Ernie O'Malley (1897-1957) was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He is best known as a prominent officer with the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and took the anti-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War. He never completed his medical studies, but became a writer and the author of On Another Man's Wound, The Singing Flame and Raids and Rallies. EDITOR Cormac O'Malley is a legal consultant based in New York and the son of Ernie O'Malley.
This previously unpublished manuscript tells the story of Brigadier Sean Connolly, O/C of the Longford Brigade, who was fatally wounded in action on 11 March 1921 at Selton Hill, near Mohill (Co. Leitrim), by British forces during the War of Independence. Comdt-General Ernie O'Malley came across the story in interviews with Tan and Civil War survivors in the early 1950s. The account makes Connolly come alive as a person - his schooling, love of music, education, farming family background and devotion to the nationalist cause. O'Malley, who had actually organised the Irish Volunteers in parts of the area and had known many of the local leaders, gives the social setting for the IRA activities and explains the subtle roles of the IRA General HQ, of the Catholic Church and the Anglo-Irish gentry. Most memorably, it describes in detail what the fighting men actually did locally and what a local leader had to do in order to organise his men.
Introduction by Cormac K. H. O'Malley
2 Longford, 1916-18
3 Longford and National Developments, 1918-20
4 Longford, 1920
- Drumlish, Mostrim, Ballinamuck, Top
5 Longford, September 1920
- Ballymahon and Arvagh Barracks
6 North Roscommon, October 1920
7 North Roscommon, November-December 1920
- Elphin and Ballinalee barracks
8 Dublin Castle, December 1920
9 Roscommon, October 1920-February, 1921
- Peace Efforts, Strokestown, Elphin
10 Leitrim, January-April 1921
- Flying Column, Sheemore, Selton Hill
- I Outline of IRA Command Structures in Leitrim, Longford and Roscommon
II Biographical Notes on Significant Local Participants
III Chronology of Events
'Greater familiarity with these sources — including the range of evocative first-hand accounts spanning the revolutionary decade from the Ulster crisis to the Civil War published as part of UCD Press’s new Centenary Classics series — should complicate as well as inform commemoration in 2016.
Although the achievements of the founding generation will be honoured and, inevitably, appropriated, the urge to celebrate independence should be tempered by an unsentimental understanding of the process by which it was achieved.'
21 March 2016
'UCD Press’s new ‘Centenary Classics’ series makes available eye-witness accounts of key revolutionary episodes including the Ulster crisis; the aftermath of 1916; the rise of Sinn Féin; the War of Independence; the Treaty split; and the Civil War. These provide first-hand perspectives on such topics as the significance of sectarian divisions; the impact of imprisonment on republicanism; the importance of popular mobilisation and guerrilla warfare; and the conflict’s divisive legacy.
These accounts offer many insights into the influences that shaped the revolutionary generation. The value of these texts does not lie solely in the factual light they shed on past events, they illuminate mentalities, as well as the memory of the revolution, a growing area of research.
These stories could be ‘made into a patchwork quilt from memory’. This aim alone provides a compelling reason to ensure the wider availability of eye-witness accounts, particularly during a period of commemoration in which politicians and others will claim to speak on their behalf.'
Fearghal McGarry, Queen's University Belfast
'These contemporary accounts by well known personalities of historical events and attitudes have an immediacy that conventional histories do not have. Introductions by modern historians provide additional historical background and, with hindsight, objectivity.'
'Scholars of nineteenth-century Irish and Irish-American politics should reacquaint themselves with these classics, part of a long running and immensely useful series from University College Dublin Press.'
Irish Literary Supplement
'Anything written by O'Malley is of value. The artist's eye for landscape and nature redeems this from being a military manual.'
'[O'Malley] not only brings his own skill as a writer to the story but presents something bigger than a biography as he sets than a biography as he sets the war in its social context, in particular the role of the Catholic Church and the local gentry, and gives a vivid description of the activities of the IRA.'