The Civil War in Dublin: The Fight for the Irish Capital, 1922–1924


John Dorney

July 2017

The Civil War in Dublin brings the chaos of life in the city of Dublin to life through meticulous detail and reveals unsettling truths about the extreme actions taken by a burgeoning Irish Free State and its Anti-Treaty opponents.


The start of the Irish Civil War was signalled by the artillery bombardment of the Four Courts in Dublin on 28 June 1922. A week later, the Four Courts was gutted and O’Connell Street a smouldering ruin, but the anti-Treaty IRA was driven from the city. Most accounts of the fighting in Dublin end there.

The Civil War in Dublin reveals the complete, shocking story of Ireland’s capital during the ten-month guerrilla war that followed – a ruthless and bitter cycle of execution, outrage and revenge. The strategy of the anti-Treaty forces, often ignored or dismissed in previous histories, is brought to the fore.

Dorney’s exacting research provides total insight into how the city of Dublin operated under conditions of disorder and bloodshed: how civilians and guerrilla fighters controlled the streets, the patterns of IRA violence and National Army counter-insurgency alternated, and – for the first time – how the pro-Treaty ‘Murder Gang’ emerged from Michael Collins’ IRA Intelligence Department, ‘the Squad’, with devastating effect.

The Civil War in Dublin brings the chaos of these years to life through meticulous detail, revealing unsettling truths about the extreme actions taken by a burgeoning Irish Free State and its anti-Treaty opponents.

Table of Contents

Foreword ~ Brian Hanley

  1. Nationalist Revolution in Dublin 1913–21
  2. The Treaty Split, January to March 1922
  3. The Four Courts Occupation and the First Shots, January to May 1922
  4. The Northern Dimension
  5. From Election to Civil War, June 1922
  6. The Siege of the Four Courts, 28–30 June 1922
  7. The Battle for Dublin, 30 June–7 July 1922
  8. Crossing the Rubicon, Civil War
  9. From Blessington to the Night of the Bridges, July to August 1922
  10. A Dublin Invasion, The Munster Landings and the Death of Collins, August 1922
  11. The Politics of Civil War
  12. The Propaganda War
  13. Urban Insurgency, Dublin, August to November 1922
  14. Counter Insurgency and Barracks Attacks
  15. The Prison War
  16. Executions, December 1922
  17. A Season of Outrage, December 1922 to February 1923
  18. The Wars Within the War
  19. The Bitter End, February to May 1923
  20. Monopolies of Force, May 1923 to April 1924

Appendix I: Casualties of the Civil War in Dublin
Appendix II: Glossary of Terms

About the Author

John Dorney is an independent historian and chief editor of the Irish Story website. He is the author of Peace After the Final Battle: The Story of the Irish Revolution 1912–1924 (2014) and Griffith College Dublin: A History of its Campus (2013).

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