Irish Story

Urban and rural scenes of Ireland

 Irish harp


The Irish Republican Army

Although Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera co-operated, there were differences between them. After the Easter Rising, de Valera had not rejoined the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Cathal Brugha, de Valera's Minister for Defence in the Dail, resented Collins' popularity and his influence over the Volunteers. In an effort to assert control, Brugha had the Volunteers declared the Army of the Irish Republic (IRA).

Special forces were sent over from England to impose curfews and martial law on the Irish. These forces became known as the Black and Tans after a popular Limerick hunt group, and because of their dark green and khaki uniforms. Another force of veterans from the Great War, called the Auxiliaries, joined them and began a pattern of assassination and reprisal.

The IRA employed guerilla tactics, using 'flying columns' to attack British troops. Their knowledge of the countryside made up for their lack of arms. The initial distaste for the killing of RUC men by the IRA gave way to outrage at the savagery of the Crown forces. The reprisals had the effect of identifying the British as the oppressors of the Irish people.

From the 1960s on, the IRA became increasingly aggressive. The organisation was never a single group, it was split into several according to the level of willingness to use violence. One of these groups, the Provisional IRA, campaigned to throw the British out of Ireland by force, using bombs and ambushes in London as well as in Northern Ireland. This urban warfare continued for thirty years and is known as "the Troubles".

In 1994 the IRA announced a ceasefire. Subsequent negotiations, while never running smoothly, led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. There have been a few incidents since, but the Irish on both sides are beginning to have hope that there will eventually be peace.





About Ireland

Irish History

Learn Gaelic

Irish Roots

CopyrightSite MapContact Us