Tickets for events can be purchased in advance online here or by phone via the Box Office on 089 436 9868. The Box Office is at The BOOK MARKet Café, Market Street, Kells, Co.Meath, and will be open from 24th February.
You can also see a schedule view of the programme here.
Taking as a starting point the deaths of senior Volunteer officers Seamus Cogan (July 1920) and Patrick McDonnell (March 1921), the narrative of what happened and how it was presented will be examined. There will be a brief critical assessment of how the IRA were directed. The commemoration of these events in later years will be examined and certain myths as well as recent investigations and revelations examined.
The Meath IRA executed more men (their victims were all male) than the combined total of military casualties on both sides in the county during the Anglo-Irish War. There were also a number of miscues, where they let their intended victims get away. Why was the Meath IRA so active in uncovering spies and informers, relative to its more desultory military activities against the Crown Forces stationed in the county?
Meath-based, Leitrim-born historian Liam McNiffe looks at some of the realities of the War of Independence in rural Ireland, as seen through the prism of the IRA killing of John Harrison. Among the questions being posed … was John Harrison an informer? Was his murder sectarian? Did it contribute to the halving of the Methodist population in Leitrim, 1911-26? Did he bring his misfortune on himself? What was the local reaction to his killing?
Local historian Ultan Courtney (Blinding Light, The Tin Hats) looks at the strategic objectives and the tactics employed by the Crown Forces in Meath to thwart the IRA's military campaign, and the IRA war against the RIC after the arrival of the Black and Tans and British military units in force in 1920.How effective was the IRA campaign in the county, who had the better war, and how all of this impacted on the civilian population.
How the IRA matched and surpassed the operation of British intelligence in Ireland from 1919-21 with fatal results for dozens of spies and informers. How Michael Collins ran a network of spies—some well positioned in the Dublin Metropolitan Police—against the British intelligence services. Did he have things all his own way? He certainly didn’t but he built a highly motivated and much-feared operation.
A panel discussion on how best to take advantage of the rapid growth in online material related to the War of Independence (Bureau of Military History Witness Statements, the Military Service Pensions Collection, Irish Census Online, www.irishgenealogy.ie) to plot the military career of your antecedents (male and female) from 1916 – 1922. Most of the relevant material for a detailed search is available free of charge but can be supplemented by ‘paid’ sites like www.findmypast.ie for a comprehensive investigation of your family past.
As Ireland enters a new phase of centenary commemorations, some of the more horrific and controversial aspects of the War of Independence are being scrutinised. Violence against women in war and conflict is one of the great silences and repressed issues of history. During armed conflicts, women’s bodies also become battlefields and this paper seeks to demonstrate how Ireland’s revolution was no different. The various forms of violence that women experienced must be considered if the commemoration of the War of Independence is to seriously address the ‘most difficult’ questions about the past.
UCC historian Andy Bielenberg will examine the reasons for accelerated Protestant population decline during the Irish revolution, with a particular focus on those who were forced to leave by the IRA. The paper draws on evidence from the Irish Grants Committee claims, which was established by the British government to compensate Irish loyalists who had suffered from criminal damages, personal injuries and economic losses. This paper focuses specifically on those who were no longer living in Ireland by 1926 and therefore provides insight into a number of those who were forced to leave.
The IRA killed almost two hundred civilians during the War of Independence, a number of the bodies of their victims have never been recovered. Padraig Óg Ó Ruairc, author of Truce: Murder, Myth and the Last Days of the War of Independence has made a detailed study of IRA executions from 1919-21 and has been instrumental in the location of the remains of some of the ‘disappeared’.
The IRA was a mass movement of young men who willingly faced death, incarceration, torture or exile to achieve a form of Irish independence they fervently believed to be a far more worthy cause than that of devolutionary Home Rule. Though poorly armed, and led by men with little or no military experience they still managed to fight the British Crown forces to a standstill. UCC historian John Borgonovo asks, how did they do it?
The burning of the Custom House in May 1921 was the largest engagement undertaken by the Dublin Brigade IRA since the Easter Rising. Historian and Author Liz Gillis will discuss the impact of this major event of the War of Independence. IRA casualties (mostly in terms of volunteers taken prisoner) were enormous. But was the operation a military disaster or at least a partial success?