Our Citizen Army; The 1916 Rebellion in Galway Town
By Dr. Conor McNamara
This talk explored Volunteer Thomas Courtney’s claim to the Bureau of Military History that ‘Galway town, was, and in my opinion, still is, the most shoneen town in Ireland.’
Following John Redmond’s offer to support the British War effort in September 1914, the Connacht Tribune announced: ‘Sinn Féin has hitherto been treated with generous tolerance in the city: it has grossly abused that tolerance … now take the attitude that tolerance has reached its limit. The puny plotters have only themselves to blame.’
The editorial was to set the tone for the entire revolutionary period with the republican movement in Galway town under intense pressure form a largely hostile community with a long tradition of service in the British military.
This talk examined events in Galway town during the Rebellion where a hastily formed militia of special constables was formed to support the military, a committee of public safety led by Mairtin Mor MacDonagh, condemned the Rebels and co-ordinated support for the police, amid the imposition of martial law and the arrival of the Navy in Galway Bay.
Dr Conor McNamara is the 1916 Scholar in Residence at the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. He has written extensively about the history of the Irish revolution, food shortage and minor famine, and the intersection between criminality and political violence in twentieth century Ireland. In 2011, he was awarded the National Library of Ireland History Studentship. He is the joint editor of The West of Ireland: New Perspectives on the Nineteenth Century (History Press, 2011) and The Easter 1916: A New Illustrated History (Collins Press, 2015). He was the senior researcher on the Notre Dame University, 1916 Rising documentary TV series.
Dr Conor McNamara, NUI Galway, 1916 Scholar in Residence, 2016
Author: Easter 1916: A New Illustrated History (2015)
Editor: The West of Ireland: New Perspectives on the Nineteenth Century (2011)