Thank you to everyone who came along to our second revolutionary workshop in the Cappamore Community Centre on Monday. Throughout the evening, we were shown a lovely collection of letters, posters, medals, and we heard some interesting information about the East Limerick Brigade’s 1st battalion area.
According to military records, the 1st battalion was made up of companies located in Doon, Cappawhite, Oola, Cullen, Templebraden, Pallas, and Cappamore. At the end of the War of Independence, the unit strength was 629 volunteers, but by the start of the Civil War, the battalion comprised of 412 volunteers. During the War of Independence key sites were attacked by the IRA in the 1st battalion area, including Murroe and Cappamore RIC barracks.
During the evening, we were shown a number of objects, including a Service Medal with the original envelope it was delivered in over half a century ago. The Service Medal is often known as the ‘Black & Tan medal’ because of the colour of the ribbon. This medal was awarded to those involved in the fight for independence between 1916 and the 11th of July 1921. The figure in the centre of the medal represents a Volunteer member of a Flying Column with the arms of the four provinces of Ireland surrounding him.
We were also shown a Truce Commemoration Medal, which was released in 1971 to commemorate the jubilee anniversary of the truce in Ireland (11th of July 1921). This was awarded to veterans of the War of Independence who had previously been awarded the Service Medal and who were still alive in 1971.
It wasn’t always a straightforward process to receive a service medal or pension in Ireland. This was especially true for those who had gone anti-treaty during the Civil War. The process involved filling in many forms, attending interviews and contacting former comrades to vouch for you. In Cappamore, we saw some evidence of this in the many letters that were brought in. These letters record former IRA members asking each other to testify for them or help fill in the application forms.
If you have any interesting objects, such as posters, letters, photographs, items of clothing etc., from this period, please bring them along to our next revolutionary workshop in the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre, Bruff (Eircode: V35 XY63) on Thursday, the 27th of April, at 7 pm.
Special thanks to Pat Campbell for bringing his grandfather’s impressive collection of letters and medals to the workshop. It was a pleasure discussing the history of these items with him.
The Archaeology of the Irish Revolution in East Limerick project is funded by the Irish Research Council COALESCE fund, which funds excellent research addressing national and European-global challenges across a number of strands. This project is part of the INSTAR+ awards, funded by the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage in partnership with the Heritage Council. It is being undertaken by University College Dublin School of Archaeology in partnership with Abarta Heritage. Other partners on the project include Dr Damian Shiels, the National Museum of Ireland, Limerick Museum, Heritage Maps, and local historians of the War of Independence and Civil War eras.