Joe McKelvey GAC: the IRA’s own GAA club

This is the story of Joe McKelvey GAC, a GAA club formed by the IRA in Belfast. Founded in 1924, the Joseph McKelvey Gaelic Athletic Club was named after the executed former commandant of the IRA’s 3rd Northern Division. McKelvey had been a founder member of the O’Donovan Rossa GAA club in Belfast. The choiceContinue reading “Joe McKelvey GAC: the IRA’s own GAA club”

The Burning of Cork, 1920

On the night of 11-12 December 1920 members of two Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) units, the Special Reserve and Auxiliary Division, shot burned and looted their way through parts of Cork city centre killing and wounding a number of people and causing damage estimated at $194m/€175m (in today’s value). In the immediate aftermath much ofContinue reading “The Burning of Cork, 1920”

The Ulster Special Constabulary on @theirishstory

A point that became clear during the recent controversy over an RIC commemoration in Dublin Castle was the various blindspots in general knowledge of the RIC. One clear gap was in awareness and knowledge of the Special Constabulary (from later became the B-Specials or B-men). The Irish Story has just published an overview I’ve writtenContinue reading “The Ulster Special Constabulary on @theirishstory”

The Irish White Cross

Here’s an interesting angle to explore the impact of violence during the War of Independence. The Irish in America had responded to the war by founding and supporting the American Committee for Relief in Ireland. It raised funds to mitigate suffering arising from the war which is dispersed through the Irish White Cross which hadContinue reading “The Irish White Cross”

#McGurks Bar: a brief prehistory of disinformation

This was published five years ago and still holds true, despite the persistence of the family’s in trying to uncover the truth. Forty-five years on from the McGurks Bar bombing there is much that is yet to be understood not only about the bombing itself, but also the context in which it happened. Mindful that the humanContinue reading “#McGurks Bar: a brief prehistory of disinformation”

Map of Belfast IRA members and suspects

Here’s the current map of Belfast IRA members and suspects spanning a period of around 60 years. It includes lists of Cumann na mBan, Irish Volunteer and Irish Republican Army members and suspects from 1916 onwards as well as lists of internees and sentenced prisoners for various periods. As some sets of names did notContinue reading “Map of Belfast IRA members and suspects”

Free delivery on Belfast Battalion book (while stocks last)

Signed copies of the Belfast Battalion book are available with free delivery for the next week or so (or while stocks last). Click the link here to buy a copy. Free delivery only available in Ireland and Britain (see the link for instructions for delivery elsewhere)..

The assassination of King George V, Belfast, 22nd June, 1921

Today, 22nd June 2021 is the centenary of King George V of England opening the northern parliament in Belfast, one of the occasions taken to mark the beginning of partition. This particular centenary and Anglo-Irish relations may have been significantly different, though, as on 22nd June 1921 the IRA, or at least Belfast IRA members,Continue reading “The assassination of King George V, Belfast, 22nd June, 1921”

21 July 1920: what the papers said

So what did the papers say about the outbreak of the Belfast pogroms in 1920? Following Edward Carson’s speech on the Twelfth at Finaghy the annual industrial holiday and taken place and, on the first day back at work, thousands of Catholic workers and socialists were attacked in the shipyards and driven from their jobs.Continue reading “21 July 1920: what the papers said”

The start of the Belfast pogroms, July 12th 1920

It will be interesting to see how much airtime is given to one of this year’s most significant centenaries over the next week or two, that of the start of the Belfast pogroms in July 1920. On July 12th 1920, Edward Carson addressed the assembled Belfast Orangemen at Finaghy telling them that the UVF wouldContinue reading “The start of the Belfast pogroms, July 12th 1920”