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

 

 

Irish Civil War

Nellie Cleary and the republican tribes in Dublin

The transferring of the 1911 Irish Census returns onto the web is a godsend for historians. In December 2007 I spent two weeks in County Limerick digging up history and, with those stories reverberating in my head, casting an eye over the census returns has only fuelled my imagination.

Here are some of my most recent finds:

The Cleary girls of Dorset Street -

Josie and Nora Cleary and baby Nora at Donabate. John Howard in the shorts circ 1939.

'Neurotic girls are amongst the most active adherents to the irregular cause'. Free State propaganda statement of January 1923.'

 

When Nellie Cleary – my grandfather’s first cousin – was 'kidnapped' in 1923 by the Free State Army she was a mere 17 years of age. In 2000 Nellie’s niece, Joan – daughter of Nellie’s brother John – described how, when Nellie arrived home from school she was taken by the Free Staters. The census confirms that Nellie was but a child.

Her sister Maire, who was arrested in February 1923, was 30 years of age and single. Sister Nora (16 years) was working in stationery and Alice (14 years) was a cigarette maker. John was a cooper like his dad, as was Thomas, who was living with his wife of 12 months at 19.4 Upper Dorset Street. Daniel Cleary, his wife Nora and the rest of the children were living at 19.1 Upper Dorset Street. In the civil war records the girls are listed at 21 Upper Dorset Street. Maybe the family had shifted. nellie was released after a week.

Numbers 12 and 13 Upper Dorset in 2007. The original Cleary tenement, at Number 19 and later at Number 21, was a few doors along this footpath.

All over Dublin supporters of the republic were being terrorised by the Free State. According to Joan Cleary her family was no exception. It’s hard to properly comprehend just how traumatised Nellie must have been when taken away from her family. Whether she had a nervous breakdown, as Joan implied, is hard to know given the compliance of the state in the use of terror and the burying of the horrors. Nellie did however become a school teacher.

Sean MacEntee

It was a time when family members - Sean MacEntee’s wife Margaret is one such example - were denied access to husbands. MacEntee had fought alongside Cathal Brugha at the Hamman Hotel in July 1922. He was released from gaol in December 1923. In November 1922 his wife wrote to the gaol authorities seeking access to her husband. MacEntee had been hidden in the Cleary house at various times.

The Gleesons of Dominick Street

In 1911 Thomas Gleeson was living with his wife and seven children in Dominick St Dublin, just around the corner from the Clearys. His daughter Margaret was 17, Bridget was 10 and Christina was 15. In 1922 three Gleesons in Dominick Street – Margaret, Nora and Bridie - were listed as prisoners of the Free State.

The Clearys of Bath Street

Philip Cleary was 18 and his brother Denis was 17 when they were arrested. In 1911 their father Philip was 33 and their mother Kate was 34, and the family was living at 26 Bath Street, Irishtown. The boys were listed as living at 40 Bath Street when arrested.

Records from the Civil War

Peter Cassidy

Peter and his sister Bridget – both aged ten years in 1911 - were the youngest of Thomas and Bridget Cassidy’s five children. Thomas worked as brewery labourer and he and his wife were from County Kildare. Peter was living at the same address, Usher Street, when arrested by the Free Staters in Thomas Street, Dublin on 26 October 1922 'in possession of a full webley .45'. A member of the Dublin brigade of the IRA, he was executed on 17 November 1922.

The following records from the National Archives - this one from 1940 -reflect the depth of the tragedy of the Civil War.

Letter to de Valera from Ellen Gaffney, mother of John Gaffney, Bridge Mulligan, Sister of Peter Cassidy and Mary Twohig, `Mother'. They write: `As the relatives of Richard Tuohy [sic], John Gaffney and Peter Cassidy who were the first three Irishmen executed during the Civil War, on the 17th November 1922, we felt it our duty to appeal to you to reprieve Patrick McGrath and Thomas Harte.

We make this appeal to you, on the one hand on humanitarian grounds, and on the other hand on national grounds. We are conscious of the bitterness which followed the executions in 1922. No matter how you may consider the taking of these two lives, you must equally be conscious that these two executions, in such circumstances will leave a bitterness which may in the end nullify the very aims for which so many have sacrificed their lives'.

Date 5/9/1940
 

 

Date 1/1/1923
Publication of a statement issued by the Government Publicity Department re the activities of the Irregulars. Paragraph entitled 'Neurotic Girls' claims that 'The Irregular propagandists make much of the arrest of a few of female supporters of their party. But the facts are well known. Neurotic girls are amongst the most active adherents to the irregular cause-----'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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