After two years of fighting, a truce and a peace treaty were signed in 1921. Negotiations between Irish Provisional Government representatives and British officials resulted in the signing of the Peace Treaty of 1921. The Irish Free State was recognized as a self-governing Dominion with full authority. Britain retained command of certain ports for defence. A legislature in six counties in northern Ireland was allowed to stay outside the Irish Free State. Ireland drifted into a civil war in 1922 as it had into the Anglo-Irish War of 1919. In 1919, the Irish had won their independence and the treaty that ended that war was rejected by the Anti-Treatyite or “Irregular” forces. As a result, the authority of the Provisional Government was endangered and attacked.

On June 28, 1922, when the Four Courts (Irish judiciary headquarters) was seized and a Government General kidnapped, the Irish Civil War began. The people of Drogheda, the local landscape and structures preserve memories and evidences of our town’s involvement in these tragic occasions. On the first day of the conflict, Sgt. William Leech, a member of the ‘Irregulars,’ was killed. ‘Regular’ troops also died. Mayor Philip Monaghan and other local individuals were wounded by stray bullets, and one woman, Alice Slowey, was killed. ‘Irregulars’ also blew up both of Drogheda’s railway bridges, damaging the tracks and isolating the town.

The Millmount Barracks were seized by Irregular Troops and defended by the Free State Army, prompting Regular Forces to fire at the complex. The most dramatic event in this area was the Regular Army’s shelling of the barracks. The Irregular garrison eventually abandoned the barracks. Large mortars of 12 and 18 pound calibres were used for the first half hour of the battle, firing every two minutes. The Drogheda railway station was also seized by Irregular forces, and this contest also came to an end shortly after the Millmount conflict ended at 4:30 p.m.

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