Irish Time

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gaelic Ireland





I joined the Flying Column in 1916
In Cork with Seán Moylan, Tipperary with Dan Breen
Arrested by Free Staters and sentenced for to die
Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee Mountain Boy

We crossed pleasant valleys and over the hilltops green
Where we met with Dinny Lacey, Seán Hogan and Dan Breen
Seán Moylan and his gallant band they kept the flag flying high
Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee Mountain Boy

We crossed the Dublin mountains we were rebels on the run
Though hunted night and morning we were outlawed but free men
We tracked the Wicklow mountains as the sun was shining high
Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee Mountain Boy

I'm bidding farewell to old Clonmel that I never more will see
And to the Galtee mountains that oft times sheltered me
To the men who fought for liberty and died without a sigh
May the cause be ne'er forgotten said the Galtee Mountain Boy



The Galtee Mountain Boy might be a cover but the men mentioned in the song are definitely not fictitious. All of them were well-known members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the Tipperary - Cork area during the War of Independence and the Civil War.

Seán Hogan and Dan Breen were part of the group which seized a cart load of gelignite, or gelly, and detonators near Soloheadbeg in County Tipperary on 21 January 1919. Two officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) got killed in what is known as the Soloheadbeg Ambush. The ambush at Soloheadbeg marked the beginning of the War of Independence. After the ambush Seán Hogan and Dan Breen were on the run.
Hogan was arrested in May 1919, but freed near Knocklong by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), among which Dan Breen, when he was transported from Thurles to stand trail in Cork.

In June 1921, only a few weeks before the end of the War of Independence, Ned Foley and Patrick Maher were executed for the killing of two police escorts during the Knocklong Rescue. Seán Hogan, who was wounded during his escape, recovered and fought in the Civil War against the Free Staters.

Dan Breen managed to avoid being arrested, although once he sustained 22 bullet wounds in a shootout with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). Like Seán Hogan Breen opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and fought in the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was arrested by Free Staters during the Civil War and imprisoned in Mountjoy Prison, from which he was released after a hunger and thirst strike. After the Civil War Dan Breen went into politics until his retirement in 1965.

Dinny Lacey was commander of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the south of County Tipperary and was killed in an ambush by members of the Free State Army on 18 February 1923.

And, last but not least, Seán Moylan was leader of the North Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). After the Civil War Seán Moylan was actively involved in the founding of Fianna Fáil. Moylan persuaded some of the anti-Treaty side in the Republic of Ireland to put down their weapons and to enter politics.





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