc­curred at Mi­dle­ton, east Cork on 29 De­cem­ber, when six houses were de­stroyed fol­low­ing an am­bush.

Mar­tial law was im­posed in Clare, Waterford, Wex­ford and Kilkenny on 4 Jan­uary 1921. The lat­ter three coun­ties were by far the least ac­tive in the ‘war zone’.

Waterford’s Vol­un­teers ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems of lead­er­ship, or­gan­i­sa­tion, dis­ci­pline and morale. Their record was patchy. On 1 Novem­ber 1920, the suc­cess­ful Pil­town am­bush was staged, but in an­other en­gage­ment at Pil­town the fol­low­ing June, the IRA unit sur­ren­dered.

The west­ern half of the county had distin­guished it­self rel­a­tively well, but the Waterford IRA had to be amal­ga­mated into one brigade in June 1921.

The fi­nal phase of the war be­gan in early 1921 as the aug­mented Bri­tish mil­i­tary pres­ence and their can­nier tac­tics, as well as peren­nial arms short­ages, un­der­mined the ca­pac­ity of the IRA to per­form de­mand­ing op­er­a­tions.

The fo­cus switched to high-fre­quency, low-in­ten­sity op­er­a­tions re­quir­ing fewer weapons and pos­ing less risk to Vol­un­teers. Spec­tac­u­lar IRA vic­to­ries were rare in 1921, and there were some crush­ing de­feats. Fly­ing col­umns were far from an un­qual­i­fied tri­umph, and amal­ga­mated col­umns were pri­ori­tised for a pe­riod.

Higher num­bers were a dou­ble-edged sword, fa­cil­i­tat­ing ex­ten­sive op­er­a­tions but in­creas­ing ex­po­sure to in­tel­li­gence leaks and counter-am­bush. There were a num­ber of nar­row es­capes when whole units came close to be­ing rounded up or wiped out in one fell swoop.

Few es­caped at Clon­mult in east Cork on 20 Fe­bru­ary, how­ever, when the lo­ca­tion of a house full of Vol­un­teers was be­trayed: twelve were killed.

The Drom­keen am­bush of 3 Fe­bru­ary fol­lowed a dis­as­trous two months for the Lim­er­ick IRA, dur­ing which 12 Vol­un­teers died.

Ac­cord­ing to the un­writ­ten rules of guer­rilla war­fare, the scale and bru­tal na­ture of their losses de­manded a re­sponse in kind from the Vol­un­teers.

Eleven po­lice­men were killed at Drom­keen. It was sec­ond only to Kilmichael in the num­ber of con­firmed Bri­tish fa­tal­i­ties, and no Vol­un­teers were lost. The pol­icy from the out­set was to take no pris­on­ers.

One Vol­un­teer, Mau­rice Meade, prob­a­bly killed seven men, two of whom he shot af­ter their sur­ren­der. Drom­keen was an act of re­venge for fallen com­rades. It also made a com­pelling state­ment: that the Lim­er­ick Vol­un­teers had not been de­feated and re­mained a force to be reck­oned with.

The psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect of suc­cess­ful am­bushes or bar­racks at­tacks ex­ceeded their mil­i­tary sig­nif­i­cance, pro­foundly af­fect­ing the pub­lic con­scious­ness. The clos­est ap­prox­i­ma­tion to a con­ven­tional bat­tle in the whole of the war took place at Cross­barry, be­tween Ban­don and Cork city, on 19 March 1921.

The Bri­tish had re­li­able in­tel­li­gence on the lo­ca­tion of IRA brigade head­quar­ters and or­gan­ised an ex­ten­sive sweep. Tom Barry or­ches­trated a bold and bril­liant fight­ing re­treat, in­flict­ing at least ten fa­tal­i­ties on the en­emy, while suf­fer­ing three.

An un­wieldy east, mi­dand west Lim­er­ick com­pos­ite suf­fered one of the IRA’s worst re­verses when it was sur­prised on two suc­ces­sive days in early May and lost eight men.

In­ces­sant en­emy pur­suit, a scarcity of am­mu­ni­tion and the lo­gis­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties in­her­ent in main­tain­ing large units con­vinced sev­eral ar­eas to dis­band brigade fly­ing col­umns in favour of bat­tal­ion col­umns. East Lim­er­ick, for ex­am­ple, de­mo­bilised and sub-di­vided in late May. Bat­tal­ion col­umns were fairly lim­ited in what they could hope to achieve. In­tel­li­gence war The in­tel­li­gence war was a bru­tal and murky af­fair. Mun­ster was at its grisly core.

The Cork IRA was par­tic­u­larly un­for­giv­ing. At a min­i­mum, it put 65 civil­ians to death for al­legedly col­lud­ing with Crown forces, brand­ing them as ‘spies’ or ‘in­form­ers’.

Six­teen peo­ple died in this man­ner in Tip­per­ary, eight in Kerry, seven in Lim­er­ick, three in Clare and one in Waterford.

Fewer peo­ple suf­fered this fate in the other 26 coun­ties com­bined. Prob­a­bly the most con­tentious charge laid against the IRA is that ac­cu­sa­tions of spy­ing fre­quently served as a mere pre­text for the per­se­cu­tion and mur­der of for­mer Bri­tish sol­diers and Protes­tants, the real mo­ti­va­tion be­ing so­cial or sec­tar­ian an­tag­o­nism.

There were 21 Protes­tants among those ex­e­cuted in Cork, five in Tip­per­ary and two in Kerry. All of those ex­e­cuted in Lim­er­ick, Clare and Waterford were Catholics.

There were many pos­si­ble of­fend­ers but only a frac­tion were ac­tu­ally ex­e­cuted. Ex­sol­diers were a mi­nor­ity among those sus­pected but a dis­pro­por­tion­ately high ma­jor­ity of those ex­e­cuted.

They were of­ten iso­lated fig­ures on the mar­gins of so­ci­ety. It was not un­com­mon for in­stances of pu­ta­tive in­form­ing to be shrouded in com­mu­nal spite or per­sonal in­trigue, but IRA in­tel­li­gence ca­pa­bil­i­ties should not be un­der­es­ti­mated, and repub­li­cans gen­er­ally gar­nered am­ple ev­i­dence on which to judge cases.

The thresh­old of guilt and the cri­te­ria for pun­ish­ment could be capri­cious, how­ever, and in some ex­cep­tional in­stances, ‘spy’ or ‘in­former’ was a la­bel of con­ve­nience. IRA jus­tice was not blind and not ev­ery­one was equal be­fore IRA law.

There was a mil­i­tary im­passe in the months be­fore the Truce. Whole tracts of ru­ral Mun­ster had been ren­dered un­govern­able by the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties, but Crown forces main­tained their pres­ence in all ur­ban set­tings and large pop­u­la­tion cen­tres, and would not be dis­lodged.

The IRA sur­vived the war liv­ing from hand to mouth, from am­bush to am­bush (although the guer­rilla in­fra­struc­ture in Cork in­cluded a mu­ni­tions fac­tory), and might have con­tin­ued to do so in­def­i­nitely un­less the Bri­tish re­sorted to a level of war­fare un­prece­dented in Ire­land.

Po­lit­i­cal com­pro­mise was a nat­u­ral end to a war that was nei­ther won nor lost by fight­ing alone.

ABOVE: The bod­ies of three IRA men killed by the Bri­tish army in West Cork in De­cem­ber 1920.

Crowds turn out to watch a fu­neral pro­ces­sion in St Pa­trick’s Street, Cork, in 1921. There were 495 deaths dur­ing the War of In­de­pen­dence in Cork.

Boys Brigade group (with Vol­un­teers in back­ground) pa­rade at Cork’s Corn­mar­ket (near City Hall) in about 1914.

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