THE DYING DAYS film is set in the early months of 1923 and literally follows the dying days of the Irish Civil War. The documentary traces the journey taken by General Liam Lynch in early 1923. The idea for the Liam Lynch film came to me after hearing Michael Desmond deliver a presentation at Waterford County Museum in Dungarvan in 2016. Michael spoke about the IRA Executive Meeting that took place in the Nire Valley in 1923. Liam Lynch was born in Anglesboro Co Limerick in 1893. The early life experiences of Lynch give us an insight to what drives him on during the Civil War. Following an amount of background information about Lynch himself and the civil war, the film then focuses on the actual journey, with Lynch coming down from Dublin to meet with his commanders in West Cork in February 1923. The Cork commanders are not happy and demand that a meeting of the full IRA Executive be held as soon as possible.
After staying for a few weeks in Lehanes of Gortín Fliuch, outside Ballingeary Lynch sets out for the executive meeting in County Waterford. Lynch meets with the other leaders of the the army council at the executive meeting in March 1923 at Bliantas. Due to free state troop activity in the area, the meeting is moved to a more remote spot in the Nire Valley. Several of the executive members are in favor of ending what is now just a guerrilla war. There were five votes against continuing the fight and five votes in favour of continuing the fight, The casting vote of Lynch resulted in the decision to carry on fighting. A follow on meeting was scheduled to take place in Araglin on the 10th of April.
While en route to the meeting in Araglin the Free State Army was closing in on Lynch and his men. On the morning of the 10th of April, they have a narrow escape at the base of the Knockmealdown mountains by climbing a ravine that takes them high in the mountains. When they exit the ravine on to open mountainside Lynch is shot. His colleagues try to carry him but they have no option but to take his side arm and important documents and leave him behind.
The title The Dying Days is very apt here. The Free State Army bring him down to Nugent’s pub in Newcastle where he has an emotional conversation with Free State commander Lt Clancy. Both of them had fought on the same side against the Crown Forces during the War Of Independence and now they are lamenting that it has come to such a sorry ending. Lynch is transported to Clonmel and dies in hospital there, shortly before nine o’clock that night. His death effectively ended the Irish Civil War.
The Dying Days film title draws on three themes: the tit for tat killing on both sides, the dying days of the civil war, and ultimately the death of Lynch himself.