‘Terrible things were done by both sides…I’d prefer not to talk about it’. Uttered in 1969, Séan Lemass’ words on the Irish Civil War encapsulated views of the conflict half a century later. This bitter ‘War of the Brothers’ had lasted eleven months, ended with a cessation of hostilities but no negotiated settlement, and provided a legacy that poisoned Irish political life for decades. And yet, within twelve weeks of the ceasefire, both warring parties contested an open general election, and the basis of democratic governance was strengthened. In this lecture, Dr. Mel Farrell offered a centenary reflection on the immediate post-Civil War period, and the new Irish state’s emergence as a stable democracy. A graduate of Maynooth University, where he undertook doctoral and post-doctoral studies in Irish political history, Dr. Farrell currently lectures in history at Carlow College St. Patricks. Widely published on topics relating to Irish political history, he is the author of Party Politics in a New Democracy: The Irish Free State, 1922-37, and is the co-editor of A Formative Decade: Ireland in the 1920s.