BARRY, Commandant General Tom. Guerilla Days in Ireland (SIGNED BY TOM BARRY & FIVE ASSOCIATES)


1 in stock

Dublin: Irish Press, 1949. First edition. Large post octavo. pp. [xii], 228. Blue cloth, title in gilt on spine. Signed by Barry and five associates. A very good copy.
An exceptional copy, signed on half title by Tom Barry himself and by five associates under a handwritten extract stated to be from Lord Pakenham’s book Peace By Ordeal (Treaty 1921): ‘What England had so often & so long denied to Ireland “hopeful, expectant, almost suppliant” she conceded only when she found her savage, ruthless, armed’. Under this passage are signed the names of Spud (?) Murphy, Mick Crowley, Tom Barry, Pat Kearney, Michael Murphy, Dan Minihan.
Some of the signatures are shaky and not easy to decipher. Probably signed at a Crossbarry reunion or similar in later years, when the survivors of the conflict gathered to talk about old times. ‘Ruthless’ certainly describes Barry in his prime, whatever about ‘savage’. Of course he had learned his trade in the British Army in Iraq.
Tom Barry was born in the west of the ‘Rebel County’ in 1897. During the First World War he served with the British Army in Mesopotamia. On returning to Ireland in 1919 he became a prominent member of the Irish Republican Army, commanding the West Cork unit which he later developed into one of the leading Flying Columns of the war. The Column enjoyed remarkable success notably in the Kilmichael and Crossbarry ambushes. He opposed the Treaty and supported the Republican side during the Civil War. He also served as I.R.A. Chief of Staff in the late thirties. The Crossbarry Ambush or Battle of Crossbarry occurred on 19 March 1921 and was one of the largest engagements of the Irish War of Independence. It took place near the small village of Crossbarry in County Cork, about 20 km south-west of Cork city. At 1 a.m. on that morning, over 400 British troops left Cork, 200 Ballincollig, 300 Kinsale, 350 Bandon. Sometime later 120 Auxiliaries left Macroom and other troops left Cork and Clonakilty. About a hundred Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers of the West Cork Brigade Flying Column, commanded by Tom Barry, escaped an attempt by these British troops to encircle them. During the hour-long battle, ten British troops and three IRA volunteers were killed.


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