The Punishment of Death: civil war executions in Athlone, 1923

Tuesday 31 January at 8.15pm in the Sheraton Hotel

Talk by Dr Ian Kenneally

Speaker Ian Kenneally is a historian and author. A project manager and researcher with the media production company Pegasus Consulting, producers of The History Show on RTÉ Radio One, he has researched and written numerous documentaries that have been broadcast in Ireland and abroad. He is the author of multiple books including ‘The Paper Wall: newspapers and propaganda in Ireland during the War of Independence’ (Collins Press) and he recently completed a commissioned history of Athlone Institute of Technology. He was an editor of the highly popular weekly magazine series, The Revolution Papers, and he has contributed to a wide range of publications, including the Atlas of the Irish Revolution. Historian in Residence with Westmeath County Council during 2020, 2021 and 2022, he contributes the weekly ‘Headlines from History’ column to the Athlone Advertiser. He obtained a PhD in history from NUI Galway.

Thomas Hughes, Bogganfin – executed in Athlone, January 1923

Summary On 20 January 1923 newspapers in Westmeath and around the country received a short notice from the headquarters of the National Army in Dublin: ‘Thomas Hughes, Bogganfin, Athlone; Michael Walsh, Derrymore, Caherlistrane, County Galway; Herbert Collins, Kickeen, Headford, County Galway; Stephen Joyce, Derrymore, County Galway; and Martin Bourke, Caherlistrane, County Galway; were tried by military courts-martial on a charge of being in possession, without proper authority, of arms and ammunitions. The five prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to death. The finding and sentences were duly confirmed and the executions carried out in Athlone that morning at eight a.m.’ The five men were members of the anti-Treaty IRA and they were the most recent casualties of Ireland’s Civil War. In this talk, we will explore the circumstances surrounding those executions.

This entry was posted in Lectures and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.