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The Civil War - 1922 -1923

In 1921 a truce was declared and a Treaty signed following two years of bitter Anglo Irish warfare.
Negotiations between representatives of the Irish Provisional Government and the British Government culminated in the signing of the Peace Treaty of 1921.

The Irish Free State was recognised as a Dominion with full powers of self-government. Britain retained control of certain Harbours for the purpose of defence. Six counties in North Eastern Ireland had the right to remain outside this free state if their Parliament so decided.

Just as Ireland had drifted into the Anglo/Irish War 1919 similarly the country drifted into Civil War in 192. There had been growing unrest amongst the opposing factions to the terms of the treaty, which had ended that War of Independence. The authority of the Provisional Government was threatened and undermined by attack and confrontation with the Anti Treatyite or "Irregular" forces.

The occupation of the Four Courts (The centre of the Irish Judiciary) and the subsequent kidnapping of a Government General precipitated the firing of the first shots in the Irish Civil War, on 28th June 1922.

The people of Drogheda, its landscape and buildings preserve memories and evidence of the involvement of our town in these tragic events. The shooting and death of Sgt. William Leech a member of the 'Irregulars' on the first day of the war marked the involvement of Drogheda and its' people. Jack Lynch a member of the regular Troops also died that day. A number of local people, including the Mayor Philip Monaghan, were wounded by stray bullets, and one girl, Alice Slowey, was killed. Irregular troops blew up the railway bridges north and south of Drogheda, damaging the railway lines and isolating the town.

The Irregular Troops had taken possession of the Millmount Barracks and were challenged by the Free state Army. The shelling of the complex by the Regular Forces was the most spectacular event in this region. The Irregular Garrison eventually abandoned the barracks. Large mortars 12 and 18 pounders were employed at two-minute intervals for the first half an hour of the attack. Drogheda Railway station had also been held by the Irregular Forces and this engagement also ended shortly after the Millmount saga at 4.30pm.