New narratives on the Soloheadbeg ambush (21 January 1919)

Following the 1916 Easter Rising and in the lead up to the Soloheadbeag ambush, the re-organised Irish Volunteers and Na Fianna Éireann were involved in some isolated armed incidents. In June 1917, RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) Inspector John Mills was fatally struck with a hurley at a public meeting outside the burnt-out shell of Liberty…

Members of the First Dáil in the MSPC

The island of Ireland elected 105 MPs in the 1918 UK General Election with Sinn Féin winning a decisive landslide victory. It was also an historic election as women over 30 had the opportunity to vote for the first time as did all men over 21. The results were: Sinn Féin – 73 Irish Unionist…

Military Service Pension Grades Explained

Pension Grades – Military Service Pensions Act, 1924 Under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924 pension grades relate to the rank system within the Defence Forces. Receipt of a pension under the act was dependent on service with the National Army and/or the Defence Forces during the periods between 1 July 1922 and 30 September…

Cathal O’Shannon – (1890-1969) Republican, Trade Unionist, Socialist and Journalist

The unsuccessful military service pension application of Cathal O’Shannon Sr. (MSP34REF21723) reveals a number of insights into the relationship between the political movements of Republicanism and Labour in Ireland. It touches on the activity of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) outside Dublin; the strike of railway workers against the transportation of British army soldiers and…

Literary connections in the MSPC

To date there have been a number of connections between the literary/journalistic world and the revolutionary period (1916-1923) within the MSPC. The work of writers such as Pearse, Connolly, MacDonagh, Childers, Breen, Barry and O’Malley, to name but a few are well known. This post will focus on some of the less obvious connections and…

The Kerr family of Liverpool and their fight for Irish Freedom

Continuing the theme from the last post on the IRA in St Helens this post will focus on the Kerr family and their work in Liverpool area. The story of the Kerr family is one of the most remarkable stories contained within the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC). Through the files of Neill Kerr…

The Republican Movement in St Helens (1919-1922)

The files of three individuals released last year by the Military Service Pensions Collection offer a glimpse into the activity of Cumann na mBan and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the town of St Helens in Merseyside, north-west England. The town, which was a significant centre for coal mining in the 18th and 19th…