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More on the 1956-1962 Border Campaign December 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Irish Politics.

Coincidental to discovering this educative site here – well, not so coincidental actually, I finally got around to reading Barry Flynn’s ‘Soldiers of Folly – The IRA Border Campaign 1956 −1962’ and it’s an interesting read. I noted in comments I’m not mad gone on the title, but it’s a comprehensive enough overview of the topic, though, as also noted in comments, Ó Bradaigh’s biography has a good overview too.

One interesting nugget which I had hitherto confused with Saor Uladh was the Laochra Uladh (Warriors of Ulster) splinter group, which was led by Brendan O’Boyle, an IRA man from the 1940s who as Bowyer Bell noted in The Secret Army ‘appeared to run a one-man bombing campaign’ and who died in 1955 when a bomb prematurely exploded in the car he was driving. According to some LU gave weapons to SU.

That Bowyer Bell link is fascinating because it mentions other groups, including an IRB, Arm na Saoirse which merged with the IRA (and as Bowyer Bell notes almost fantastically its members were unaware of the IRA before that, or perhaps not so fantastically), and the Irish National Brotherhood/Irish Volunteers which is described as ‘private and somewhat violent youth movement absorbed into na Fianna Éireann’. These apparently were all Dublin based. It does suggest a ferment of activity in the years running up to the campaign.

It’s interesting to consider what were the roots of that activity in the 1940s, a period when the IRA and Republicans were being pushed back by the state in Ireland. One other thought that strikes me is whether in some ways the anti-partitionism of Ailtirí na hAiséirghe during the 1940s (and I don’t mean that in a facile far-right=SF or the IRA way, but rather that AnahA’s anti-partitionism clearly struck a chord), and indeed the Anti-Partition Conference, were representative of a very broad anti-partition sentiment that ultimately saw expression in the Border Campaign?


1. Bob Smiles - December 30, 2013

Also Clann na phoblacta


WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2013

You’re dead right. That’s another manifestation (actually maybe there’s something in the thought that Saor Uladh’s approach was sort of CnaP’s on steroids).


2. Brian Hanley - December 30, 2013

Saor Uladh’s Liam Kelly was appointed to the Seanad by the second-inter party government.


WorldbyStorm - December 31, 2013

Which was no end of embaressment for them. I presume that was a CnaP nomination?


3. workers republic - December 31, 2013

I wonder , does anyone know what was the history of the ‘IRB’ group referred to? I’ts generally accepted that the Curragh Mutiny of 1924 (?) by the remnant of the IRB ended that organisation here, but not in the US. The sister organisation in the US was Clan na nGael .
There were many factors leading to a rise in Republican sentiment and support in the late 40s and early 50s and: the campaign for the release of political prisoners and internees ,the rise of Clan na Publachta , the Free State leaving the British Commonwealth and declaring itself a republic (but not The Irish Republic) and John Costello’s Anti-Partition speech. Dave (Daithi) O Connell told me that if the IRA had struck then, “the whole country would have been behind us “. That was his opinion.
Like the proverbial phoenix, the IRA, that Gerry Boland said he had smashed, began to rise from it’s ashes and organise for another campaign; a recurring theme in Irish history .
Wishing all on CLR a happy and fruitful New Year.


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