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Liam O’Flaherty and The Anglo-Irish War Essay

Liam O’Flaherty (1896-1984) • Served in the Irish Guards of the British Army from 19151917 • Suffered serious injury from a bomb blast in Belgium; was discharged due to depression.

• Following WWI, traveled widely and developed a world view based on atheism, communism, and the notion that Ireland should be an independent nation

Liam O’Flaherty (1896-1984) • Joined the Irish Republican Army to push for Irish independence. • Opposed the 1921 treaty that made Ireland a part of the British Commonwealth. • Wrote 13 novels between 1923 and 1976, many of which focused on the effects of war, revolution, and social upheaval in Ireland.

Anglo-Irish War – Origins The Easter Rising took place on 24 April, 1916 in Dublin, Ireland. The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) successfully incited a rising of about 1,600 rebels, which was quickly crushed by Crown (British) forces. The handling of the rebels, however, created mass sympathy and the consequences of this rebellion are still felt in Irish and international politics.

The Anglo-Irish War • 1919: The Irish Parliament, lead by Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins, declared Ireland a free state. • The Irish Republic army launched guerilla warfare during the Irish War of Independence

Anglo-Irish War – 1920 March — Thomas McCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork was shot in front of his family by British forces.

October — His successor, Terence McSwiney, dies after a 74-day hunger strike. 1 November — Kevin Barry, an 18-year-old medical student, was hanged for his part in an ambush he took part in when he was 16. 21 November — Collins’s ‘Squad’ killed fourteen members of an elite British spy group known as the ‘Cairo Gang’. Revenge was taken by Crown forces, who fired on the crowd in Croke Park. 12 people were killed and 60 wounded. Later that evening, two IRA men and one innocent man were shot ‘while escaping’ — in fact, they were marched into the prison courtyard and told to run, and when they refused they were shot in the back. Afterwards, 21 November became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’5.

Bloody Sunday

The Anglo-Irish War – 1920 (cont.) 28 November — a flying column led by Tom Barry killed 18 auxilaries in an ambush at Kilmichael in west Cork. Shortly after, revenge was taken by the burning of the centre of the city of Cork. December — the Government of Ireland Act set up Home Rule parliaments in Dublin and Belfast. Each parliament was given control over domestic affairs. Sinn Féin rejected it. This Act implemented the Partition of Ireland.

The Anglo-Irish War – 1921 25 May — the IRA burned Dublin’s custom house, where seven government departments were located. The attack led to the capture or death of more than 80 IRA men. 22 June, at the opening of the northern parliament at Stormount, King George V appealed for a truce:

Pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget. King George V, 22 June, 1921

Anglo-Irish Treaty An Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) of 26 counties was established The Irish state was a Dominion and was still part of the Commonwealth The British Monarch would remain as head of state and would be represented by the Governor-General The Royal Navy retained control of the ports of Cobh, Berehaven and Lough Swilly The border between the Free State and Northern Ireland would be drawn up by a Boundary Commission

Aftermath of the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1922: The Irish civil war breaks out between pro- and anti-treaty parties. Armed groups crossed into Northern Ireland and attacked British installations. They hoped to force the British to give up control of Northern Ireland. Today’s IRA stems from anti-treaty forces. May 1923: The civil war ends and Northern Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom. 1937: A new constitution ratified by the Irish government changes the name of the Irish Free State to Ireland. 1949: Ireland formally declares its independence from Britain. Ireland had cut all ties with the United Kingdom and became an independent republic.


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