The Burning of the Custom House, 1921

Tuesday, 9 October, at 8.15pm in the Officers’ Mess, Custume Barracks

Talk by Liz Gillis

Summary On 25 May 1921, the IRA launched one of its largest and most audacious operations when it attacked Dublin’s Custom House, the heart of the British administration in Ireland. Many still view this as a military failure that destroyed the Dublin Brigade of the IRA. But, over the last number of years, historians Liz Gillis and Mícheál Ó Doibhilín have, based on their extensive research, challenged this view. They argue that the operation was, in fact, a success which possibly helped bring about a truce and the subsequent Treaty negotiations. Liz Gillis, historian and author, tells this story in detail, including the planning of the attack and its consequences, using much information that is new, while also incorporating the recollections of those who were there.

The Customs House, Dublin, 25 May 1921

Speaker Historian and author Liz Gillis is from the Liberties. She has a Degree in Irish History and currently works as a Researcher for the History Show on RTÉ Radio, and also runs ‘Revolution in Dublin Walking Tours’. She was a Curatorial Assistant in RTÉ, specialising in researching the Easter Rising and a tour guide for many years in Kilmainham Gaol.

Liz is the author of six books about the Irish Revolution, ‘Ireland Over All’, ‘The Fall of Dublin’, ‘Revolution in Dublin 1913-1923’, ‘Women of the Irish Revolution’‘The Hales brothers and the Irish Revolution’,  and ‘May 25: The Burning of the Custom House 1921’. She co-wrote ‘We Were There: 77 Women of the Easter Rising’. She is currently writing her next book about the Rebel Liberties.

Liz has worked as a researcher on numerous publications, television and radio documentaries covering the period. She has participated in many conferences and lectures focusing the Irish Revolution and is co-organiser of the annual conference on the Burning of the Custom House in 1921. This year Liz was a recipient of the Lord Mayor’s Award for her contribution to history.


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