Betrayal: The Civil War in Co. Kilkenny, December 1922

Éireann_Ascendant

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Sometimes in war, you can trust your enemies to attack but you don't know what your allies are planning.

Betrayal: The Civil War in Co. Kilkenny, December 1922

An article on a trio of incidents in County Kilkenny in December 1922, during the Civil War.

Three National Army barracks in Callan, Thomastown and Mullinavat were overwhelmed by anti-Treaty fighters, some disguised in captured Free State uniforms, in quick succession in the course of a single night. The hapless garrisons were swiftly disarmed, imprisoned and later turned loose.



Leading the attackers were some of their most prominent figures on the anti-Treatyite side: Denis Lacey, Dan Breen and Tom Barry.

It later became apparent that the Free State garrisons had been set up by no less than three of their own officers. The tendency of the Kilkenny officers in the National Army towards betrayal became a pressing concern for GHQ.

The resulting investigation pointed towards the slovenly ways of General John T. Prout, who had been in charge of the area. His reluctance to discipline his troops and tendency to enable the poor behavior of certain officers ensured that the soldiers stationed in Kilkenny gained a shoddy reputation, both within the Army as a whole and to the local people, whose efforts to aid the Free State went unheeded.

That last point particularly enraged General Richard Mulcahy, who fumed in a report:

The present methods are most saddening. Nothing that could be dignified with the name of a system can be said to exist. The local clergy and local leaders would in most cases be only too delighted to help, but they seem completely ignored, and are abandoning in despair the virtual forcing of information down Rip-Van-Winkle throats.
The Free State military were in dire need of reform in Kilkenny and fast. The proposed suggestions were:

  • For there to be more soldiers stationed in Kilkenny, "preferably outsiders." Showing the close affinity between the Free State and the Church, the bishops and other clergy could be privately asked to organize a recruitment drive for the Army.
  • The Kilkenny officers to be transferred to other counties and replace them with – again – outsiders.
  • Prout also to be transferred out of Kilkenny.
  • Until more men could be spared, the weak and vulnerable posts at Thomastown, Mullinavat and Callan should be discontinued.
  • The organising of an efficient intelligence system.

 


GabhaDubh

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dem kilkenny fellas are a bunch of powder pissers. das why kilkenny women are always jaundissed lookin uggos. de men cant walk past the tub of blush without whippin out the lad
Quiet impressive for your first day on P.ie.
 

GabhaDubh

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First, and one suspects, last day.
Eireann_Ascendant always presents a informative topic backed up by details and links. In 8 years on P.ie, I have never reported anyone, this individual wins the honour.
 

cyberianpan

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Prout comes across as a girlie man

Also his US Army rank seems to have been only Captain ....and his being a Commandant General with a mere few hundred men was nuts ...Lt Col...or Col at a pinch

And his being a Major-General in the National Army after is daft - indeed there should be merely one MG in the Irish Army - being the Chief of Staff ...grade inflation

cyp
 

McTell

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No
Kilkenny had form. This on 3 May 1922, months earlier:


PRESIDENT GRIFFITH: It is now for the Committee to meet and discuss their procedure. I move now the adjournment of the House until 3 o'clock on Friday, when the Committee will report to the House. The remainder of the agenda, of course, will be unchanged.

COMMANDANT O'HEGARTY: Before the House adjourns, Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will allow me again the privilege of speaking. If this Committee is going to do anything, there must be a truce between the two armies. I have a report now that there is heavy fighting going on in Kilkenny and that 18 have been killed. That is a good start—is it not? And people are sitting down here discussing whether they will compromise themselves by stopping it.

MR. DE VALERA: I move formally that the Cabinet issue orders immediately to its forces to cease fighting and arrange for a truce and so far as we are able to affect the Army Executive they also will get a similar order. It ought to be possible to arrange an immediate truce between the two parties."


Dáil Éireann - 03/May/1922 THE NATIONAL SITUATION
 

im axeled

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in the not so distant past an unmamed telecoms company went to erect a mast on tory hill, this is quite near mullinavat, with a line of sight into both waterford and kilkenny, a good a site as a telecoms company could wish for, the locals objected but were ignored, one night as the fenced off site was under the protection of a security firm the locals took matters into their own hands, the security gaurds were overpowered, they were then stripped naked and led down the hill by some local wimmins, that ended the erection of a mast on tory hill, tory hill used to be the training ground for a few local tug o war teams, some of whom were recruted by the bowley boys from wexford, i think some repesented their country internationally
 

RasherHash

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Sometimes in war, you can trust your enemies to attack but you don't know what your allies are planning.

Betrayal: The Civil War in Co. Kilkenny, December 1922

An article on a trio of incidents in County Kilkenny in December 1922, during the Civil War.

Three National Army barracks in Callan, Thomastown and Mullinavat were overwhelmed by anti-Treaty fighters, some disguised in captured Free State uniforms, in quick succession in the course of a single night. The hapless garrisons were swiftly disarmed, imprisoned and later turned loose.



Leading the attackers were some of their most prominent figures on the anti-Treatyite side: Denis Lacey, Dan Breen and Tom Barry.

It later became apparent that the Free State garrisons had been set up by no less than three of their own officers. The tendency of the Kilkenny officers in the National Army towards betrayal became a pressing concern for GHQ.

The resulting investigation pointed towards the slovenly ways of General John T. Prout, who had been in charge of the area. His reluctance to discipline his troops and tendency to enable the poor behavior of certain officers ensured that the soldiers stationed in Kilkenny gained a shoddy reputation, both within the Army as a whole and to the local people, whose efforts to aid the Free State went unheeded.

That last point particularly enraged General Richard Mulcahy, who fumed in a report:



The Free State military were in dire need of reform in Kilkenny and fast. The proposed suggestions were:

  • For there to be more soldiers stationed in Kilkenny, "preferably outsiders." Showing the close affinity between the Free State and the Church, the bishops and other clergy could be privately asked to organize a recruitment drive for the Army.
  • The Kilkenny officers to be transferred to other counties and replace them with – again – outsiders.
  • Prout also to be transferred out of Kilkenny.
  • Until more men could be spared, the weak and vulnerable posts at Thomastown, Mullinavat and Callan should be discontinued.
  • The organising of an efficient intelligence system.

Denis Lacey, Dan Breen and Tom Barry were good at this sh1t and it would have taken a well drilled unit to better them.
 

Man or Mouse

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in the not so distant past an unmamed telecoms company went to erect a mast on tory hill, this is quite near mullinavat, with a line of sight into both waterford and kilkenny, a good a site as a telecoms company could wish for, the locals objected but were ignored, one night as the fenced off site was under the protection of a security firm the locals took matters into their own hands, the security gaurds were overpowered, they were then stripped naked and led down the hill by some local wimmins, that ended the erection of a mast on tory hill, tory hill used to be the training ground for a few local tug o war teams, some of whom were recruted by the bowley boys from wexford, i think some repesented their country internationally
That kind of thing would tend to stymie erections alright.
 

Éireann_Ascendant

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Kilkenny had form. This on 3 May 1922, months earlier:


PRESIDENT GRIFFITH: It is now for the Committee to meet and discuss their procedure. I move now the adjournment of the House until 3 o'clock on Friday, when the Committee will report to the House. The remainder of the agenda, of course, will be unchanged.

COMMANDANT O'HEGARTY: Before the House adjourns, Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will allow me again the privilege of speaking. If this Committee is going to do anything, there must be a truce between the two armies. I have a report now that there is heavy fighting going on in Kilkenny and that 18 have been killed. That is a good start—is it not? And people are sitting down here discussing whether they will compromise themselves by stopping it.

MR. DE VALERA: I move formally that the Cabinet issue orders immediately to its forces to cease fighting and arrange for a truce and so far as we are able to affect the Army Executive they also will get a similar order. It ought to be possible to arrange an immediate truce between the two parties."


Dáil Éireann - 03/May/1922 THE NATIONAL SITUATION
That would presumably refer to the 'Kilkenny Crisis' in the town where men from the two factions exchanged shots before being broken up. A few deaths, though I'm fairy sure 18 is an exaggeration.

Kilkenny seems to have been quite a busy place post-Truce - no idea how that compares with it during the WoI, though.
 

cricket

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in the not so distant past an unmamed telecoms company went to erect a mast on tory hill, this is quite near mullinavat, with a line of sight into both waterford and kilkenny, a good a site as a telecoms company could wish for, the locals objected but were ignored, one night as the fenced off site was under the protection of a security firm the locals took matters into their own hands, the security gaurds were overpowered, they were then stripped naked and led down the hill by some local wimmins, that ended the erection of a mast on tory hill, tory hill used to be the training ground for a few local tug o war teams, some of whom were recruted by the bowley boys from wexford, i think some repesented their country internationally
It looks as if punctuation suffered collateral damage in that attack.As for spelling ..... r.i.p..
 

GabhaDubh

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The Free State military were in dire need of reform in Kilkenny and fast

Eireann_Ascendant had heard many years ago from a very reliably source, that the bodies of the "77" in the Southern region were transferred to Kilkenny for burial in the Barracks so that their corpses could not become that of martyrs. In your research have you can across this.
 

Éireann_Ascendant

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Eireann_Ascendant had heard many years ago from a very reliably source, that the bodies of the "77" in the Southern region were transferred to Kilkenny for burial in the Barracks so that their corpses could not become that of martyrs. In your research have you can across this.
Can't say I have.

Rory O'Connor (and Liam Mellows) at least got a funeral in Dublin, so I'm guessing it's not true:


Print 1922 Funeral Rory O'Connor Ireland Dublin Lady Wyndham Portrait 905M206 Ol | eBay

Sounds a little too efficient for the Free State, in any case, who seems to have been trying its hardest just to survive.
 

freewillie

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We are going to have great fun once the War of Independence and Civil War centenary commemorations come along.

Is it too soon to start a "Would you wear an Poppy" post?
 

cricket

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We are going to have great fun once the War of Independence and Civil War centenary commemorations come along.

Is it too soon to start a "Would you wear an Poppy" post?
Multicommemorationplex ?
 

DrNightdub

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Eireann_Ascendant had heard many years ago from a very reliably source, that the bodies of the "77" in the Southern region were transferred to Kilkenny for burial in the Barracks so that their corpses could not become that of martyrs. In your research have you can across this.
Not sure when this happened (I've seen a press cutting but there was no date on it), but the bodies of 18 of those executed were handed back to the families all on one day in Athlone; they had been executed in various locations, ranging from Drumboe in Donegal to Athlone, Tuam and Birr. A garbled version of this may be at the root of what you were told.
 

GabhaDubh

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Not sure when this happened (I've seen a press cutting but there was no date on it), but the bodies of 18 of those executed were handed back to the families all on one day in Athlone; they had been executed in various locations, ranging from Drumboe in Donegal to Athlone, Tuam and Birr. A garbled version of this may be at the root of what you were told.
Thanks DrNightclub, do you have the press clipping, if so could you post. How long after the execution were the bodies returned. My information came from a officer in the South Wexford (Kyle) Flying Column under command of Bob Lambert. My understanding is that the North Flying Column became Pro-treaty while the Southern was anti-treaty. After the executions of the Anti-treaty volunteers, Lambert ordered the executions of the Free State soldiers who were also prisoners, not sure if these bodies were returned. Bob Lambert was elected as a TD for Wexford.
 


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