Limerick's Fighting Story
The book Limerick's Fighting Story is an unpretentious documentation of the courage of the young men and women who confronetd the bastardry of the British Empire and its army in Limerick.
The following words,
penned by James McCarthy inside the front cover of the book
he edited and presented to Donnacha O'Hannigan, capture that moment in time.
Limerick's Fighting Story
A few years ago a relation of Maire Cleary of 21 Upper Dorset
Street, Dublin sent me the card below. Maire, was Donnacha's
cousin and living in the Fire Station, across from her original home, at the time. She did not support the treaty and was gaoled by the Free
State Army in 1923 along with her sister. The story is in the
history pages of this website.
| Liam Lynch was born only a mile or so from O'Hannigan's
Anglesboro birth place.
Who was Donnacha O'Hannigan?
An excerpt from my first book Cleary Independent:
Back home beneath the Galtees in County Limerick his cousin,
Donncadh, O'Hannigan was treading a different path in his quest
to renounce King George. On 19 December, six months after Jack
declared his `intention to renounce forever all allegiance and
fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty,
and particularly to George V,' the tranquillity of Angelsborough
was pierced by the sound of rebellion. By the time the humiliating
British surrender brought the rifle fire to a halt four members
of the King's Lincolnshire Regiment lay dead. Donncadh Oh Annagain,
as the Irish-speaking Major General was known to his East Limerick
flying column, was now a traitor. For him there was no retreat.
King George had been renounced forever.
On the plains below Mount Galteemore the flying columns of
Dinny Lacey, Sean Moylan and Tom Barry delivered to Michael Collins
the military victories which would force British Prime Minister
David Lloyd George to the peace table. When cousin Donncadh accepted
the British Treaty in December 1921 and joined the Free State
side Jack was horrified.
`It's a treacherous Treaty that has the dirty imprint of Lloyd
George all over it. I can't believe they'd sign a document which
partitions Ireland and demands they swear an oath of allegiance
to King George V,' he said. It was a position from which he never
Donncadh O'Hannigan was a reluctant signatory to the Irish Free
State. Such were his misgivings that in Lmerick in 1922, prior
to the Civil War beginning in earnest, he agreed to a truce with
his longtime friend and neighbour Liam Lynch. It was to no avail.
It seems only appropriate that Ken Loach's award winning
film The Wind That Shakes the Barley should have
appeared as the war in Iraq unravels. Only yesterday (19 September
2006) the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, was throwing his
lot behind the imperialists with an awkward and unintellectual
attack on Muslims. How Pell can turn a blind eye to the violence
carried out in the name of Christianity while drawing a link between
Islam and violence is truly astounding. The Black and Tans sent
into Ireland were not Muslim!
Those who know their history would also be aware that, too often
the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has been on the side of the
imperialists. In Ireland Church leaders were accused of taking their orders
from Rome and Britain, in excommunicating IRA men at war with the
Damien O'Donovan, the country boy in Loach's film who joins the
IRA in the final War of Independence (1919-1921) is so like my
great uncle Donncadh (Donnacha, as it it is also spelt) O'Hannigan.
O'Hannigan was the leader of the East Limerick Flying Column.
Like Donovan, O'Hannigan was to find himself at odds with comrades
when the truce arrived in 1921.
|The plaque marks the place where Dan Breen and his men shot
dead members of the Royal Irish Constabulary in Tipperary
in 1919. To many it was seen as the event that started the
war. O hAnnagain and Breen were well known to each other.