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The I.R.A. and its EnemiesViolence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923$
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Peter Hart

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208068.001.0001

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The Boys of Kilmichael

The Boys of Kilmichael

(p.129) 6 The Boys of Kilmichael
The I.R.A. and its Enemies

Peter Hart

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the ‘boys of Kilmichael’, examining what kind of men were they and what sort of Ireland they represented. The song ‘The Boys of Kilmichael’ was already a popular favourite by the time of the Truce. The English policemen considered the Kilmichael men to be dirty, and despised them for what they believed to have been an act of savage butchery. To the boys, the Auxies were the ‘terrorists’, killers without mercy. Most of the Kilmichael men joined the movement in 1917 when they were still teenagers. They were wanted men even before the November 28 ambush, forced out of their homes, and on the run for months and even years. Tom Barry may have made them victors and killers, but years of hardship, experience, and a mingled sense of purpose brought them together.

Keywords:   flying column, Tom Barry, Kilmichael, Paddy O'Brien, ambush

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