APPENDIX I Methodology and Sources Used to Identify the Social Background of Nationalist Activists in Galway, 1899–1921 - Oxford Scholarship Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Land and RevolutionNationalist Politics in the West of Ireland 1891-1921$

Fergus Campbell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273249

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273249.001.0001

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(p.305) APPENDIX I Methodology and Sources Used to Identify the Social Background of Nationalist Activists in Galway, 1899–1921

(p.305) APPENDIX I Methodology and Sources Used to Identify the Social Background of Nationalist Activists in Galway, 1899–1921

Source:
Land and Revolution
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Throughout this book, I have examined the social composition of various nationalist political movements—the Kennyite and Hallinanite factions in Craughwell (Chapter 4), the members of the Galway secret society and the 1916 rebels (Chapter 5), the United Irish Leaguers and Sinn Féiners in east Galway (Chapter 6), and the south-east Galway IRA (Chapter 6)—and in this Appendix I will briefly describe the methodology and sources used to compile these studies. Broadly speaking, when the names of the members of these movements were identified, a search was made of the manuscript census returns (in 1901 and 1911) and cancelled land valuation books for the relevant district electoral divisions to find information on the social background of political and agrarian activists. In cases where there were two or more persons of the same name in the one electoral division, they were discounted from my study (except in cases where local information could confirm which person was involved in nationalist politics).1 While the personal details of each individual were obtained from censal and land records, the various other political and social affiliations of members of the United Irish League, Sinn Féin, and the Irish Republican Army were also identified from the systematic examination of the local press, police reports, intelligence notes, and private papers.2

(p.306) I

In Chapter 4, I examined the social composition of the ‘Kennyites’, or supporters of Tom Kenny, and the ‘Hallinanites’, who were supporters of Martin Hallinan in Craughwell. I identified the supporters of Tom Kenny from a variety of sources: the members of the Craughwell hurling team, of which Kenny was the captain and leading member;3 the names of persons who were attacked by the Hallinan-ites between November 1910 and November 1911, according to Martin Finnerty's ‘Craughwell diary’;4 the names of persons who were attacked by the Hallinanites, according to the local police;5 and interviews with Gerry Cloonan, a local historian at Craughwell.6 Only those persons who could be identified as Kenny's supporters in at least two of these sources were used to compile this sample of thirty-six. The members of the Hallinanite faction were also identified from a number of sources: a membership list of the reorganized Craughwell United Irish League;7 a membership list of the Craughwell Ratepayers' Association;8 a list of the Craughwell delegates to the south Galway United Irish League executive;9 and interviews with Gerry Cloonan at Craughwell.10 Again, only the twenty-nine persons who could be identified in at least two of these sources were assumed to have been supporters of Martin Hallinan. The population of the Craughwell district electoral division in 1901 was 641,11 and, between 1909 and 1918, 149 persons were reported to be involved in political organizations in the parish, including the UIL, Sinn Féin, the GAA, the Gaelic League, and the Ratepayers' Association.12 This sample of twenty-nine Hallinanites, together with the sample of thirty-six Kennyites, therefore, represents a substantial proportion (44 per cent) of the total number of political activists (149) in Craughwell between 1909 and 1918.

II

The Galway rebels in 1916 were identified by the police as also being members of the ‘Major MacBride’ secret society, and I have used the same sources to examine the social composition of these two movements. ‘While this Riding has for years been the seat of agrarian crime’, the County Inspector for west Galway reported, ‘there was none of it to any extent during the year 1916. This is due to the fact (p.307) that most of the persons who organised and committed agrarian crimes in the past were interned [after the Rising].'13 As far as the police were concerned, ‘The Galway Secret Society … [with its] headquarters … at Craughwell … was at the back of the recent rebellion.’14 If Patrick Callanan is to be believed, police information on the membership of the Galway secret society was also extremely accurate. He told the Bureau of Military History that after agrarian incidents the police only questioned members of the IRB.15 Although there was a great deal of overlap between the members of the secret society and the 1916 rebels, some of the insurgents were probably not involved in the earlier movement, and so my study should be regarded as providing no more than an impression of the membership of the secret society.

After the Rising in Galway, 494 men were arrested and interned for their alleged involvement in the insurrection, and their names were published in the Sinn Féin rebellion handbook (Dublin, 1917).16 More detailed information on the townland addresses of some of them is also contained in the Blazer (Christmas 1987). I identified 211 (43 per cent) of the rebels in the manuscript census returns and land valuation records. It is probable that all of the men who were arrested had been involved in the Rising, since the insurgents mobilized in full view of the police at Athenry, Clarinbridge, and Oranmore, and many of them were proud of their involvement in the insurrection. Martin Newell, for instance, recalled:

When I appeared before the [Royal] Commission [on the Rebellion] I was asked if I took part in the rebellion in Galway. I said ‘Yes’. I was asked if I was armed. I said ‘Yes’. I was then asked who was the leader. I said ‘Liam Mellows’. I was also asked why I had taken up arms. I replied that I thought that my country had a right to be free.17

The police were also confident that they had arrested all of the participants in the Galway rebellion. The County Inspector for west Galway, for instance, observed that ‘All the persons belonging to this Riding known to have taken part in the rebellion (with the exception of two who absconded and could not since be traced) were arrested and conveyed under military escort to Richmond barracks, Dublin.’18 The fact that the number of arrests (494) bears a close resemblance to the rebels’ own estimate that there were ‘over 500 men’ at the Department of Agriculture farm near Athenry suggests that most of the internees probably had been ‘out’ in 1916.19

(p.308) III

In order to assess the level of continuity between the United Irish League and Sinn Féin in Galway, the names of members of the United Irish League (reported in the Connacht Tribune in 1914) were compared with those of Sinn Féiners (named in the Galway Express between October 1917 and October 1918). The Connacht Tribune reported 85 meetings of UIL branches in 61 localities in County Galway in 1914, and named 493 persons who attended those meetings. Between October 1917 and October 1918, the Sinn Féin newspaper in the county, the Galway Express reported 143 meetings of Sinn Féin clubs in 49 localities in the county, and named 339 persons who attended these meetings. Only 11 (3 per cent) of the members of Sinn Féin in 1917–18 had been members of the UIL in 1914.

Whereas Fitzpatrick defines Home Rulers in Clare as the members of both the UIL and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, my study of Home Rulers in Galway focuses on the members of the United Irish League. This methodology has been adopted for three reasons. First, the United Irish League (and not the AOH) was the recognized constituency organization of the IPP in the Irish countryside. Second, the AOH did not advance as rapidly in Connacht as it did elsewhere, primarily due to the opposition of the Roman Catholic hierarchy; and at its height the membership of the AOH was only about one-seventh (15 per cent) of that of the United Irish League in Galway.20 Third, and due to its small membership, AOH meetings were not regularly reported in the nationalist press in Galway, so that it was impossible to examine systematically the continuities between the AOH and Sinn Féin. Even so, there is evidence that there is unlikely to have been a high level of continuity between the members of the AOH and Sinn Féin in Galway. There was great antipathy between the two organizations and where the members of the AOH can be identified, as at Loughrea, they tended to be hard-line Home Rulers who continued to oppose Sinn Féin even after the 1918 general election.21 This suggests that even if the members of the AOH in Galway were included, it is unlikely that they would make a great deal of difference to the amount of continuity between Home Rulers and Sinn Féiners.

Finally, Fitzpatrick also defines the Irish Volunteers (before the split of November 1914) as Home Rulers. I have not, however, included the Irish Volunteers in the ranks of the Home Rule movement in Galway for three reasons. First, most of the founding members of the Irish Volunteers in Galway were prominent Sinn Féiners. Second, the so-called Redmondite takeover of the Irish Volunteers in June 1914 was more cosmetic than real, and in Galway separatists often remained the leading figures in the Volunteers. Third, even if the majority of Irish Volunteers after the Redmondite takeover can be described as Home Rulers, many of (p.309) these men did not continue to support Redmond after his pro-recruiting speech at Woodenbridge on 20 September. Between the beginning of the Great War and the Easter Rising, the membership of the Irish Volunteers (after November 1914, the National Volunteers) declined rapidly and became inactive primarily because of the Volunteers' fear of being conscripted.22 If these men were Redmondites before September 1914, their response to the Woodenbridge speech revealed the limitations of their Redmondism. For these reasons, it is problematic to assume that the Irish Volunteers were unambiguous supporters of Redmond who strengthened the provincial Home Rule movement in 1914.

Although Fitzpatrick first makes the argument for continuity in his chapter on ‘Sinn Féiners’, the statistical evidence used to substantiate this argument is based on continuities between Home Rulers and the more broadly defined ‘Separatists’. While I have examined the continuity between the Home Rule movement and Sinn Féin in Galway, Fitzpatrick analyses the overlap between Home Rulers and ‘Separatists’ or ‘Sinn Féiners, supporters of Count Plunkett or de Valera in 1917, militant critics of the Irish Party, agents of the Irish National Assurance Company, Republican justices and officers of the Irish Volunteers and Fianna Éireann … and those arrested for political offences, April 1916–1921’.23 It may be that the statistical evidence for continuity between the Home Rule movement and Sinn Féin is stronger than that between Home Rulers and ‘Separatists’, but this evidence is not presented in Politics and Irish life. I have confined my analysis to Sinn Féin because I am primarily interested in the continuities between the two political movements, rather than continuities between Home Rulers and the paramilitary Irish Volunteers/Irish Republican Army.

The names of members of the United Irish League24 and Sinn Féin25 in eleven localities in east Galway (Loughrea, Athenry, Ballinasloe, Galway city, Craughwell, Gurteen, New Inn, Kilmeen, Kilchreest, Ardrahan, and Woodford) were identified in the local press and other sources, and then traced in manuscript census returns and cancelled land valuation books. Altogether, ninety-four Sinn Féiners and ninety-nine United Irish Leaguers from these localities were satisfactorily identified in the manuscript census returns of 1901 and 1911, and in the cancelled (p.310) land valuation books. In addition, a further twenty-eight east Galway Sinn Féiners were identified from other sources so that the total quota of Sinn Féiners in the sample is 122.26

As all of the activists contained in this study were the officials (committee members and officers) of United Irish League branches and Sinn Féin clubs, these samples constitute a significant proportion of the total number of nationalist officials in east Galway during this period. In general, both UIL and Sinn Féin branches had five officers (president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and honorary secretary) and fifteen committee members. As there were 43 Sinn Fein branches in east Galway in January 1919, we can assume that there were about 860 officials, so that my sample of 122 represents 14 per cent of the total in the region.27 Similarly, there were 51 United Irish League branches in east Galway in March 1916, and therefore about 1,020 officials, so that my sample of 99 represents 10 per cent of the total.28 The size of my samples suggests that the conclusions presented here are probably applicable to nationalist officials throughout the county.29

IV

In order to examine the social background of Galway IRA members, I used the Bureau of Military History witness statements to compile membership lists of ten IRA companies in the south-east of the county (Athenry, Bullaun, Craughwell, Kilbeacanty, Killeenadeema, Kilmeen, Kinvara, Loughrea, Mullagh, and Skehana) and then searched the 1911 census and land valuation books for these names. As a result, I was able to compile a detailed analysis of the social background of 127 members of the south Galway IRA from a variety of urban and rural backgrounds. This constitutes a significant proportion (18 per cent) of the total membership of the IRA in the east of the county (there were 698 Irish Volunteers or IRA in east Galway in January 1920).30

V

In my examination of activists from farming backgrounds, I have distinguished between four different types of farm: a congested farm, valued at £10 or under; a small farm, valued at between £10 and £20; a middle-sized farm, valued at between £20 and £50; and a large farm, valued at £50 and above. Two of these categories (p.311) were used by contemporaries: the Congested Districts Board defined a farmer with a landholding valued at £10 or under as a congested tenant, and the United Irish League defined a farmer with a landholding valued at over £50 as a grazier (or large farmer).31 I have divided those farmers with more land than congested tenants and less land than graziers into two groups—the small farmers and middle-sized farmers—because they occupied different positions in the agricultural economy.

Notes:

(1) I conducted interviews with the late J. B. Donohoe at Loughrea (22 Nov. 1997), the late Mattie Finnerty at Galway (30 Jan. 1998), Gerry Cloonan at Craughwell (23 Nov. 1997) and Martin Dolphin at Ballinasloe (24 Nov. 1997) to verify local membership lists.

(2) To identify the political and social involvements of each individual, the following sources were systematically examined: the Connacht Tribune, 1909–21; the Galway Express, 1917–18; the County Inspector's monthly police reports for east and west Galway, 1898–1921, PRO CO 904/68–116 and NA IGCI/1–15; the confidential print, 1898–1919, PRO CO 903/8–19; the eighty-nine witness statements and eleven collections of contemporary documents and other ephemera relating to county Galway collected by the Bureau of Military History and held in the Military Archives, Dublin; the Martin Finnerty papers (in possession of Mattie Finnerty, Galway), the William Duffy papers (in possession of Mary Duffy, Loughrea), and the Martin O'Regan papers (in the possession of Patrick Barrett, Loughrea).

(3) Connacht Tribune, 24 Dec. 1910.

(4) Connacht Tribune, 6 Jan. 1912.

(5) CI monthly reports, east Galway, Nov. 1910–Nov. 1911, PRO CO 904/82–5.

(6) Interviews with Gerry Cloonan at Craughwell, 25 Apr., 6 June 1995 and 16 May 1996.

(7) Connacht Tribune, 26 Nov. 1910.

(8) Connacht Tribune, 26 Nov. 1910.

(9) Connacht Tribune, 27 Jan. 1912.

(10) Interviews with Gerry Cloonan at Craughwell, 25 Apr., 6 June 1995 and 16 May 1996.

(11) Census of Ireland, 1901 … vol. iv: province of Connaught: no. 1. County of Galway, HC (1902), [Cd. 1059], cxxviii. 232.

(12) Calculated from the membership lists of these organizations in the Connacht Tribune, 1909–18.

(13) Report on west Galway in 1916, PRO CO 904/120.

(14) CI monthly report, west Galway, July 1916, PRO CO 904/100.

(15) Patrick Callanan witness statement, MA BMH WS 347.

(16) CI monthly reports, east and west Galway, May 1916, PRO CO 904/100.

(17) Martin Newell witness statement, MA BMH WS 1,562.

(18) Report on west Galway in 1916, PRO CO 904/120.

(19) ‘Document from Ailbhe O'Monachain, January 1939’, DGAD.

(20) In January 1916, there were 97 branches of the United Irish League in Galway with 10,107 members, and 27 branches of the Ancient Order of Hibernians with 1,483 members, CI monthly reports, east and west Galway, Jan. 1916, PRO CO 904/99.

(21) William Duffy and Martin Ward were both members of the AOH. Connacht Tribune, 22 Mar. 1919.

(22) See Ch. 5.

(23) Fitzpatrick, Politics and Irish life, 291.

(24) The following sources were used to identify the names of members of the United Irish League in Galway: Connacht Tribune, 19 June, 18 Sept. 1909; 10 Feb., 18 May 1912; 8 Mar., 19 Apr., 7 June, 15 Nov. 1913; 7, 14 Feb., 19 Dec. 1914; 9 Nov., 7 Dec. 1918; and list of names and addresses of the members of the Craughwell United Irish League branch (in 1899), compiled by the police, file on ‘The Craughwell conspiracy’, NA CBS, 1901, 24770/S box 19.

(25) The following sources were used to identify the names of members of Sinn Féin in Galway: Galway Express, 24 Nov., 1 Dec. 1917; 19 Jan., 6, 27 Apr., 22 June, 20 Oct. 1918; Connacht Tribune, 3 Nov. 1917; 23 Mar. 1918; photograph of the members of Loughrea Sinn Féin club (in 1917), including names, Frank Fahy papers (in possession of Michael Fahy, Loughrea); files on interned (1916) rebels, NA CSORP 16627/18; General Prison Board files on men arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act NA GPB DORA, 1917–20, boxes 1–5; Home Office files on internees, 1918–19, PRO HO 144/1496/362269.

(26) Home Office files on internees, 1918–19, PRO HO 144/1496/362269; files on interned 1916 rebels, NA CSORP 16627/18; General Prison Board files on men arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act, NA GPB DORA, 1917–20, boxes 1–5.

(27) CI monthly report, east Galway, Jan. 1919, PRO CO 904/108.

(28) CI monthly report, east Galway, Mar. 1916, PRO CO 904/99.

(29) The figures on occupational groups in Galway in 1911 were calculated from ‘Table XX – Occupations of Males by Ages, Religious Professions, and Education, in the County of Galway’, Census of Ireland, 1911 … county of Galway, HC (1912–13), [Cd. 6052] cxvii. 130–5.

(30) CI monthly report, east Galway, Jan. 1920, PRO CO 904/111.

(31) See Ch. 1.