Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : History             Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

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 wavered.

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 Brits.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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