Béal Beo

Recordings from the National Folklore Collection

War of Independence

Máirtín Mac Donnchadha (aged 74), of Calla, Kilgeever, Co. Mayo.
Proinnsias de Búrca, Irish Folklore Commission, 12 May 1953.
1:47" to 3:56"
Ediphone_021, NFC 1322:132-4 (Cylinder 120)

An account of the West Conamara brigade of the Old IRA during the War of Independence, recorded Máirtín Mac Donnchadha, of Calla, Kilgeever, in 1953.


So, this man, this Sergeant Sullivan, was in charge. And they knew very well we done that. But, indeed, as he told some certain person, he didn't tell me, but he'd like if I, if I'd hear it. He told somebody, before that time and after it, that he knew well that these young boys was at that work, but that if he could help it that he would never like to injure any person. 'But,' he says, 'I have,' he said, 'men in my barrack, 'he said. 'I have some Black an' Tans there,' he says, 'and eh,' he says, 'they are not the worse,' he says, 'but there's some of them, there is some of the other men far worse.' That was true for him. So this man never bothered me, or never bothered the men, at night. We didn't understand it at night we'd be a good while of the night in the hall. We'd come and we'd be a good while out before we'd go to bed and we'd say that nobody would come tonight. So, he never bothered us.

So, after that, for a while, in this part of Conamara, a man named Peter McDonnell, started a little column and went out for a few months. The rising started, and went to the mountains. We were here all the time, we was in the same brigade, the West Conamara Brigade, at that time. And we had a little company called 'E' Company. I was in charge myself. The command I had now at this time was, as we called it in them days, was a First Lieutenant. There was another young fellow with me. He had a step higher than me. So, he went off, on the run. And I had to wait. I was very willing to go, and I'd like to go some way or another, but I was always kept back by the orders of Peter McDonnell. And said that he was sorry that he couldn't have too much men right enough when he had no arms.

Irish Army artillery manoeuvres, World War Two.

Irish Army artillery manoeuvres, World War Two.