New book features detailed local account of War of Independence

After twelve years in the making, Kathleen Hegarty Thorne's new book, 'They Put The Flag a-Flying' is an epic account of the War of Independence and Civil War in Roscommon and the neighbouring counties of Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Westmeath, Longford and Leitrim.

The launch of 'They Put The Flag a-Flying' took place last Sunday, October 30, in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.

The book is a high quality hardback book (on an 8.5" by 11" format) with 540 pages and 342 historic photographs, graced by an original watercolour of the Shankill Monument on its dust cover.

The book begins with a 175 page story of the War for Independence and Civil War in and around County Roscommon, followed by a Chronology of the week-by-week, sometimes day-by-day happenings from 1913 to 1923.

The next and largest section of the book (250 pages) includes an alphabetical listing and biographical details of Volunteers derived from the Commanders' private papers, as well as from intelligence reports in the Military Archives.

Several hundred Volunteers' photos are also included.

This is followed by the Surrounding Volunteers section, which lists the command structure of the Irish Republican Army in the neighbouring counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Leitrim, Sligo, and Westmeath.

The book concludes with a detailed index, which is available online at

The website also has further details on the book.

There's also an opportunity to meet the author, Kathy Hegarty Thorne, in Boyle on Wednesday November 2 at King House in Boyle Town from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Everyone is invited to attend to hear Kathy talk about the quest behind the story and talk about parts of the book referring to the Boyle area.

There will be a bit of music, a slide show and a questions & answers session.

As mentioned, the book features details of Leitrim activists during the war. The following is an excerpt from the book, which outlines the:

"In February 1921, Sean Connolly, IRA organiser from Longford, arrived and spent his time with the Column.

"An ambush was attempted at Fenagh. The lorries failed to appear.

"In March, another ambush was attempted on the main road from Ruskey to Carrick-on-Shannon.

"The whole affair was called off when the mine placed in the road "disintegrated." The materials used - cement and gravel - were of inferior quality. No mine resulted in no ambush and a long trudge home for the Column.

"At Eslin Bridge (about four and a half miles west of Mohill), the larger Column split up and headed in smaller units to various destinations.

"Sean Connolly went with the Column headed towards Ballinamore.

"Members of that Column included: Bernard Sweeney, Andy McPartland, Michael Baxter (Clerk for Ballinamore Railway Station)*, Joseph O'Beirne (Clerk for Ballinamore Railway Station)*, John Joseph O'Reilly (Miskawn, Aughnasheelin)*, Seamus Wrynn (Tarmon, Ballinamore), John Hunt, and John Joseph Reilly (Derrinkeher, Aughnasheelin)*

(*All killed, along with Sean Connolly, at Selton Hill on 11 March 1921)

"After Selton Hill, the Column basically fell part. Captain Paddy Morrissey (from the Athlone area) was sent to reorganise it.

"As to the informers, whose wagging tongues resulted in the demise of the Column at Selton Hill - one informer, William Lattimer, was shot!

"Notices went out which stated that if Crown activities occurred in the area, many lives would be forfeited and every Protestant house would be burned. There were no reprisals!*

*Charles Pinkman Volunteer Witness Statement to the Bureau of Military History 1913-21.

"The other informer, Dr. Pentland (Dr. Pringle claims Bernard Sweeney), managed to get out of the country, but was killed by being crushed to death against a wall in London."

The 5th Battalion Staff included the following:

O/C Sean O'Farrell of Dromard, Dromod; Thomas Shanley of Clooneagh, Dromod.

Vice O/C Thomas McKeon (emigrated to New York).

Quartermaster: James Canning of Tooma, Cloone.

Intelligence Officer: Patrick McGovern (later emigrated to New York).

Adjutant: John J. Cooney of Aughnaglace, Cloone, Mohill.

John Charles Keegan who later emigrated to California.

Patrick O'Rourke of Cloncowley, Drumlish, Co. Longford.

Bernard Ryan of Annaghmacoolen, Cloone

Companies of the 5th Battalion

Aughavas - Capt Peter McIntyre

Barnacoola - Capt Patrick Keville

Cloone - Capt Frank Maguire

Cornageeha - Capt J. McGarry

Drumela, Newtowngore - Capt J. Lee

Drumreilly - Capt. Brian McEnroy

Fearglass - Capt. - Kirwan

Kiltubrid South - Capt Harry McKeon, Patrick Pinkman (for a few days), then Charles Pinkman.


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