Casualties in Dublin in the civil war


JohnD66

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Article here on casualty figures for Dublin in the Irish Civil War.

Casualties of the Irish Civil War in Dublin | The Irish Story, Irish History Online

I have counted 168 killed and 695 wounded in the city and its environs. A detailed breakdown is in the article but the dead were; 51 National Army, 65 IRA and 52 civilians. This is a provisional figure, however, it may be be slightly too low.

The casualty figure for the 1922-23 conflict has never been calculated (estimates vary from 900 to 4,000) but taken together with other local studies, this suggests, tentatively, a death toll in the region of 1,500.

Edit: for the record, the latest version of this article (August 2014) put the figures somewhat higher: KIA:218, 68 Free State forces, 85 Anti-Treaty IRA and 58 civilians. The British Army suffered 6 dead and 1 RIC Inspector was killed.
 
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Toland

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Article here on casualty figures for Dublin in the Irish Civil War.

Casualties of the Irish Civil War in Dublin | The Irish Story, Irish History Online

I have counted 168 killed and 695 wounded in the city and its environs. A detailed breakdown is in the article but the dead were; 51 National Army, 65 IRA and 52 civilians. This is a provisional figure, however, it may be be slightly too low.

The casualty figure for the 1922-23 conflict has never been calculated (estimates vary from 900 to 4,000) but taken together with other local studies, this suggests, tentatively, a death toll in the region of 1,500.


I'm always struck by the low casualty figures in the Anglo-Irish and even the Civil War. They were clearly popgun fights compared to comparable conflicts around the same time in Europe.

That, of course, didn't take anything from the grief of the surviving friends and relatives of the dead. Nor does it take from the savagery of Ballyseedy or of the Free State's extra-judicial killings.

Executions during the Irish Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Seanie Lemass

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I'm always struck by the low casualty figures in the Anglo-Irish and even the Civil War. They were clearly popgun fights compared to comparable conflicts around the same time in Europe.

That, of course, didn't take anything from the grief of the surviving friends and relatives of the dead. Nor does it take from the savagery of Ballyseedy or of the Free State's extra-judicial killings.

Executions during the Irish Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Good point. We can perhaps count ourselves fortunate that we escaped the horrors that were visited upon many of the peoples of the continent at the time.

I mentioned a Latvian acquaintince of mine on the Katyn thread and what struck me was that while she would retail the bare details of what had happened to her own family under Stalinism, that she really did not want to talk about it. I get the impression that the scale and almost meaninglessness of what had happened - in that people were randomly victimised - makes ift very difficult to contextualise.

In this country, we can at least say that we know why most people were killed and on no matter what side, even find something noble or at least meaningful in their deaths.
 

Franker65

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Yes, the scale and barbarity of something like Katyn is almost impossible to comprehend. Bad enough as the trouble was in Ireland, at least we didn't have to deal with that kind of suffering. I guess the sad thing is that humanity hasn't changed a bit since those times.
 

Toland

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Yes, the scale and barbarity of something like Katyn is almost impossible to comprehend. Bad enough as the trouble was in Ireland, at least we didn't have to deal with that kind of suffering. I guess the sad thing is that humanity hasn't changed a bit since those times.
You reckon?

I think things have changed very radically for the better since then.

I'd contend that judgement is blindingly obvious.
 

shutuplaura

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I'm always struck by the low casualty figures in the Anglo-Irish and even the Civil War. They were clearly popgun fights compared to comparable conflicts around the same time in Europe.

That, of course, didn't take anything from the grief of the surviving friends and relatives of the dead. Nor does it take from the savagery of Ballyseedy or of the Free State's extra-judicial killings.

Executions during the Irish Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is very true. Finland had a similar population to Ireland and their Civil war in 1918 cost almost 40,000 lives. I think the difference being that both sides in that conflict had international support from surrounding nations. In Ireland only one of the two parties had this support.
 

statsman

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I'm always struck by the low casualty figures in the Anglo-Irish and even the Civil War. They were clearly popgun fights compared to comparable conflicts around the same time in Europe.

That, of course, didn't take anything from the grief of the surviving friends and relatives of the dead. Nor does it take from the savagery of Ballyseedy or of the Free State's extra-judicial killings.

Executions during the Irish Civil War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Agreed; it's no new discovery that bad stuff happens during Civil Wars. The only redeeming feature in our own one is that it turned out to be a relatively minor spat.
 

Seanie Lemass

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This is very true. Finland had a similar population to Ireland and their Civil war in 1918 cost almost 40,000 lives. I think the difference being that both sides in that conflict had international support from surrounding nations. In Ireland only one of the two parties had this support.

There was also arguably much sharper social tensions in Finland and when both sides had a chance they were pretty vicious. There was the factor of external support, bigger numbers of armed men and more - and more lethal - weaponry but most of the casualties were I think basically atrocities - people killed in their homes or in prison camps or mass executions.

Civil war here might have been more vicious had say the Land War not been fought and the land question still a central issue. There were obviously class tensions in Ireland but they were not central to the conflict and people were not identified with one side or the other by their social class although the republicans did prosecute a low level campaign against the 'big houses' which were in any event mainly unoccupied since 1919 or 1920 or even earlier.
 

Cruimh

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This is very true. Finland had a similar population to Ireland and their Civil war in 1918 cost almost 40,000 lives. I think the difference being that both sides in that conflict had international support from surrounding nations. In Ireland only one of the two parties had this support.
Are Finnish politics still poisoned by their Civil war in the same way as Irish Politics are?
 

JohnD66

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Even compared to the War of Independence, the violence of the civil war was to some degree limited. There was far less shooting of informers for instance, of which to date I have not found any cases in Dublin in 1922-23 as opposed to 15 in May and June 1921 alone.
 

Aindriu

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Good point, Cruimh. Irish people STILL vote for parties on the basis of what side their grand parents/uncles, aunts etc. were on 90 years ago! Feckin stupid!
 

statsman

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Are Finnish politics still poisoned by their Civil war in the same way as Irish Politics are?
Their Civil War was nasty and short; ours was relatively bloodless but enduring.
 

euryalus

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Good point, Cruimh. Irish people STILL vote for parties on the basis of what side their grand parents/uncles, aunts etc. were on 90 years ago! Feckin stupid!
And of course English politics was, for very many years, largely dictated by the legacy of a civil war - the Tories being the former "Cavalier" party, whereas the Whigs were the former Parliamentarians.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Are Finnish politics still poisoned by their Civil war in the same way as Irish Politics are?
Irish politics is imprisoned by populism and politicians that are afraid to make the tough decisions. The Civil War has nothing to do with our political landscape now save for a handful of people.
 

Hitch 22

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The reason why casualties were so low compared to other 20th century wars is because Ireland is such a close-knit country.
Very few actually fought in the War of Independence because the face of the British state in Ireland was the RIC, the majority of whom in the 26 counties were Irishmen, Catholics and Nationalists who supported Home Rule. Before the arrival of the Tans and Auxilliaries and British Regiments to Ireland, the majority of "British" soldiers in Ireland were actually Irishmen and between 1919-1921, 20,000 Irishmen joined up.
During the Civil War, Richard Barrett who was shot after he was selected with other three prisoners from the four provinces of Ireland was a childhood friend of the Hales brothers. Sean Hales who took the Free Treaty side out of loyalty to Michael Collins was assassinated while his brother Tom Hales was anti-Treaty IRA commander who is said to have participated in the ambush that killed Collins.
When Collins was was killed thousands of republican prisoners in various prisons were observed kneeling and saying the rosary and De Valera was said to have been inconsolable after his death.
Florrie O'Donoghue and Sean O'Hegarty and others formed the "Neutral IRA" which opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty but tried to avoid hostilities.
The bitterness came after the execution of the 77 in jails around the country and reprisal like the burning of W. T. Cosgrave's home and the murder of his father.
But during the conventional military campaign before that from June to August 1922, the Provisional Forces were clearly the more professional forces with better numbers (50,000 by the end of the war) better arms (artillery, armored cars, machine guns, rifles, hand grenades and ammunition) and discipline while the IRA were very much a rabble except for notable exceptions such as Tom Barry's West Cork unit which recaptured some towns.
After Dublin fell Waterford and Limerick were recaptured easily enough with few casualties because former comrades were hesitant to shoot at each other. There were incidents later on in the war when Free State officers and men were overcome by inferior IRA forces because they had no stomach for a massacre or because they were isolated from GHQ in Dublin.
It could well be argued that the war would have dragged on much longer if the likes of the Dublin Guard and cabinet members like Kevin O'Higgins had not behaved so brutally to stamp out rebellion through terror.
If the IRA had been better led and better armed and if larger numbers of the Free State army had defected to their side the war would have been far more bloody in the end.
Thankfully thousands of republican prisoners were released by the mid 1920s rather than shot into mass graves as happened in Spain in the 1930s.
 
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Aindriu

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the Whigs were the former Parliamentarians.
The whigs haven't existed for over 100 years! FG and FF still exist - unfortunately.
 

Deaf Mute

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There seems to be still a whiff of "unfinished business".

I'm wondering is that is because the Civil War was relatively small scale?
Maybe that's because it only took place in southern Ireland.
 

Deaf Mute

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This is very true. Finland had a similar population to Ireland and their Civil war in 1918 cost almost 40,000 lives. I think the difference being that both sides in that conflict had international support from surrounding nations. In Ireland only one of the two parties had this support.
The civil war only happened in the Free State.
 
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