The Men Will Talk to Me: Ernie O’Malley’s Interviews with the Northern Divisions


Síobhra Aiken, Fearghal Mac Bhloscaidh, Liam Ó Duibhir, Diarmuid Ó Tuama (Eds)

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)

Peadar O’Donnell
Joe Sweeney

2nd Northern Division (Tyrone and Derry)

Dr Patrick McCartan
Charlie Daly

3rd Northern Division (North Down and Antrim)

Seamus Woods
Roger McCorley
Tom McNally
Jack ‘Seán’ Leonard

4th Northern Division (Louth, Armagh, Monaghan and South Down)

Michael O’Hanlon
Michael Donnelly
John McCoy
Michael Murney
Patrick McLogan
Frank Aiken

Short Biographical Sketches of Individuals Referenced in Endnotes

The Ernie O’Malley Interviews: Methodology, Chronology,Interviewees by Eve Morrison

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