1923 – Denis ‘Dinny’ Lacey is killed in the Glen of Aherlow, Co Tipperary by Free State Soldiers.

Fuair siad bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann.

Dennis ‘Dinny’ Lacey (known as the toughest leader) was an Irish Republican Army officer during the Irish War of Independence and anti-Treaty IRA officer during the Irish Civil War. Lacey was born in 1890 in a village called Attybrack, near Annacarty, Co Tipperary.

He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1914. He was introduced to the IRB by Seán Treacy. During the War of Independence (1919–1921) he was selected to command an IRA flying column of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade, in September 1920. The flying column mounted two successful ambushes of British forces – killing six British soldiers at Thomastown near Golden, Co Tipperary, and four Royal Irish Constabulary men at Lisnagaul in the Glen of Aherlow.

In April 1921, following another ambush of British troops near Clogheen, he captured RIC inspector Gilbert Potter, whom he later executed in reprisal of the British hanging of republican prisoners.

In December 1921, his unit split over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Lacey opposed the Treaty and most of his men followed suit. He later commanded the anti-Treaty IRA’s Second Southern Division.

In the ensuing civil war (June 1922-May 1923), he organised guerrilla activity in north Co Tipperary against Irish Free State (pro-Treaty) forces. He was killed in an action with Free State troops at Ballydavid, near Bansha in the Glen of Aherlow on 18 February 1923. Over 1,000 Free State troops, under the command of General John T. Prout, with the intention of breaking up his guerrilla unit, converged on the Glen where he and four other men from his column were billeted. Lacey and Paddy Mc Donagh (who died the following day) were killed and others captured. Two National Army soldiers were killed in the action.

A memorial in Annacarty commemorates Lacey’s war service and subsequent death in action.

“It was England gave the orders and England gave the guns
and Cosgrave dyed the khaki green to kill our gallant sons
they spilt their blood upon the grass and thought it no disgrace
when they murdered Dinny Lacey the noblest of our race”

Suggested reading: “Brigadier Dinny Lacey 1890-1923 By The Men Who Knew Him” by Martin O’Dwyer, Published by the Folk Village in 2007, 313 pages: Available at: http://www.coolfinbooks.ie/home.html

‘The Galtee Mountain Boy’
(Patsy Halloran)

I joined the Flying Column in 1916
In Cork with Seán Moylan, In Tipperary with Dan Breen
Arrested by Free Staters and sentenced .. to die
Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee Mountain Boy
We went across the valleys and over the hilltops green
Where we met with Dinny Lacey, Seán Hogan and Dan Breen
Seán Moylan and his gallant men they kept the flag flying
Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee Mountain Boy
We tracked the Dublin mountains we were rebels on the run
Though hunted night and morning we were outlawed but free
We tracked the Wicklow mountains as the sun was shining
Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee Mountain Boy
I’m bidding farewell to old Clonmel that I never more
will see
And to the Galtee mountains that oft times sheltered me
To the men who fought for their liberty and died without
a sigh
May the cause be ne’er forgotten said the Galtee Mountain

Photo: Dinny Lacey is buried in the Republican plot, 3rd Tipperary Brigade, Memorial in Saint Michaels Cemetery, Tipperary town


Posted by

Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.