Sailortown and the violence of 1935

Last weekend, as part of the launch for the Belfast Battalion book, I gave a talk in St Joseph’s Church in Sailortown in Belfast. The talk looked at the experience of residents during the violent, summer of 1935 (rather than at the broader politics of what happened). A couple of themes that emerge from itContinue reading “Sailortown and the violence of 1935”

why republican groups are so fractious…

It has long been a cliché that, historically, the first thing on the agenda in any Irish republican organisation is a split. But like many clichés it has an element of truth to it. Most people are probably unaware that the Irish Citizens Army, as well as Republican Congress, organised in Belfast in the 1930s.Continue reading “why republican groups are so fractious…”

John McQuillan, a forgotten IRA volunteer shot by the RUC in 1942

John McQuillan’s name doesn’t feature in any republican roll of honour yet the eighteen year old appears to have been in the I.R.A. when he was shot dead by the R.U.C. in January 1942. That month there were significant tensions as the I.R.A. in A wing of Crumlin Road staged a week long mass hungerContinue reading “John McQuillan, a forgotten IRA volunteer shot by the RUC in 1942”

Who was in charge of the Belfast I.R.A.?

Who was in charge of the Belfast I.R.A. from the 1920s to the 1960s? Formally, the I.R.A. designated Belfast as either a Battalion or Brigade from 1922 through to the late 1960s with it’s commander usually listed as O/C Belfast. As a clandestine organisation, the identity of it’s leadership was not usually transparent. Occasional arrestsContinue reading “Who was in charge of the Belfast I.R.A.?”

Belfast and Nineteen Sixteen book relaunched by National Graves Association, Belfast.

The National Graves Association Belfast are relaunching ‘Belfast and Nineteen Sixteen’ the booklet produced to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising. The original 1966 book has been reprinted along with a new cover and introduction. You can read more on the relaunch below (by Brónach Ní Thuama in the Andersonstown News): The booklet wasContinue reading “Belfast and Nineteen Sixteen book relaunched by National Graves Association, Belfast.”

The Falls Curfew, 1942

The issue of Republican News that was published just after Tom Williams‘ execution on 2nd September 1942, stated that “…neither the passions of the people, nor the fiery demand for action of the Volunteers, will make the Army authorities enter into hasty or unplanned action.” Just over a month after Williams’ execution, the IRA did enter intoContinue reading “The Falls Curfew, 1942”

Charlie Monahan’s fateful journey, 20th-21st April 1916

Charles Monahan was the first Belfast casualty of 1916. He had been born on 21st March 1879 to Robert and Johanna Monahan, who lived at 23 Reilly’s Place, off Cromac Street in the Markets. Robert was originally from Wexford, where the surname Monahan is mainly found in the area between New Ross and Hook Head in the southContinue reading “Charlie Monahan’s fateful journey, 20th-21st April 1916”

Wexford and Belfast, 1916

What is often overlooked in regard to the Easter Rising is the extent of personal interconnections between participants. Denis McCullough, President of the Supreme Council of the IRB in 1916, had led the Belfast volunteers to Coalisland at the start of the Rising, from where they were supposed to proceed to Connacht. There they would have beenContinue reading “Wexford and Belfast, 1916”