Liam Mellows, Soldier of the Irish Republic ~ Selected Writings, 1914–1922


Conor McNamara

August 2019

This landmark new study of the life of Republican leader Liam Mellows gathers letters, speeches, articles and IRA documents from archives in Ireland, the UK and the United States together for the first time to form an insightful analysis of Mellows’ short but intense life.


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This landmark study of the life of republican leader Liam Mellows brings together letters, speeches, political writings and captured IRA documents to explore his short but dramatic life.

Mellows was at the forefront of the republican movement in Ireland from its inception. Following the Easter Rising, he spent four years as the IRA’s representative in New York, attempted to import arms into Ireland, was jailed, and – worst of all – branded an informer by the Mayor of New York.

Arriving back in Ireland in 1920, Mellows was responsible for the importation of arms for the republican forces during the Independence struggle. Bitterly opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, he became an implacable opponent of Michael Collins, and his role in helping form the anti-Treaty IRA in 1922 contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Mellows’ execution in December 1922 was among the most divisive acts of the new Irish state, and he remains an enigmatic icon for Irish republicans. Liam Mellows, Soldier of the Irish Republic, examines his beliefs, his fraught personal relationships and political betrayals, and sheds new light on his struggle in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.

Table of Contents

Index of Writings
Chapter 1. Behold the Mysteries of Faith: Liam Mellows, A Life in Search of the Heroic
Chapter 2. ‘Real live, earnest Irish rebel boys’, History of Na Fianna Éireann (1917)
Chapter 3. Re-imagining Insurrection, ‘The True Story of the Galway Insurrection’ (1917)
Chapter 4. ‘A cause that is as great as that of any race’, American Speeches, 1917–20
Chapter 5. ‘I have not fought for that Treaty’, Dáil Éireann Contributions, 1921–2
Chapter 6. ‘The Irish Republic is the People’s Republic’, Civil War Writings, 1922
Chapter 7. ‘I don’t care about myself. Work on and hope on’, Letters, 1917–22
Chapter 8. ‘I die for the truth. Life is only for a little while’, Final Letters, 1922
Epilogue: The Battle for the Soul of Liam Mellows
Select Bibliography

About the Author

Dr Conor McNamara has written extensively about the history of the Irish revolution and rural society. He was previously a winner of the National Library of Ireland, History Fellowship (2009) and was awarded the 1916 Scholar in Residence at NUI Galway (2015–17). He was a Moore Institute, NUI Galway, Visiting Fellow (2017) and this is his fifth publication.

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