Irish Revolution was one of the most chronicled revolutions in history

Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks holds historical, economic and familial records

War of Independence: A woman recites the Rosary in front of Mountjoy prison, Dublin, for imprisoned Sinn Féin members on hunger strike. Photograph: adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images

War of Independence: A woman recites the Rosary in front of Mountjoy prison, Dublin, for imprisoned Sinn Féin members on hunger strike. Photograph: adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images

 

The information in this supplement is gleaned from three sources held by the Military Archives in Dublin’s Cathal Brugha Barracks and now digitised at militaryarchives.ie.

The first is the individual pension files of those who applied under the various Acts passed by the Oireachtas. The Military Service Pensions Act 1924 provided pensions for those who had served during Easter Week 1916 and in the National Army from the start to the end of the Civil War.

The numbers eligible were greatly expanded under the Military Service Pensions Act 1934 passed by the Fianna Fáil government. This allowed those on the anti-Treaty side to claim for a pension along with veterans of the War of Independence, those involved in Cumann na mBan and Fianna Éireann, the junior wing of the IRA.

The numbers of those applying under the 1934 Act were so overwhelming that the board of assessors involved in pension claims sanctioned the setting up of brigade activity reports (BARs).

These were to provide a list of actions and individuals involved in them for district in the country. The files are mostly concerned with the War of Independence but there are other files pertaining to the Easter Rising and Civil War. They were compiled between 1935 and 1941 by brigade committees operating on a county level. They were intended to give corroborating evidence to the individual pension applications and there are 8,300 significant events listed.

The third major source for this collection is the Bureau of Military History files which were digitised and put online in 2003. There are 1,773 witness statements which were collected between 1947 and 1957 by those most prominently involved at the time. They were never intended to be released while those involved were alive.

These sources together make the Irish Revolution one of the most chronicled revolutions in history. They are a historical, economic and familial record of the generation of the revolution and how they fared, not only during the revolutionary period, but afterwards.

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