The War of Independence

There is an excellent magazine supplement with today’s Irish Times looking back at the Irish War of Independence, which was raging a century ago. There’s a lot to digest in the magazine and it will take me a while to read all the articles in it.

The War of Independence began in earnest at the start of 1920 but the cycle of violence ramped up rapidly with the arrival of the infamous Blank and Tans in March and, later on, the equally infamous Auxiliaries. It was the latter who burned the city of Cork to the ground in October 1920, the aftermath of which event which provides the cover picture to the supplement.

The War of Independence ended in summer 1921 with a ceasefire and subsequently the Treaty that led to Partition and a Civil War.

The centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising of 1916 and the War of Independence in Ireland have generally taken the form of the heroic narrative of a liberation struggle, but the Civil War is a matter that many still find painful to confront. It will be interesting to see what the mood of the country will be like when that centenary arrives.

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