‘Fight on to the last man’: Remembering the Irish Civil War

It was interesting to watch the commemoration yesterday of the hurried handing over by British forces of Dublin Castle in January 1922 to the Irish provisional government. As always, Michael D. Higgins handled the occasion with grace and dignity, and the residual parties of the subsequent civil war – Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin – seemed at ease
with each other. It will be fascinating to watch how that changes, as it inevitably will, when the various events of that conflict are marked. But better this than a fraudulent consensus. Beyond wishing it had never happened, an agreed perspective still isn’t possible because of profound differences, then and now, around social and political ambitions and intentions.

I have written almost nothing on this period myself, but I did publish a short piece some years ago on Liam Lynch (the IRA chief of staff) and the civil war.

‘”Fight on to the last man”‘: a letter to Liam Lynch, March 1923’ can be downloaded here.

- Fintan Lane

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