The Men Will Talk to Me is a collection of interviews conducted and recorded by famed Irish republican revolutionary Ernie O’Malley during the 1940s and 1950s. The interviews were carried out with survivors of the four Northern Divisions of the IRA, chief among them Frank Aiken, Peadar O’Donnell and Paddy McLogan, who offer fascinating insights into Ulster’s centrality in the War of Independence and the slide towards Civil War.
The title refers to the implicit trust that shadows these interviews, earned through Ernie O’Malley’s reputation as a fearsome military commander in the revolutionary movement – the veterans interviewed divulge details to O’Malley which they wouldn’t have disclosed to even their closest family members. Startlingly direct, the issues covered include the mobilization of the Dundalk Volunteers for the 1916 Rising, the events of Bloody Sunday (1920), the Belfast Pogroms, and the planning of historical escapes from the Curragh and Kilkenny Gaol.
The Men Will Talk to Me is an insightful and painstaking reflection of the horror of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War; in words resolute and faltering, the physical and psychological debts of the revolutionary mindset – those of hardened Pro- and Anti-Treaty veterans – are fiercely apparent.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Fearghal Mac Bhloscaidh
1st Northern Division (Donegal and Derry City)
2nd Northern Division (Tyrone and Derry)
Dr Patrick McCartan
3rd Northern Division (North Down and Antrim)
Jack ‘Seán’ Leonard
4th Northern Division (Louth, Armagh, Monaghan and South Down)
Short Biographical Sketches of Individuals Referenced in Endnotes
The Ernie O’Malley Interviews: Methodology, Chronology,Interviewees by Eve Morrison
About the Editors
Síobhra Aiken is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, focusing on literary narratives of the Irish Civil War. She was formerly a Fulbright Scholar and is the great-granddaughter of Frank Aiken.
Fearghal Mac Bhloscaidh is the author of Fenians and Ribbonmen (2011) and The Irish Revolution: Tyrone 1912–23 (2014). He teaches in Coláiste Feirste and at St Mary’s University College, Belfast.
Liam Ó Duibhir is the author of Prisoners of War: Ballykinlar Interment Camp, 1920–1921 (2013), Donegal & the Irish Civil War: The Untold Story (2011) and The Donegal Awakening: Donegal and the War of Independence (2010).
Diarmuid Ó Tuama is a former Principal of the first Gaelscoil in the north, Bunscoil Phobal Feirste, and author of Cogadh na gCarad (Ó Chonradh go Saorstát).