Saturday, August 24, 2013

Corran Herald : War of Independence article

I'm delighted to have an article in this year's Corran Herald. This annual publication has been produced and published by Ballymote Heritage Group since 1985.

This group, founded in May 1984, has continued to devote itself to its stated aim of raising awareness of all matters of heritage and in particular promoting knowledge of and interest in all aspects of local history, archaeology, culture, folklore and all the many things that make up the unique character of any given area.

They meet monthly and since 1990 have organised a Heritage Weekend each August Bank Holiday. The Ballymote Heritage Weekend continues to attract audiences from near and far and has been widely praised for the high quality of its lectures and outings.

While researching Sligo The Irish Revolution 1912-23 I came across lots of wonderful incidents and material which either didn't get into the book or were included in an abbreviated form. So it's great to be able to write a fuller account and have it published in such a local publication.

My article in the Corran Herald is entitled A strange thing happened on the way to the dance and deals with the meeting of IRA officer Michael J. Marren, O/C Ballymote Battalion, and Major E.S.C. Grune, O/C Sligo Troops, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, as a result of a train hold-up in south Sligo on 26 May 1920.

I was lucky to find an account of the incident which Grune wrote soon afterwards. He was impressed by the efficiency and armament of the IRA who held up the train, disarmed the soldiers on board and traveled with them to the next stop where the IRA got off, allowing the British proceed to Boyle. Grune was on his way to a dance at the barracks in Boyle.

Grune's account is included in Capt. A. L. Dunnill's A summary of events during the period in which the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment was stationed in Ireland, 1920, 1921, 1922, in Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, Bedford, UK. This is a marvelous account of that period from the British Army's point of view. 

Marren accidentally drowned at Strandhill the day after the truce in 1921 while Grune served in Palestine later, retired in 1937, served in the RAF Reserve during the second world war and died in 1960.

It is a fascinating glimpse at one minor incident in the Irish war of independence. The full list of the contents of this issue are hereThe Corran Herald is on sale in bookshops in County Sligo. Enquiries to:

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