Irish Civil War

Wednesday, 28 June, 1922 - Thursday, 24 May, 1923
Pictured at the Mansion House in 1919, where the first Dáil Éireann convened, are - from left to right - the Republican politicians Harry Boland, Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera. Collins, Pro-Treaty, would be assassinated, de Valera would become the political leader of the Anti-Treaty IRA and Boland, Anti-Treaty, would be shot and mortally wounded when arrested during the Civil War.

When the Irish Free State gained independence from British rule, it was to remain within the British Empire in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921, the treaty that concluded the Irish War of Independence. The treaty described the new state as a self-governing dominion and allowed for a six-county region of the north to remain within the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland. There was therefore a severe political rift between the anti-treaty republicans and the pro-treaty national government factions that led to the civil war that would begin before the Free State was actually established in December 1922.

The fighting concluded with the defeat of the Anti-Treaty irregulars and although there is no accurate record of casualties, fatalities are estimated to range from 1,500 to 2,000. The political legacy was severe and split generations of Irish men and women as well as souring relations between the Free State (or future Republic of Ireland) and the United Kingdom until the latter end of the 20th century.