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A Short History of the Hibernian Rifles 1912-1916

a granite plaque on the wall of the Fransiscan's Foreign Mission Office in Dublin marking the site of a hall where The Hibernian Rifles, Na Fianna Éireann and other republican groups used to hold meetings.
A granite plaque on the wall of the Fransiscan’s Foreign Mission Office in Dublin marking the site of a hall where The Hibernian Rifles, Na Fianna Éireann and other republican groups used to hold meetings.

By Padraig Og O Ruairc

 

Occasionally when reading about the Irish revolution 1913-1923 you come across fleeting references to Republican organisations who don’t usually register on the historical radar. These groups include the Clan Na Gael Girl Scouts, Clann Maeve, St. Patrick’s Ambulance Association, the Irish National Guard and the Hibernian Rifles.

 

Usually these groups are born of splits with more prominent organisations, have a limited membership and last only a few years. If these groups had distinct political aims and philosophies by studying them we may be able to gain a better idea of the character of republicanism during the Irish revolution. The history of the Irish Citizen Army has underlined the socialist and more radical republican element of the 1916 rising without which some historians might have tried to portray the rising as purely nationalist; an Irish struggle against England which would be a gross oversimplification.

The Hibernian Rifles have never received more than a few lines in any book dealing with the 1916 Rising and I hope that this brief study will give us some fresh perspectives

The more recent focus by historians on Cumann Na mBann and women in the Irish Citizen Army has highlighted the role of women and Irish suffragettes in the republican struggle. The Hibernian Rifles have never received more than a few lines in any book dealing with the 1916 Rising and I hope that this brief study will give us some fresh perspectives.

 

The Ancient Order of Hibernians

 

A Hibernian march c.1880.
A Hibernian march c.1880.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (A.O.H.) is a Roman Catholic political association founded by Irish immigrants in New York in 1836. It claims to be descended from earlier secret societies in Ireland namely ‘The Defenders’ and ‘The Ribbonmen’ and to have existed as early as 1641 but there is little or no evidence to support this claim. The chief aims of the association are to work for the independence of Ireland and to promote and preserve the Catholic faith. The A.O.H. is a sectarian, conservative, Catholic and nationalist body.

 

Hibernianism is effectively a green version of ‘Orangeism’ and its political character apart from its support for Irish independence has little in common with Irish republicanism, which is a far more radical and non-sectarian philosophy. Terence Mac Sweeney denounced Hibernianism and its sectarian character in his book Principles of Freedom: ‘English politicians to serve the end of dividing Ireland have worked on religious feelings in the north with the aim of destroying Irish unity…Hibernianism created an unnatural atmosphere of sectarian rivalry in Ireland’

 

The Hibernian Rifles emerged originally as a split from the Ancient Order of Hibernians

The A.O.H enjoyed a good deal of support as a political force in Ireland and Irish communities in America during the nineteenth century. But divisions of a political nature emerged in the A.O.H., in the early 1900’s and the body split into the ‘Board of Éireann’ (B.O.E.) and the ‘Irish American Alliance’ (I.A.A.) in 1907. Officially the split was the result of a dispute on whether to register as a ‘Friendly Society’ but this was for PR purposes and masked the political nature of the split. The I.A.A was most successful in America where it had strong links with Clann Na Gael which would suggest that it was under the control, or at least under the influence of, the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

 

The B.O.E. was fully in support of John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party. The political connections of these respective factions indicates that the split in the A.O.H. was clearly between physical force republicans and constitutional nationalists. The I.A.A was generally regarded as being less sectarian than the B.O.E. J.J. Walsh a member of the Irish Volunteers in Cork who later joined the Hibernian rifles in Dublin commented on the two Hibernian groups saying, ‘They were in opposition on many matters, but the later body (I.A.A.)  was the more national.’

 

The Founding of the Hibernian Rifles

 

The Hibernian Rifles were started as a military auxiliary to the I.A.A between 1912 and 1913 when John Joseph Scollan moved from Derry to Dublin after being appointed national director of the I.A.A. At this time the I.A.A. had three ‘divisions’ (title for local branches of Hibernians, despite the name they were civilian not military in nature) in Dublin, “The Red Hand” division in Brunswick St., “Clann Na Gael” division in Parliament St. and “O’Connell” division in Rathfarnham.

 

A number of divisions also existed in provincial towns. Scollan noticed that the constitution of the Hibernians in the United States made provision for a military Hibernian organisation. “I decided to organise a company in each division to be known as the Hibernian Rifles which correspond to the American organisation. I started a unit in each division and succeeded in getting about twenty men to join in each. These were all highly selected men. At this time the total number of members of the divisions were 80, 100 and 150, approximately so that a unit of 20 men was a good beginning. “The first recruiting advert for the force appeared in the militant labour newspaper “The Worker” on the 22nd of November 1913.

 

It stated that membership was open to “all Catholic Irishmen of good character” This was in line with membership criteria for the I.A.A at the time. However this requirement was dropped in all subsequent recruiting adverts in “The Worker” and “The Hibernian” newspapers. J.J. Scollan claims that the Hibernian Rifles were a non-sectarian body that its constitution “did not bar anyone from joining. It was a semi-public organisation open to all religions of all natures”.

 

The national board of the I.A.A. were supposed to be in command of the Hibernian Rifles but Scollan was in effect the commander in chief, directing and controlling the force. Statements from former members of the Hibernian Rifles and reports in “The Hibernian” newspaper give the rank system as riflemen, captain, vice commandant and commandant. Each company selected its own officers and non-commissioned officers based on the American organisations system. J.J. Scollan held the rank of Commandant and was the driving force and Commander in Chief of the organisation.

 

The Hibernian Rifles did not have an official uniform and as a result lost a few members to the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army which were more attractive to prospective recruits

John J. Walsh had been a prominent member of the Irish Volunteers and the G.A.A. in Cork, because of his Volunteer activities he was transferred to Bradford and eventually dismissed from his civil service job. In  May of 1915 he had been barred from residing in Cork he then moved to Dublin and joined the Hibernian Rifles and was promoted from rifleman to Vice Commandant in the movement because of his experience in the Irish Volunteers.

 

Other prominent leaders in the organisation were Captains Breslin and Garret. Sean Millroy was another very active member of the Hibernian Rifles and may have  held a commission though his specific rank is not known. Sympathetic ex-British soldiers provided instruction in foot drill and other military training. The Hibernian Rifles did not have an official uniform and as a result lost a few members to the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army which were more attractive because they had uniforms. (The author has additional information on the Hibernian Rifles and military uniform not included here.)

Recruiting the Riflemen

 

Recruitment was largely from the I.A.A. divisions but the first adverts began to appear in the militant labour newspaper “The Irish Worker” from the 22nd of November 1913 onwards. Adverts were also placed in the I.A.A. newspaper “The Hibernian” which was published from June 1915 until March/April 1916 and was edited by Scollan. It had a steady national circulation of about 2,500 copes between November 1913 and April 1916. “The Hibernian” serialised the “Roll of Honour” listing those who had been killed, wounded, imprisoned , deported or served with exclusion orders for republican activity.

 

The paper also carried adverts and notices for the Irish Volunteers. The R.I.C. and D.M.P. maintained a close watch on the rebel group and kept police intelligence files on Scollan., Millroy, Keeting and other members of the force. They were concerned with the circulation of Scollans “sedatious” newspaper and in 1919 The D.M.P. applied to the attorney general to have “The Hibernian” suppressed because it was not registered in accordance with Newspapers Libel and Registration act of 1881.

 

The Hibernian Rifles was a predominantly working class group, who raised money for the strikers of 1913. Some of them went on to join Connolly’s Citizen Army

With the rise of Edward Carson’s unionist “Ulster Volunteer Force” Scollan dectected “a feeling abroad that something of a counteraction should take place and this resulted in recruiting for our units becoming much easier.” By late 1913 the Hibernian Rifles had established units in Armagh, Belfast, Castlebar, Cork, Dingle and Dundalk. None of these local branched of the Hibernian Rifles ever had a membership greater than thirty or thirty five.

 

During the 1913 lockout the fledgling Hibernian Rifles sided with the workers on strike because the majority of their membership were workers connected to the I.T.G.W.U. Their rivals in Hibernianism the B.O.E. and the Roman Catholic bishops both actively condemned the strike and supported the employers. J.J Scollan as head of the Hibernian Rifles applied to the branches of the A.O.H. (I.A.A.) in the United States for funds to support the strikers and received over one thousand dollars in support. This money was used to augment the strikers pay and members of the Hibernian Rifles received a strike pay of twelve to fifteen shillings per week.

 

A number of rifleman who were involved in the strike later left the Hibernian Rifles to join the Irish Citizens’ Army which had been formed during the strike as the army of militant labour. When the Irish Volunteers were established in 1913 the Hibernian Rifles were hostile to the new group because some members of the Volunteer executive had taken a prominent anti-union stance during the lockout. The bitterness still surrounding the lockout and Redmondite / B.O.E involvement in the Irish Volunteers ensured that Scollan and the Hibernian Rifles maintained much stronger ties with James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army until the Irish Volunteers split in 1914.

 

Getting the rifles

 

Initially the Hibernian rifles had no arms, but were anxious to get hold of some. After the creation of the Irish Citizen Army and Ulster Volunteer Force Scollan wrote to the Hibernian organisation in America seeking arms “They did not supply any and all we received was a supply of text books (American Military) which were not of much use to us. We improvised broom handles to act as rifles and with these we practiced aiming at targets. In 1914 the Hibernian Rifles soon found a rather unusual source of weaponry – British Army. “There was a division of Enniskillen Fusiliers based in Dollymount outside the city and from them we were able to purchase about one hundred rifles to get some money.” (The same regiment were to be shown the business end of these rifles in the 1916 rising!)

 

The main source for weaponry was to buy or steal rifles from British soldiers

In addition, the Hibernian Rifles in Dublin, held about twelve shotguns and thirty Italian rifles. The Skippers Alley unit of the Hibernian Rifles had taken a number of Italian rifles from Redmond’s Irish National Volunteers but these were of an old design and without ammunition so they were only used for arms drill. The Hibernian Rifles purchased whatever firearms they could as well as manufacturing their own modified shotgun cartridges using three lead tags from post bags as shot, and converting blank ammunition purchased from British soldiers into live rounds to suit the Lee Enfield rifles.

 

While most Irish Volunteer units were still training with Hurleys (or “Tipperary Rifles” as they were dubbed) the Skippers Alley Unit of the Hibernian Rifles were quite fortunate to drill and train with real Italian rifles even if the ammunition was not available! The Hibernian Rifles also manufactured some canister grenades but otherwise hand no explosives. British surveillance of the Hibernian Rifles estimated that they had about 140 men and 25 rifles.

By 1914 the I.A.A. had acquired a hall at number 28 North Fredrick Street which became the headquarters and main drill hall of the Hibernian Rifles. The hall was also used by the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and the north inner city sluagh of Fianna Éireann used by Sean Heuston. The Clann Na Gael Girl Scouts founded in 1911 by sisters May and Elizabeth Kelly also used the hall for training and May Kelly the O/C of this group was attached to the Hibernian Rifles unit during Easter Week. The hall was increasingly used as overnight accommodation by Irishmen returning to Britain to escape military conscription and by Irish Volunteer’s visiting Dublin before 1916 rising.

 

The Irish Volunteer split in 1914 after John Redmond’s Woodenbridge speech ensured that the Irish Volunteers were now largely free from the influence of the anti-trade union body and the B.O.E. Hibernians who remained loyal to the Home Rule party and followed them into the Irish National Volunteers. The split did not affect the Hibernian Rifles and Citizen Army who developed a new attitude toward the I.R.B. dominated more radical Irish Volunteers as all three groups were united in their opposition to British recruitment and conscription in Ireland.

 

Members of the Hibernian Rifles were actively involved in anti-recruiting activity, attending parades and public meetings organised by Connolly, the I.R.B, and the Irish Volunteers. Sean Millroy was arrested in June 1915, along with Francis Sheehy Skeffington and Séan Mac Diarmaida, for making an anti-recruitment speeches and was sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour.

 

J.J. Scolan as Commandant of Hibernian Rifles was involved in financing much more direct anti-war activities. Connolly informed Scollan that the British military were building “Q” ships in the shipyards of Belfast, and that he needed to get this information to the German ambassador in the United States. “Q” ships were small civilian ships usually less than 400 tons, which were made to look run down, painted in the colours of neutral countries, and given false names.

 

These ships were then equipped with concealed naval weaponry including four inch guns, twelve pounder artillery guns and later depth charges. “Q” ships would fly the flag of a neutral country when a U boat approached and open fire. Connolly proposed sending his daughter Nora to deliver the information in person but did not have the funds to pay her passage. Scollan agreed to pay the fare with I.A.A. funds but said he would need to show something in exchange for the money. Scollan paid the thirty pounds fare for Nora in exchange for thirty Italian service rifles. Connolly held a number of these rifles for training the Irish Citizen Army, but they were of little practical use for fighting because no ammunition was available for them. Nora Connolly delivered the message and as a result the “Q” ships were not as great a success in combating submarine warfare as the British had hoped.

 

JJ Walsh who held talks with Eoin McNeill, The O’Rahially and Desmond Fitzgerald at McNeill’s house in Herbert park to try and arrange a working relationship between the Hibernian Rifles and Irish Volunteers
JJ Walsh who held talks with Eoin McNeill, The O’Rahially and Desmond Fitzgerald at McNeill’s house in Herbert park to try and arrange a working relationship between the Hibernian Rifles and Irish Volunteers

Scollan had some connections with the early Sinn Féin party, and gave a lecture to the Michael Dwyer Cumann on December 16th 1914 entitled “Treason in Ireland”. The content of the lecture seems to have been quite radical “Many more of us through God’s grace shall live to see the Union Jack of England down in the dust and our own immortal green interwoven with orange and white of the Irish republic waving proudly and victoriously over the land”.

 

The Hibernian Rifles and the Easter Rising

 

With the exception of Thomas Mac Donough the I.R.B. element that controlled the Irish Volunteers did not trust the Hibernian Rifles. Mac Donough had made advances to Scollan suggesting that the Hibernian Rifles should be amalgamated with the Irish Volunteers. Mac Donough had also urged the Hibernian Rifles to participate in the O’Donovan Rossa funeral. Divisions of the Hibernian Rifles from around the country assembled in Dublin August 1915 for the funeral and paraded one hundred and fifty strong carrying fifty rifles. They led the I.A.A. divisions and the ladies auxiliary divisions who dipped the American flag at the funeral. The Hibernian section of the funeral was placed under the command of the O Rahially, an executive member of the Irish Volunteers.

 

The I.R.B. element that controlled the Irish Volunteers did not trust the Hibernian Rifles and did not tell them of the planned Rising, but they learned of it from James Connolly.

In autumn 1915 Scollan and J.J. Walsh held talks with Eoin McNeill, The O’Rahilly and Desmond Fitzgerald at McNeill’s house in Herbert park to try and arrange a working relationship between the Hibernian Rifles and Irish Volunteers. While cooperation with Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army increased as 1916 approached, the Hibernian Rifles remained a separate and independent group.

 

Scollan learned of plans for a rising from Connolly “Connolly and I were in close association and through him I understood that it was intended to have an insurrection, but I had no idea of when it would take place. “It is not clear whether Connolly was alluding to his own plans for a rising of the Irish Citizen Army which he had threatening since the outbreak of the great war, or whether he imparted the information to Scollan after he had been co-opted into the I.R.B. military council and told of their plans for a rising.

 

On Palm Sunday, with days before the rising, there was a mobilisation of volunteers at Fr. Mathew Park in Fairview after an alarm went out the British military were about to forcefully disarm the  Irish Volunteers. Previous British raids had suppressed republican papers and printing presses such as “The Gael” and had attempted to shut down Connolly’s newspaper the Workers Republic. After hearing of the alert twenty members of the Hibernian rifles assembled to aid the Volunteers, at 28 North Frederick Street and proceed in twos and threes to Phibsborough where a number of Irish Volunteer companies were assembled. The raid proved to be a false alarm and the mobilisation was dismissed.

 

On Easter Sunday the Hibernian Rifles held their usual Sunday parade in North Frederick Street and carried out their routine training. They had received no mobilisation orders from either Connolly or the I.R.B. military council. If Scollan had not received any definite orders from either Connolly or Mac Donough it is unlikely that any of the provincial units of the Hibernian Rifles had received mobilisation orders either.

On Easter Sunday 1916, the Hibernian Rifles held their usual Sunday parade in North Frederick Street and carried out their routine training but when they saw that insurrection had broken out the following day, they volunteered their services.

After reading McNeills countermanding order for the Irish Volunteers Scollan suspected that something serious was afoot and ordered the Dublin units of the Hibernian rifles to parade again at midday the following day. That evening Patrick Pearse, his brother William and Thomas Mac Donough met in Number 28 North Frederick Street and sent courier’s with new mobilisation orders to Volunteer companies, however the Hibernian Rifles had still not been informed of the planned rising.

 

The General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin shortly after the Easter Rising.
The General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin shortly after the Easter Rising.

At midday on Easter Monday Scollan and about sixty members of the Hibernian Rifles paraded at the hall in North Frederick street. When the information came to Scollan that the volunteers had seized the G.P.O. his men got very anxious about what to do. “I addressed them and told them that as far as I knew this fight which was just starting was unofficial, but as it had started we should join in and take our place in it. At the same time I said that if any man did not wish to volunteer for the fight he was at liberty to go home”.

 

Between twenty and thirty riflemen voted to join the fight, all were armed. Scollan sent a written message to Connolly in the G.P.O. that he was ready with the assistance and was awaiting orders. Connolly sent a reply saying he was glad of the assistance and that the Hibernian Rifles should remain in position and await further orders. Scollans men began commandeering food and supplies from local shops.

 

Scollan went to J.J. Walsh’s tobacco and newsagents shop in Blessington Street to seek the assistance of his Vice Commandant. He found Walsh proceeded to Walsh’s sisters house off Clonliffe Road where Walsh kept his rifle and Irish Volunteer uniform. The pair then returned to North Frederick Street. At 4.pm Scollan sent a second message to Connolly stating that he was still awaiting orders that his men were getting restless for something to do. Scollan suggested that the Hibernian Rifles could occupy Leavy’s Pub on the junction of Upper Dorset Street and Blessington Street. Connolly again stated they should remain in position and await orders.

 

At midday Connolly sent orders to the Hibernian Rifles to proceed to the G.P.O. The Hibernian Rifles were put under the temporary command of The O’Rahilly who ordered the group to break and barricade all the windows on the upper floors. Walsh was stationed at the telegraph desk on the second floor. He had a good knowledge of Morse Code and was able to pose as a government superintendent and sent out queries about the rising in an effort to obtain information. He was only able to receive a few sketchy pieces of information which he reported to Plunket and Pearse.

 

Connolly detailed Scollan to check reports of British troops in the area while other members of the Hibernian Rifles began constructing barricades in the streets. On Easter Monday evening in the G.P.O. Pearse commissioned Jack Stanley proprietor of the Gaelic press to issue and official bulletin. Stanley seized O’Keefe’s Printworks Halston Street and printed “Irish War News” a four page news sheet, printed Tuesday morning which had “STOP PRESS!” on the back page announcing the establishment of the Irish Republic. Although the famous 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic does not name the Hibernian Rifles as participants in the rising Irish War News lists them as part of the “Dublin Division of the Army of the Republic”.

 

Between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning a contingent of Nine Volunteers from Maynooth who had slept the night in Glasnevin cemetery, arrived at the G.P.O..  Scollan and eighteen riflemen accompanied them downstairs to the armourer’s department where they were issued with home-made tin can grenades by Jim O’Neill a member of the Irish Citizen Army. Connolly addressed the mixed party and instructed them to go towards the Haypenny Bridge where the toll collector, indifferent to the revolution erupting around him, was still on duty and demanded the halfpenny toll for each man. Needless to say he did not get it.

 

The group made their way unhindered along the west end of Fleet Street and up through Crane’s Lane. Upon entering Shorthall’s beside the Exchange Hotel the group captured two men using the telephone to send information to the Curragh Military camp concerning republican troop movements and positions. Sean Millroy picked up the telephone and listened as the operator in the Curragh continued to relay valuable information on British troop movements blissfully unaware of the change of events at the other end of the phone line. Millroy was then dispatched back to the G.P.O. to report the information. The Riflemen and

 

Volunteers now occupied the roof of the Exchange Hotel and began barricading houses immediately adjacent to it. The area around City Hall appeared to be under British military control and the Hibernian Rifles and Volunteers engaged superior numbers of British forces in rooftop sniping. That afternoon groups of the Irish Fusiliers and Enniskilling Fusiliers advanced and prepared to storm the Exchange Hotel. The attack was repelled with rifle and shotgun fire. From the roof Scollan estimated they had inflicted over twenty serious casualties on the British military forces. During the attack Edward Walsh a member of the Hibernian Rifles sniping from the roofs was shot through the stomach.

 

About 4.30 p.m Scollan’s group was coming under increasing pressure received orders to retire to the G.P.O. and were helped by a number of sympathetic citizens to make their journey. They took the wounded Edward Walsh with them and he died that evening in the G.P.O. leaving a widow and two children. At this point number of the Hibernian Rifles were separated from the main body during the retreat and wandered into British military forces around Dame Street where they were taken prisoner. On Thursday morning Connolly instructed Scollan to make his way to Broadstone station to report on conditions there.

 

Scollan was challenged by a British sentry at the station and questioned by a British officer inside. Scollan claimed he was a stranger in Dublin, and was at the station to try and find his way about. He was taken prisoner and transferred to Ship Street Barracks the following day. He was kept in custody and fed on British military rations of bully beef and hard biscuit until the rising had ended. The remaining members of the Hibernian Rifles surrendered with the G.P.O. garrison at Parnell Street on the 29th of April on Friday May 6th Scollan was transferred to Richmond barracks before being transported to England by cattle boat and interned in Wandsworth prison.

 

Aftermath of the Rising and legacy

 

In July 1916 Scollan was transferred to Frongoch Internment camp in Wales where at least seven other Riflemen who had fought in the rising were interned. Scollan was appointed camp treasurer until he was transferred to Reading jail on October 30. Michael Collins was then elected to fill his position. Scollan and Hibernian Riflemen interned in Frongoch were released under the general amnesty at Christmas 1916. J.J. Walsh was less fortunate, being singled out for courtmartial and sentenced to ten years penal servitude because of his previous role in the Irish Volunteers. Walsh was released with the remaining republican prisoners on June 15th 1917.

The more conservative and sectarian Board or Erin Hibernianism largely disappeared in Ireland with the failure of the Home Rule Party in 1918. They could not adapt their religious or political beliefs to the non-sectarian Republican ideals of the 1916 Proclomation and the rising which soon grabbed the attention of a majority of the people in Ireland. Republicans had begun to openly attack the Board of Erin Hibernian halls and their meetings by 1920 because of their continued support for the John Redmond’s House Rule Party.

 

The more conservative and sectarian Board or Erin Hibernianism largely disappeared in Ireland with the failure of the Home Rule Party in 1918. Little is known of the Hibernain Rifles group after 1916.

A number of members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians were executed by the IRA on suspicion of being British Spies and the IRA in Belfast found themselves in conflict with armed Hibernians. Today the Ancient Order of Hibernians have almost completely died out in the 26 counties of southern Ireland and have a very small presence in some areas of the 6 counties in the north of Ireland where they still hold marches on Roman Catholic feast days.

Little information is available on Hibernian Rifles after the general release of prisoners after December 1916. While groups such as the Irish Citizen Army retained a large degree of independence from the Irish Volunteers after the Irish Republican Army had been formed in the rebellion, the Hibernian Rifles disappeared completely as a separate military group and became part of the First Battalion Dublin Brigade of the I.R.A. with its re-organisation in 1917. Number 28 North Frederick Street remained a hotbed of rebel activity between 1917 and 1918 and R.I.C. raids were made on the hall only to be resisted by former members of the Hibernian Rifles now serving as I.R.A. Volunteers.

Most of the Hibernian Rifles veterans remained active until the Civil war. One example is Francis Devine who continued military activities with E Coy. 1st Batt. Of the Dublin Brigade I.R.A. After his release from prison he served as a company quartermaster and assisted in the reorganising and training of I.R.A. companies. He was interned for three months under the defence of the realm act for his republican activities and later assisted Harry Boland in canvassing for Sinn Féin in Armagh during the 1918 elections. Devine was on continuous active service from 1919 until truce in July 1921 supplying arms for ambushes and commanding armed patrols. He opted to take a neutral position during the Civil War.

After his release and return to Dublin at Christmas 1916 J.J. Scollan noted “There was a decided change in the outlook of the people. Whereas they were hostile to us when we were being deported, they were now friendly and sympathetic.” “The Hibernian” newspaper was not re-established by Scollan after his release in 1916 and the Irish Branches of the Irish American Alliance were amalgamated into the Sinn Féin political party that developed in 1917. Sinn Féin annexation of the I.A.A. ended political journey, toward republicanism away from sectarian nationalism, that the Irish American Allicance and the Hibernian Rifles has been making since their split with the Board of Érin – Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1907.

 

Padraig Og O Ruairc is a PhD student at the University of Limerick. He has published a number of books and articles on the War of Independence & Civil War in Clare and Limerick. His most recent book “Revolution – A Photograph History of Revolutionary Ireland 1913 -1923” was short listed for the Best Irish Published Book category in the 2011 Irish Book Awards.

 Sources

Periodicals -
The Hibernian
The Worker
The Workers Republic
The Irish Volunteer
Sinn Féin

Contemporary Documents-
Police Reports, Dublin Castle NAUK CO 904.

Veteran testimony -
Various BMH accounts including J.J. Scollan

Books:
“The Irish Times Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook”.
“Frongoch – University of Revolution” by Sean O Mahony.
“Agony at Easter” by T.M. Coffey.
“The Men Will Talk To Me, Galway interviews by Ernie O Malley” Edited by Cormac Ó Comhraí.

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