#BloodySunday 1920

Just a quick post on 1920’s Bloody Sunday, with a look at some reporting from the time. These are brief extracts from provincial press in Britain.

This is how the Leeds Mercury reported it the next day, like many papers it is (at best) vague about who actually killed people at Croke Park, while being very precise about the operations carried out by the IRA that morning. Many quote their source as the ‘official report’ on events.

That’s fairly typical, although if you read the account in the Edinburgh Evening News on the next day you wouldn’t actually know that it was Crown forces who killed people in Croke Park and you’d think it was the IRA that did it (that particular propaganda tactic wasn’t somehow invented in the 1970s). That type of misreporting is what prompted the publication of Who Burnt Cork City? after the burning of Cork in December 1920 (one of the next big centenary events).

Here’s reporting from the Edinburgh Evening News:

And to show how relatively instantaneous news reporting could be in 1920, a photo from Daily Mirrors front page the day after Bloody Sunday. Perhaps a reminder that media propaganda is a significant part of the stories around conflict, and always has been.

The Irish Times account of events in Croke Park similar obscures who was responsible for the deaths there (see below). The Irish Independent similarly published the official account along with eye witness accounts that almost invariably describe the shooting but not who was firing the shots although it does describe the military firing shots outside Croke Park, it more typically talks about ‘rifle fire’ without saying who were pulling the triggers on those rifles.

As does the Belfast Newsletter.

The Belfast Telegraph goes beyond the official account and suggests that those who were killed were shot during a gun battle between the IRA and Crown forces.

The Freeman’s Journal, was completely unequivocal, though. It described the day as Dublin’s Bloody Sunday and stated that “Croke Park was turned into Amritzar”.

While the Evening Telegraph, poignantly, included a brief account of the Dublin-Tipperary match itself.

You can now order a couple of new books on the war of independence in Dublin (by James Brady) and the border area (by Gregory Knipe), just check out www.litter.press.

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