The Men Will Talk to Me

... to me and asked me if I would see their O/C in Churchill next day. I agreed with this. Next day [5 July 1922] with an escort, Tom Glennon from Belfast and I went to Churchill.60 There we met a mob, instead of talking to one or two.

The Men Will Talk to Me

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.

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