21 January 1919

Further to my ‘Plugging the enemy’ post, I thought this might be of interest. I posted it on MyT in January 2009.

Ireland saw a significant anniversary last week … on 21 January, it was exactly 90 years since the first sitting of Dáil Éireann (the Irish parliament).

73 of the 110 MPs elected for the whole of Ireland in the December 1918 general election, instead of going to Westminster, met in Dublin to declare an independent Irish Republic in defiance of the British administration.

On the same day, the first shots were fired in the ‘War of Independence’ when members of the Irish Volunteers (soon to become known as the Irish Republican Army) killed two armed policemen who were escorting a consignment of gelignite at Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary.

This ambush was entirely on the initiative of local militant Republicans and had no authorization … nor was it popular at the time … but it acted as a catalyst, and soon policemen and soldiers were being attacked in Tipperary, Cork, Dublin and elsewhere. The state forces responded in kind, and the ensuing guerrilla war lasted till July 1921, when a truce was declared.

Following negotiations, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in December that year; it led to the partition of Ireland and ‘dominion’ status … effectively independence … for the Irish Free State.

There was an interesting article in Monday’s Irish Times by a man named Máirtín Mac Cormaic, whose father was the last surviving member of the ambush party that killed Constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell at Soloheadbeg 90 years ago. The article finishes thus:

It is time we remembered those members of the RIC who were also decent Irishmen but were on the other side.

The memorial at Soloheadbeg bears only the names of the men who carried out the ambush, including that of my father, Paddy McCormack.

I believe it is now time to add the names of James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell.

It might show that we have grown up at last.



Filed under History, Ireland

15 responses to “21 January 1919

  1. Ike Jakson


    You’ve got to be careful sometimes when you convert people [chuckle chuckle] because some converts become fire-breathing pests when you intended a little lamb [chuckle again].

    Your other Post made me think as I notice someone else has also said in a recent comment. I last expressed and acknowledged my ignorance on certain matters and have been working on an appropriate response to the responses I got on that; it has not been posted yet because I think it has to be right, but it will soon be there in:


    But now you come with this Post while I am still thinking of the right final response to the other one; and I find that I have some more thinking to do.

    Thinking on history can never be “a finite science” because circumstances change; whereas on the one hand one must remain sufficiently fluid in one’s convictions to accommodate change when it becomes necessary one must not be so fluid to abandon one conviction for another simply because the new one looks more attractive.

    But you mention more in this Post that I didn’t know before, or certainly not all the ramifications. Take care that you don’t get a fire-spouting convert on your hands one of these days. I shall watch from the sideline [continue with my thinking. yes, but just watching] and complete the other Post before I plunge.

    But you’ve got me thinking already.

    • Thank you, Ike. I’m glad I’ve got you thinking, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. But I’m not sure that I would wish to ‘convert’ anyone. That might be too big a responsibility. 🙂

    • Ike Jakson


      Look for the chuckles in my comment. The “conversion” is in my mind only. And it is getting a little older, my mind that is. Chuckle.

  2. Ron Broxted

    Whatever next? A memorial at Trblinka to those nice German troops? Greetings from Mexico.

  3. Sipu

    Following Germany’s comprehensive thrashing of England in the WC, I read an editorial in the Mirror (not something I do very frequently, I promise) in which it was declared that at last England could, should and would make peace with Germany with regards to their long lasting football war. There was no more excuse for resentment. Germany acknowledged that England’s goal had been unfairly disallowed (the 1966 goal had been avenged) and England acknowledged that Germany was the better team and deserved to win. Maybe the fans too have at last grown up. Let us hope so.

  4. Maybe. The Second World War (‘the War’) still seems to loom large, though. England fans do seem to have grown up a lot since the hooligan days (and of course most were never hooligans).

    A bit worrying for England and Argentina that Germany outclassed them and Spain outclassed Germany.

  5. Sipu

    From what I saw and heard in this part of the world, the English fans all behaved beautifully, as did those of every other nation. I was with friends having lunch right by the stadium on Saturday. We were upstairs in the open as it was a beautiful sunny day. Both Argentinian and German team coaches came right by us as did Frau Merkel. Sipping wine and eating sushi on the ocean front while the game was on the box and the roar of the crowd audible was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

    As for the War, it will never truly be forgotten until people stop going on about the holocaust. Personally, I think it is time to move on. But with that view point, I recognise that I may be in a minority.

  6. Sounds very pleasant indeed. How wonderful that the age of hooliganism seems to have passed.

  7. Ron Broxted

    Dear B Shall I send a postcard? Dear C no sunrises as it is always overcast.

  8. That would be good, RB. Having an enjoyable time?

  9. Ron Broxted

    Mixed. Went to Trotskys House today then Frida Kahlos. Shall I post my passport online like cretin Haslam fnnr fnnr? To prove I am here, oooh Matron, Free Tibet. (Liberdad por Tibet) it is 7pm local time and the worst rainstorm I ever saw. I may watch some football manana!

  10. Mexico seems like a fascinating country to me. Pity they didn’t do better in the World Cup.

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