Category Archives: Politics

More Burning of the Big Houses

Moore Hall

During the Civil War, Republican forces revived their campaign to burn down big houses. The campaign was facilitated by the absence of any forces of law and order in the countryside as a result of the withdrawal of the Crown forces in 1922 and the abolition of the RIC, but the elimination of signs of British rule in Ireland was the underlying motivation behind the destruction. The Republicans were also running dangerously low in arms so destruction of property was one of few acts of guerrilla warfare left at their disposal.

The big houses were burned down during the War of Independence as a way for the IRA to assert their authority. However, during the Civil War, many of the mansions abandoned by their owners for fear of attack were taken over by the anti-Treatyites and only destroyed when they were forced to leave when the National Army moved in on them.

Below were a few of many set alight in early 1923:

January 29 The Earl of Mayo’s Dublin residence is set alight by Republicans.

Sir Horace Plunkett’s Art Treasures are Destroyed

1 February: Moore Hall near Claremorris in County Mayo is burned down by Republicans.


Irish Times 6 February 1923

Freeman’s Journal 6 February 1923

Weekly Freeman’s Journal 3 February 1923

Further reading:

War on Railways

As the National Army was the official army sanctioned by the Irish government, it was provided with superior weapons. They were also provided for by the state. The IRA was outlawed and relied on Cumann na mBan (including Emily) and the few remaining sympathetic members of the public to provide food and shelter for them. Many gave up and went home; the remainder took to the safer haven of the hills, where they were less likely to run into the well-armed National Army.

In September 1922, the government passed the Public Safety Bill, emergency legislation permitting the National Army the authority to issue punishment, which included the death penalty for anyone found with weapons on their person. Because of this, as well as a lack of weapons, the anti-Treatites (IRA) resorted to guerrilla tactics such as sabotage and destruction of public infrastructure such as roads and railways.


Weekly Irish Times 24 February 1923

Northern Whig 19 February 1923

The last of the British military leaves Ireland for good in December 1922

“Back to Blighty,” stated one headline in the Freeman’s Journal of December 23, 1922. The action that got under way on December 14 marked the beginning of the end of the British military forces’ evacuation of the Irish Free State.

“The first sign of the change from the old order to the new was the taking over of the sentry duty at the gate. Green-clad and khaki-clad the new sentry and the old stood side by side. a sharp word of command- “Sentries Pass” – and the first Irish soldier to mount gaurd at the headquarters stepped smartly to his post. Old sentry—dismiss.” and the British soldier marched away to join his waiting comrades, proud of the honour, no doubt. of being the last British soldier to pace the sentry’s beat at British headquarters.”

Freeman’s Journal 18 December 1922


Freeman’s Journal 18 December 1922

Weekly Freeman’s Journal 23 December 1922

New State December 6 1922

Exactly one year after the Treaty was signed, the Irish Free State was proclaimed 100 years ago. However, the Civil War hung over the occasion, casting a shadow over it. In spite of the conflict normal life went on with a few changes:

Free State Stamps

The Dail Chamber

The Chief Secretary’s Lodge becomes home of the President Cosgrave

Post Offices


Weekly Irish Times 16 December 1922

Freeman’s Journal 07 December 1922

Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal 30 December 1922

Weekly Freeman’s Journal 30 December 1922

Emily’s 70th Anniversary

Seventy years ago today, Emily passed away in St. Mary’s nursing home on Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, at the age of 85. Her funeral was held in Glasnevin Cemetery, attended by many of her friends, both old and new. Even though it was a cold and wet November day, the turnout to pay their respects reflected her acclaim. Peadar O’Flaherty, a friend and fellow Republican, delivered her eulogy.

Her obituary appeared in both local and national newspapers, paying tribute to her courage and generosity, as well as her great zest for life:

“An early co-worker with An Craoibhin, she started a Gaelic Summer School in 1912 at Keel, Achill, where she lived for many years. After the Rising she worked for the National Aid, organised Cumann na mBan and was imprisoned. During the Black and Tan period and subsequently, she gave devoted service, succoring men “on the run” to whom her unconquerable spirit and boundless generosity were an inspiration.”

Irish Independent 1905-current, Friday, November 28, 1952; Page: 6

In spite of her final resting place being in the famous Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, Emily’s grave remained unmarked for six decades. She had no close family member to have a gravestone erected on her grave, and she did not leave any instructions in her will as she died intestate. But in 2012, as a mark of gratitude, the committee of Scoil Acla unveiled one that befitted her character completely. The gravestone contains a stained-glass window inspired by the one, made by artist Wilhellmena Geddes, that she purchased in 1924. It depicts the image of St. Brendan the Navigator, which is installed in Our Lady Queen of the Universe Church in Curran.

On the day of its unveiling, November 24, 2012, 60 years to the date of Emily’s death, the committee of Scoil Acla traveled to Glasnevin Cemetery to honor her. On her newly adorned grave, they left gifts symbolic of her life: a wreath made from Achill heather inscribed O Acla (from Achill), a replica of the one she and the Figgis laid on the grave of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915, along with her biography by Iosold ni Deirg and a photo of her in her Celtic costume.

Glasnevin Cemetery was founded by Daniel O’Connell (The Liberator)


Irish Independent 1905-current, Friday, November 28, 1952; Page: 6

Mayo News 1893-current, Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Irish Independent 1905-current, Friday, November 28, 1952; Page: 6

Illustrated London News 14 August 1847

Mayo News 1893-current, Tuesday, November 27, 2012