The impact on those who were involved in the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War and subsequently their families and descendants.

The Aftermath

The War Of Independence and The Irish Civil War cast a long shadow on Irish society. This film sets out to explore the impact of both the War Of Independence and the Irish Civil War on those who were involved in County Waterford. The project includes over 30 interviews with descendants of families involved and/or local historians. It examines some of the original events such as The Burgery Ambush, The Siege of Waterford and the escape of anti-treaty IRA men to Canada and the USA. Historical photographs from the period, simple artistic imagery such as cleaning guns, passing dispatches and shadows of men crossing remote areas, evocative scenic imagery of Waterford to help the viewer to interpret difficult part of our history.

Short selection from some of the interviewees

Originally the project set out to explore themes such as: What were the direct and indirect impacts on people in the years following the wars. Was the experience of men different to that of the women involved? Why did people not talk about what happened? Why do some remember and commemorate what happened while others wish to forget about it? What are the thoughts of people in 2023 looking back over the last 100 years? What is the legacy of the 1920’s in 2023?

In in addition to the original objectives the following themes also emerged: The role of church and state, change in attitude towards women in the new state, after the civil war and impact on the big houses and those with a British ancestry. The other key theme to emerge is the willingness of the current generation to take part in this project and to talk about their parents, grandparents and demonstrating a very strong sense of pride in what their ancestors did.

Interview with Ivan Lennon son of Geroge Lennon. George took part in the Burgery Ambush in 1921.

A wide range of perspectives and viewpoints have been captured across the 30 plus interviews. Many descendants describe ancestors who took the anti-treaty side to the conflict and hold strong opinions to the current day. Others describe ancestors who took no further part in conflict after the War of Independence. A few people talk about ancestors who were on the pro-treaty side of the conflict. Despite putting out several calls for interview participants, it has been difficult to get descendants of soldiers who fought on the free state side of the civil war.

Filming in JJ Walsh’s Pub Waterford City.

As of January 2024 over 30 interviews have been filmed. All the material from the interviews has been reviewed and documented. There is now over 20 hours of interview material. Initial selections were made of potential material to be included in the final film. The structure of the film will follow some original details from the War Of Independence and The Civil Wars, followed by what happened to those involved in 1923 and 1924. It will then examine what happens in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It will also explore the legacy of the period on the descendants of those involved. The participants draw on witness statements, personal diaries, pension applications, newspaper articles and oral family history passed down through the generations.

The original objective was to create a 20 minute documentary interviewing perhaps 10 contributors. Due to the big interest and the sheer volume of material the revised objective is to now complete a 70 minute documentary. It has been decided that rather than rush the completion for April, it will now be screened in mid September. This will ensure that the large volume of material will be looked at in detail and ensure high production values. Discussions are also ongoing on how best to share some of the material with the public both before and after the 70 minute documentary is screened.

Short extract from interview with Patrick Morrissey

This project is supported by The Decades Of Centenaries via Waterford City & County Council. It is a difficult and sensitive subject. The aim of the project is to deal with the subject in a sensitive manner and to be inclusive to all. We would like to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in the project or contribute in any way. Email: johnfoley2020@gmail.com

Close Menu