The turbulent and bloody years between 1913 and 1923 saw the battle for the independence of Ireland. This book tells the story of the 'Troubles' and the struggle for power, first against the occupying British forces, beginning with the Easter Rising, and then in a violent and bloody civil war that tore the country apart and whose resonances are still with us today.
When the outset of World War I delayed Home Rule for Ireland, a faction of Irish nationalists took direct action. On Easter Monday 1916 a rebellion was launched from the steps of Dublin General Post Office and the existence of an Irish Republic proclaimed. The British drove the rebels back and they surrendered just over a month later. But this was not the end of the issue. Irish nationalists in the shape of Sinn Fein and the IRA took political power in 1919 with a manifesto to claim Ireland back from an English 'foreign' government by whatever means they could. The 'Troubles' of the Anglo-Irish War made heroes of Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera, who were cast as freedom fighters against colonial oppression. While that war ended with the Government of Ireland Act (1920), and the opening of a separate Parliament in Dublin in 1921, negotiations between Unionists and Protestants over the Treaty were fraught, and divisions between the two Irish factions an open sore. When Irish Protestant Sir Henry Wilson, the government's advisor on security matters, was shot dead by two IRA men, civil war followed. Terror and counter-terror operations ensued and in the short bloody battles of the period there were more deaths than in the preceding years of struggle for the Free State.
As well as the troubled path to independence and the creation of the Irish Free State, this book includes information on the various factions and the Irish Volunteer Forces.