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New Publication – ‘The War of Independence in Galway, 1920-1921’

The War of Independence of January 1919 to July 1921 was a political and military conflict between the newly-formed Dáil Éireann, the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan, which strove to establish and maintain an independent Irish Republic, and the British Government and Crown forces, which sought to keep Ireland within the United Kingdom and British Empire. Galway City Museum’s new book, The War of Independence in Galway, 1920-21, explores the conflict from a local perspective.

Researched and written by Brendan McGowan, Education Officer at Galway City Museum, the highly-illustrated, bilingual, 222-page book recalls some of the incidents that took place in Galway – city and county – between October 1920 and July 1921, when the Anglo-Irish Truce came into effect, paving the way for the negotiations that eventually led to the foundation of the Irish Free State. It features a foreword by Prof. Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, and includes tables of those who died in Galway during the War of Independence and of Galway-born people who died in other parts of the country during the conflict. It was produced by the Museum, as part of Galway City Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme 2021, thanks to funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

The book is a limited edition and is not for general sale, but will be available in hardcopy format from local branch libraries across Co. Galway by the end of the month. However, courtesy of Galway City Council and Galway City Museum, you can browse the book ONLINE  or download your own PDF copy, free of charge here THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE IN GALWAY, 1920-21.

The Museum will run a giveaway competition on Facebook in the coming weeks with ten books up for grabs to lucky participants. Follow us on Facebook to be in with a chance to win!

Galway City Museum presented copies of its new publication, War of Independence in Galway, 1920-1921, to local historian John Courtney of Kilconly by way of thanks.  During the course of the research for the book, John was very generous with his time, knowledge and library.  Also presented with a copy of the book today, was the daughter (Frances McHugh Gallagher) and granddaughter (Paula McHugh Gallagher) of William ‘Willie’ McHugh (1883-1980) of Ballycasey.
Willie McHugh served as Captain of the Kilcoona Company IRA during the War of Independence. A musician and composer of ballads, McHugh penned ‘Commandant Louis D’Arcy Beside Clydagh Bay’ in memory of Aloysius ‘Louis’ D’Arcy of Clydagh, Commandant of the Headford Battalion IRA, who was shot dead by Crown forces while in custody in March 1921. The ballad was recorded by Matt Keane Sr. and released under the abbreviated title ‘Louis D’Arcy’ on the ‘Muintir Chatháin/Keane Family’ album of 1985. The ballad features in the book by kind permission of the McHugh family.
Top Left: John Courtney holding his copy of ‘The War of Independence in Galway, 1920-21’. Top Right from L. to R.: Paula McHugh Gallagher, Brendan McGowan of Galway City Museum, and Frances McHugh Gallagher after being presented with their copy of the book.  



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