The Irish Story Archive on the Irish War of Independence

A British Army tank in Dublin.

The Irish War of Independence was a guerrilla conflict, conventionally said to have lasted from 1919-1921. It resulted in the independence of part of Ireland and its partition between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. This is an archive of our articles on the subject to date.

A good place to start is The Irish War of Independence – A Brief Overview.

For purely military angle see:

Weapons of the Irish War of Independence, by John Dorney.

The Black and Tans Auxiliaries, an Overvew, by Sean William Gannon.

Henry Hugh Tudor, the Chief of Police in Ireland 1920-21, by Sean William Gannon.

Ambushes of the War of Independence, Myth and Reality, by John Dorney

For the political context see

‘An unnecessary number of graves’ – The Road to the Truce of July 1921, by John Dorney

Course of the War

For some the start of the War is the 1916 Easter Rising see our archive on the Rising here.

The following are our articles on the conflict in chronological order.

January 1919, The Dáil met for the first time and Volunteers shot dead two policemen at Soloheadbeg. By John Dorney

‘Likely to cause dissaffection to his Majesty, the British Seizure of Newspaper in September 1919, by Mark Holan

The attempted assassination of the Lord Lieutenant John French, 19 December 1919, by John Dorney

The Shooting Cork Mayor Tomas MacCurtain March 1920, by John Dorney

The Hunger Strike and General Strike of April 1920, John Dorney

In the Presence of his Enemies, the James Dalton Controversy, May 1920 by Daniel Murray

The Rise and Fall of the Dail Courts, by John Dorney

The Start of the Belfast Pogrom 21 July 1920, by Kierna Glennon

The Arms Raid at Drumquinn, 26 August 1920, by Liam O Dhuibhir

The Derry Riots August 29 1920, by Patrick Concannon

The Sack of Balbriggan and British Reprisals in Ireland, by John Dorney

‘A Fiend in Human Form?’ The life and crimes of Thomas D Huckerby, by Sean Gannon

The Siege of Tralee, November 1-9, 1920, by John Dorney

Bloody Sunday, November 21 1920, a day of violence in Dublin. A mass IRA assassination followed by vicious reprisal.

Also, Revisiting Bloody Sunday, by John Dorney

The Kilmichael Ambush, November 28 1920, By John Dorney

The Burning of Cork, December 11, 1920, by John Dorney

The General Strike and Irish Independence, on the two general strikes in Ireland in favour of independence. By John Dorney.

The Parnell Bridge Ambush, Cork, 4 January 1921, by Caoimh Mulvany

The Upton Ambush, February 1921. A botched IRA attack on a train at Cork.

Deserters or Spies? – Padraig Og O Ruairc on three British soldiers killed in Clare in February 1921.

The Pearse Street ambush, March 14, 1921, a bloody day in Dublin, by John Dorney.

The Scramogue Ambush, March 23, 1921, by Thomas Tormey

The Big House and the Irish Revolution – on the destruction of the landed class’s country mansions, by John Dorney.

The Burning of the Big Houses Re-Visited 1920-1923, by John Dorney.

The Headford Ambush, March 21, 1921, by Thomas Earls Fitzgerald.

Bushwhacked – the Loss of the Carlow Flying Column, April 1921, by Daniel Murray

The Raid on the Custom House, May 1921. – The IRA destroy the centre of local government.

Margaret Keogh, the Woman who Died for Ireland, by Padraig Og O Ruairc.

Hair Cutting and Women in the War of Independence, by Margaret Ward

The Assassination of Sergeant King, by Padriag Og O Ruairc.

The Ellis Quarry Killings, by Padraig Og O Ruairc.

Belfast’s Bloody Sunday, July 10, 1921, by Kieran Glennon.

The Truce was declared, July 11, 1921. – The last day of open hostilities, by John Dorney

The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in December 1921 , creating the Irish Free State.

The Dunmanway killings, April 1922. Thirteen men, all Protestants were killed in rural county Cork.

Four Bloody Sundays – including two episodes from the War of Independence.

Spies and Informers Beware! IRA executions of alleged spies, by Padraig Og O Ruairc.

For the subsequent civil war, 1922-23, see our Irish Civil War archive.


Regional Studies

The War of Independence in the Border Counties, by John Dorney

The Cattle Drives of 1920 in the West of Ireland, by Terry Dunne.

Sieges and shootings, the Decline of the RIC in County Westmeath, 1920, by Daniel Murray.

Understated Insurgency, The Carlow IRA Brigade, by Daniel Murray

Among the Philistines, Dissent and reaction in the Mulingar Brigade IRA, 1921, by Daniel Murray.

The Dublin Brigade of the IRA, 1917-1921, by John Dorney

‘Cowardly Cunning and Contemptible’ The British Army campaign in Dublin, by John Dorney

Events in Terenure, by John Dorney

The War of Independence in Kerry, by Thomas Earls Fitzgerald.

‘The Distinction is a Fine but a Real One’, Padraig Og O Ruairc on sectarianism in Clare in the war.

‘Never Lukewarm’ Seumas Robinson and the Tipperary Brigade in the War of Independence, by Daniel Murray.

Policing Revolutionary Dublin 1919-1923, by John Dorney

The Mad Dance of Death, the Ulster Protestant Association in Belfast, 1921-1922, by Michael C Rast.

The Boy of the Old Brigade -The IRA Third Northern Division by Kieran Glennon the IRA in Belfast.

Social Class and the IRA 3rd Northern Division, by Kieran Glennon

Casualties of the Belfast Pogrom by Kieran Glennon

‘Taking Matters into their own hands’ – The Ulster Special Constabulary, by John O Neill



History Wars, Interview with John Regan, debates the historiography of the War and its aftermath.

David Fitzpatrick on ‘Terror in Ireland’.

Cathal Brennan and John Dorney discuss the War of Independence and Civil War in Dublin.

James Durney on the Dublin Dardanelles – How a street in Dublin became known as the ‘Dardanelles’ during the conflict.

Eunan O’Halpin on the Dead of the Irish Revolution – the project to establish how many died in the war.

Brian Hanley on the IRA at War.

Guerrilla Days in Kerry, interview with Thomas Earls Fitzgerald.

Irish Revolutionary Women, with Liz Gillis and Mary McAuliffee

Tom Barry and the Kilmichael Ambush, with John Dorney

Padraig O Ruairc on the Disappeared of the Irish Revolution

Belfast Violence 1920-22 with Kieran Glennon

Commemorating the RIC, with John Dorney and Cathal Brennan

Republican Policing with Brian Hanley

Joe Connell on Guerrilla Warfare in Ireland 1919-21

The Irish War of Independence – A Religious War? Three part documentary on the much contest topic of sectarianism in the War of Independence. Featuring John Borgonovo, Fearghal McGarry, Padraig Yeates and Niall Meehan.

Part I

Part II

Part III


Books, opinions and reviews

Opinion: Did the ambush at Soloheadbeg begin the Irish War of Independence? By John Dorney

The Perils of Reconciliation, Commemorating 1920 in 2020, by John Dorney

Peter Hart – A legacy – John Dorney Reviews Peter Hart’s work on the Irish Revolution.

An opinion piece by Padraig Og O Ruairc, To Remember or to Commemorate? about the legacy of the RIC.

Opinion: Remembrance and Reconciliation, Heroes in the Irish War of Independence, by Donald Masterson.

Opinion, Commemorating Kilmichael, by Padraig Og O Ruairc.

Review: Ambushes and Armour, by W.H Kautt reviewed by William Butler.

Review: Peeler by Kevin McCarthy, reviewer; John Dorney

Review: The Year of the Disappearances, by Gerard Murphy, reviewer; Padraig Og O Ruairc. Murphy’s reply here.

Review, Turning Points in Twentieth Century Ireland, reviewer; John Dorney.

Review, Terence MacSwiney, A Hunger Strike that Rocked an Empire, by Dave Hannigan, reviewer William Butler.

Review, A Hard Local War, by William Sheehan, Reviewer John Dorney

Review, The Black and Tans, by David M Leeson, Reviewer Padraig Og O Ruairc.

Review, Unlikely Rebels, by Anne Clare, reviewer Mairead Carew.

Review, Sleep Soldier Sleep, by Diarmuid O’Connor and Frank Connolly, Reviewer, John Dorney

Review, Terror in Ireland, Editor, David Fitzpatrick, Reviewer, John Dorney

Book Review, Frontiers of Violence, Ulster and Upper Silesia, by T.K. Wilson, reviewer, John Dorney.

Book Review, The Flame and the Candle, The War in Mayo 1914-1924, by Dominic Price, reviewer John Dorney

Book Review, Ground Truths, British Army Operation in Ireland by WH Kautt, reviewer John Dorney.

Book Review, The Republic, the Fight for Irish Independence, by Charles Townshend, reviewer, Padraig Og O Ruairc.

Book Review, Frank Aiken’s War 1916-1923, by Matthew Lewis, reviewer: John Dorney

Book Review, The Irish Revolution, Tyrone, 1912-1923, by Fergal McCluskey, reviewer: John Dorney

Review, Truce The Last Days of the Irish War of Independence by Padraig Og O Ruairc, reviewer John Dorney

Review The Irish Revolution in Louth reviewed by John Dorney 

Truce by Padraig Og O Ruairc, review by John Dorney

After the Rising, Trials of the Irish Revolution by Sean Enright, reviewed by Daniel Murray

Kevin Barry: A Rebel in Life and Death, by Eunan O’Halpin, reviewed by John Dorney

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