In this episode we discuss Richard Mulcahy’s role as Chief of Staff of the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, including his efforts to instill discipline and organization, his difficult relationship with Brugha and DeValera, and his increased radicalization.
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This is the first episode in a three part series, where we will discuss the Anglo-Irish War. Today, we review the major events that occurred in 1919 including rescuing DeValera from prison, sending DeValera to America, and the IRA ambushes at Soloheadbeg and Fermoy.
Irish Civil War: Law, Execution, and Atrocity by Sean Enright, Merrion Press, 2019
A slightly dry, but fascinating read about the executions that took place during the Irish Civil War. Like his prior book on the Easter Rising Trial, Sean spends the first half of the book providing historical and legal context for the trials, before working through each execution in a linear process. This method can be a dry read, especially since he only provides short glimpses into the lives of those who are being executed, but that doesn’t mean this book isn’t interesting.
Portrait of a Revolutionary General Richard Mulcahy and the Founding of the Irish Free State by Maryann Valiulis Published in 1992 by University Press of Kentucky
Richard Mulcahy is a criminally underappreciated Irishmen. Born in the 1890s and starting his career as a postal worker, he would eventually study to become an engineer, before taking part in Easter Rising, and ending up as Chief of Staff of the IRA. Working together with men like Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, and Cathal Brugha, Mulcahy struggled to install order on an unruly group of insurgents. His most important contribution to the creation of the Irish Free State, however, was his firm leadership during the Irish Civil War and the 1924 Mutiny that followed. The Mutiny pushed him to the background as De Valera took the spotlight, but Mulcahy remained a permanent feature of Irish Politics becoming party leader of Fine Gael in 1944 and serving in a various number of ministries throughout his long life. He even cobbled together a coalition government that forced De Valera’s party to the opposition in the 1948 elections. He died in 1971 at the age of 85.