1922 – Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor, Joseph McKelvey and Richard Barrett, Irish patriots – one from each of the four provinces – are executed by the Free State forces.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

It was just one more harrowing chapter in a vicious civil war fought between erstwhile friends. Just one year and two days after Ireland achieved a level of independence, four of the men who fought in the War of Independence against British forces were executed by Irish government edict.

On the evening of 7 December, in Mounjoy Gaol, Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor, Joe McKelvey and Richard Barrett, received a notice that they would be executed the following morning. The chilling quality of the announcement has survived the years.

‘You ______ are hereby notified that, being a person taken in arms against the Government, you will be executed at 8 a.m. on Friday 8th December as a reprisal for the assassination of Brigadier Sean Hales T.D. in Dublin on the 7th December, on his way to a meeting of Dáil Éireann and as a solemn warning to those associated (with) you…

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