On Yellow Road in Whitehall, a small memorial amidst terraced houses honours the victims of an atrocity. This memorial marks the spot where the bodies of Alfred Colley and Seán Cole were found on 26 August 1922.
Executions December 8 1922: According to the official announcemen The execution took place this morning at Mountjoy Gaol of the following persons taken in arms against the Free State Government: — Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellowes, Joseph McKelvey, and Richard Barrett
Commandant Sean Bergin,
OC Flying Column, 1st Battalion South Roscommon Brigade, IRA:
Sean, from Connolly Street, Nenagh, was shot dead while a prisoner at Loughlin Wood.Co Roscommon
had its after effects, health-wise, too. Joe Lacey, Wexford, continued to decline
after the end of the hunger strike, and died in the Curragh Military Hospital on
24 December 1923
1923 IRA Hunger Strike
In Feb of 1923, 23 members of Cumann na mBan (including Mary and Annie MacSwiney, Lily Brennan and Nellie Ryan, sister-in-law of the Free State's Commander-in-Chief and Defence Minister Richard Mulcahy) went on strike for 34 days over illegal arrest and imprisonment without trial of prisoners. The strike resulted in the release of the women hunger-strikers. On 23 May 1923, the Irish Civil War officially ended, but the state continued to go after republicans, keeping 12,000 men and women in prison and persecuting and harrassing countless others. By October of 1923 tension was at an all-time high in the prisons and camps because of conditions and with no release in sight. On 13 October 1923, Michael Kilroy, OC of the IRA pows in Mountjoy, announced a mass strike by 300 prisoners, and it soon spread to other jails, and within days 7,033 republicans were on hunger strike. The figures given by Sinn Féin at the time were Mountjoy Jail 462; Cork Jail 70; Kilkenny Jail 350; Dundalk Jail 200; Gormanstown Camp 711; Newbridge Camp 1,700; Tintown 1,2,3, Curragh Camp 3,390; Harepark Camp 100; and, 50 women in the North Dublin Union.
Dan Breen utterly rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which made him, like many others, angry and embittered:
I would never have handled a gun or fired a shot… to obtain this Treaty… writing on the second anniversary of Martin Savage's death, do you suppose that he sacrificed his life in attempting to kill one British Governor-General to make room for another British Governor-General?
December 26 1920: John ‘Flyer’ Nyhan, one of the Kilmichael ambushers, is captured at Shannonvale, Co. Cork and imprisoned in Ballykinlar.
John 'Flyer' Nyhan 1892-1934
Born Clonakilty. Became Quartermaster of his local batallion and Staff Captain of Cork No. 1 Brigade. Jailed in March 1920, he went on hunger strike for 21 days and was released in June of that year. Played a major role in the Kilmichael ambush, but was captured six weeks later and held until the end of the war. During the Civil War was hit by six bullets when Free State troops tried to capture him, but he managed to escape.
Roscrea Excecutions On the seventh of January 1922 the Treaty was passed into the Dail by 64 votes to 57.Eamon de Valera,Cathal Brugha and Austin Stack resign and the country is divided. This was the start of a shameful civil war that was to pit brother against brother. People who had fought shoulder to shoulder now found themselves on opposite sides in this bloody conflict that was to leave 1250 irish men and women dead. 77 of these were excecuted.
Among those were 4 Tipperary men excecuted in Roscrea by the free state army.
February 4 1923: 1923 – In Shorne, Rathmore, Co Kerry, Anti-Treaty IRA fighter Micheal McSweeney is shot dead by Free State troops.
Free State troops use IRA prisoners to clear a blocked road near Bandon, Cork, a booby trap mine explodes while they are clearing a road block, killing two prisoners and injuring seven.
Five members of the Irish Republican Army who were executed by the Free State, on the 20th of January 1923, at Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath.
Thomas Hughes, from Bogginfin, Athlone, who was Lieutenant Commandant, 'Officer Commanding Munitions', Western Division I.R.A. He had served as Captain with the 3rd Engineers Dublin Brigade and was also 'Officer Commanding Munitions' in Athlone.
Michael Walsh, born in Derrymore, County Galway. He was Vice-Commandant, 2nd Battalion No. 1 Brigade, Western Division.
Herbert Collins, a native of Kickeen, Headford, County Galway, who was captured at Currahan and charged with being in possession of arms and ammunition.
Stephen Joyce, a native of Derrymore, Caherlistrane, County Galway and Martin Burke, a native of Caherlistrane, County Galway - he was Officer Commanding, Active Service Unit Number 3 Brigade, Western Division.
There were five executions on the 20th of January 1923 in Athlone, where the Western Command of the army was being entangled in the web. They are of particular interest to us because all five had Galway or Western connections, as had the sixth person, General Tom Maguire, TD who was also sentenced to death, but possibly because of his status as TD the death sentence was not carried out in his case. On Saturday January 20th, 1923 those five men were taken out in Custume Barracks, Athlone, lined by a wall and, on the orders of Highest Command in the Free State Forces, executed.
January 1923: Anti-Treaty IRA prisoners executed in Dundalk.
In yesterday's papers it was announced that the Government had decided to hand over the bodies of the men executed during the civil strife in 1922-23. The intimation to the relatives stated that if they did not notify their intention of claiming the remains before Monday next, the military authorities would have them buried in sanctified ground.
Almost eighty executions took place altogether, and six of these were in Dundalk. At the County Jail on the morning of January , 13th 1922 three young men, Thos. McKeown, Piedmont, Bellurgan ; John McNulty, Carromannon, Balleeks, Co. Armagh, and Thomas Murray, Kilcarn, Navan, were shot on a charge of being in possession of firearms. Little over a week later (Jan. 22nd), three more also paid the supreme penalty at the Military Barracks. They were Jas. Melia, Bridge Street, Dundalk; Thomas Lennon, Dowdallshill and Joseph Ferguson, Gyles' Quay. The two former had been captured with arms at Dowdallshill on 7th January, and Ferguson was found in possession of a revolver at Lordship Hall on the same date.
Ned Bofin’s IRA column in late 1922 and early 1923 raided with impunity from their lair in the Arigna mountains, repeatedly humiliating Free State garrisons in the county towns.
Beginning in late 1922 the anti-Treaty column based in Arigna began systematic dismantling of the Free State security apparatus in the region. In November 1922 Ballinamore Civic Guard (police) station was held up and the Guards’ uniforms taken.
Emboldened by their easy victory over the unarmed Guards, on December 8, the anti-Treatyites attacked and overpowered the Free State military garrison at Carrickonshannon, killing one soldier (a civilian was also killed in the exchange of fire) and seizing the arms and motor transport of the soldiers.
There were further attacks on barracks at Dowra and Manorhamilton before Bofins’ men had their greatest coup, at Ballinamore on January 28 1923. There, the barracks was taken after a short fire fight and then blown up. The train station was also destroyed and as well as losing their arms and tenders, the 35 Free State soldiers were rounded up and taken back the Arigna mountains as prisoners.
Republicans Executed by the Free State Government during the Civil War.
Nov.17th; James Fisher, Peter Cassidy, Richard Twohig, John Gaffney, Nov 24th: Erskine Childers, Nov. 30th: Joseph Sponer, Patrick Farrelly, John Murphy, Dec 8th: Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellows, Joseph McKelvey, Dec 19: Stephen White, Joseph Johnston, Patrick Mangan, Patrick Nolan, Brian Moore, James O’Connor, Patrick Bagnell. Dec 29th: John Murphy, John Phelan, Jan 8th: Leo Dowling, Sylvester Heaney, Lawrence Sheeky, Anthony O’Reilly, Terence Brady: Jan 13: Thomas McKeown, John McNulty, Thomas Murray, Jan 15; Frederick Burke, Patrick Russell, Martin O’Shea, Patrick McNamara, James Lillis; Jan 20th: James Daly, James Hanlon, Cornelius McMahon, Patrick Hennessy, Thomas Hughes, Michael Walsh, Herbert Collins, Stephen Joyce, Martin Burke: Jan 22nd; James Melia, Thomas Lennon, Joseph Ferguson; Jan 26th; Patrick O’Reilly, Patrick Cunningham, William Conroy, Colum Kelly: Jan27th; Patrick Geraghty, Joseph Byrne: Feb 26th: Thomas Gibson: Mar 13th; James O’Rourke, William Healy, James Parle, Patrick Hogan, John Creane: Mar 14th Sean Larkin, Daniel Enright, Charles Daly; April 11th; James O’Malley, Francis Cunnane, Michael Monaghan, John Newell, John Maguire, Martin Moylan: April 25th; Richard Hathaway, James McEnery, Edward Greaney; April 26th, Patrick Mahoney, May 2nd Christopher Quinn.
On Thursday the 30th of November 1922 the following Anti treaty IRA soldiers were executed, after being found guilty by Court Martial. The executions took place in Dublin at 8.15am.
Joseph Spooner, 67 McCaffrey’s Estate Mount Brown Dublin City. Found guilty of having in his possession a revolver without proper authority at Erne Street Dublin on the 30th of October 1922.
Patrick Farrelly, 67 Chancery Lane Dublin, found guilty of possession of a bomb at Erne Street Dublin on the 30th of October 1922.
John Murphy, 56 Belview Buildings, Thomas Street Dublin. Found guilty of having in his possession two bombs at Earn Street Dublin on the 30th of October 1922.
Al three were arrested on the 30th of October after an attack on Free State Troops at Oriel House Dublin.
On the 10th of January 1923 Bernie Radford and Con McCarthy, 3rd Battalion, South Wexford Brigade IRA, were killed in action against Free State forces at Spenserstown. Together with five comrades they were surrounded while billeted in the stables of a local farm. Despite being surrounded and outnumbered they engaged the Free State forces in a fierce gun battle which lasted well over a half an hour. Running short on ammunition they were eventually force to attempt a break out and it was while carrying out a rearguard action that allowed the rest of the group to ascape the two men were mortally wounded. In the words of one of the Free State soldiers present " they made a determined stand right to the end" .
Both were young men. Bernie was 23 and con was 24. Both were local men, popular and respected throughout the area. Primarily both were commited Republicans. Volunteers in the Irish Republican Army, they were totally opposed to the treaty of 1922 and dedicated to the establishment of a 32 county All-Ireland Republic.
In June of that year Bernie's brother Mick Radford, while unnarmed and under a cease fire, was shot dead by Free State forces.
On the 22nd June 1923, IRA Volunteer Michael Radford of the South Wexford Brigade, was shot unarmed and left to die by Free State soldiers at Ballybuick, Tomhaggard, Co. Wexford.
On the 2nd of May 1923 27 Anti-Treaty I.R.A. Volunteers escaped from the County Jail in Wexford. One of the escapees was Michael (Mick) Radford. He was still on the run on the 22nd of June when he was shot. Radford was unarmed and although shot and mortally wounded on the evening of the 22nd he was left to die and his body not recovered until the next day. He was shot twice at The Cotts, Tacusmshane, County Wexford.
November 18 1922: Four Anti-Treaty IRA fighters are killed when a land mine they are preparing on the Naas road near Dublin explodes prematurely.
A Free State lorry, driving from Dundalk is destroyed by a remotely detonated landmine in Carrickmacross. One soldier is killed and ten are badly injured. IRA fighters took the wounded men’s weapons and equipment but also tried to give them first aid.
18/12/1922 On Monday the 18th of December Martin Joyce junior was shot dead at his home in Maumtrasna County Mayo
29 December 1922 - Frank Lawlor was aware that CID agents were looking for him. He was tracked down to a friends house in Ranelagh and taken from there by the CID. His body was recovered at Milltown Golf Club. Nothing was heard of Lawlor until the 1st of January 1923 when his body was found on Orwell Road.
Frank Lawlor, killed on 29th December 1922. His death, seen in the context of what came before, now looks unremarkable. The Republican Wolfe Tone annual of 1961 lists him as number 46 out of a total of 113 “unauthorised murders” of Republicans during the civil war. For good measure, they list another 77 “authorised murders” or executions and another 10 who died in imprisonment.
Captain Michael Cull, who was shot dead by Free State forces during a raid on Ovens’ hardware and grocery store in the village of Ballyconnell County Cavan. on the 6th of January 1923.
There was however one more incident that brought the series of tragedies set off by the death of Michael Cull at Ballyconnell on January 7 1923 to a close. As the National Army troops traversed the Arigna hills they blew up the dugouts and mine tunnels where the guerrillas had been camped out. One such dugout was inhabited at the time by two IRA Volunteers, Patrick Tynan and James Cull, the brother of Michael. Both died in the explosion on February 27 1923. Their funerals were raided by a party of Free State troops in an armoured car, who lined up and searched all the male mourners
Ned Bofin himself, who had been nicknamed in the press, ‘the Irish De Wet’ (after the Boer guerrilla leader of 1899-1902) was captured on March 25th 1923.