Civil war photographs of Cork city in 1922

Cork City Libraries are grateful to Ms Suzanne Buckley for allowing us to make digital copies of the photographs below, which she had in her possession. These photographs were taken in August 1922 after the National Army took over control of Cork city from the Anti-Treaty forces.

Cork had been one of the strongholds of the Republican resistance to British rule during the War of Independence, ‘the capital of insurrection’ as the Irish Times called it. After the Treaty, which was signed on 6 December 1921, many of the leading Republicans in Cork took the anti-Treaty side. The church, the business community, and the Cork Examiner took the pro-Treaty position. Crucially, the majority of the war-weary public also supported the Treaty, and the peace it seemed likely to bring. Deprived of mass support, always essential for an irregular force, the prospects of the anti-Treaty IRA looked grim. Some of the more experienced Republican commanders in Cork took little or no part in the Civil War, further weakening the anti-Treaty forces.

The Irregulars, as the anti-Treaty IRA came to be called, seized control of the city — and its hinterland around the harbour — in the early days of the Civil War, from late June to early August 1922. Emmet Dalton of the National Army managed to lead Free State forces ashore at Passage West in spite of the mines laid in the harbour by the anti-Treaty forces. The Irregulars put up a spirited resistance at Rochestown and Douglas for three days but were eventually overpowered by the Free State troops, and soon afterwards the Irregulars evacuated Cork city and moved to their redoubts in West Cork. By and large, the populace of Cork welcomed the Free State forces that entered the city during 11 and 12 August 1922. The war struggled on for another while in the county, claiming the life of Michael Collins at Bealnablath (Béal na Blá), but eventually petered out. The Civil War finally ended with orders to the remaining Irregulars to cease fire and dump arms on 24 May 1923. 

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Barricade near Emmet Place Civic policeman Cork Examiner guard General Dalton at the Imperial Hotel Protestant YMCA
City Club 1 City Club 2 City Club 3 Door guard at YMCA National Guard
Officer's mess Barracks YWCA Sidney Place    
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