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26 August 1922: The killing of Seán Coyle and Alf Colley

Read Brian Hanley’s essay on State Terror on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland, we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Brian Hanley and it covers the killing of Seán Coyle and Alf Colley.

Dublin on Saturday, 26 August 1922 was a city in mourning. In City Hall thousands filed past the body of Michael Collins, killed just three days before. In Marino, to the north of the city centre, however, a group of young men had gathered to reorganise the anti-Treaty Fianna in the city. Twenty-one-year-old Alfred (Alf ) Colley had brought along two revolvers for instruction purposes. After the meeting, Colley, a tinsmith, and his nineteen-year-old comrade Seán Cole, who had just completed his electrical apprenticeship, walked home to the inner city together. At Newcomen Bridge near North Strand they were stopped at a checkpoint operated by men wearing a mix of National Army uniforms and plainclothes.1 After a search the revolvers were found and witnesses saw the two men bundled into a Ford car and driven off. Their bodies were left dumped at the Yellow Lane, near Whitehall. Witnesses, including a British soldier, had seen them struggling with the men before being shot. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.


Ireland 1922