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Free State troopers during the Irish Civil War Alamy Stock Photo
Fatalities Project

Fewer fatalities in the Civil War than War of Independence, new research suggests

The Irish Civil War Fatalities Project, launched today, lists all of the combatant and civilian fatalities in the Irish Civil War.

THE NUMBER OF people killed in the Irish Civil War was considerably fewer than in the War of Independence, a new research project has suggested. 

The Irish Civil War Fatalities Project, launched today, lists all of the combatant and civilian fatalities in the Irish Civil War. 

The project represents the first systematic attempt to investigate the number of people killed in the conflict. 

The Irish Civil War began on 28 June 1922 and lasted until the ceasefire and dump arms order on 24 May 1923. 

The new project suggests that numbers killed in the Civil War were considerably less than in the War of Independence. 

It says this is mainly due to the lack of deliberate killing of civilians, who were three times more likely to have been killed in the War of Independence than in the Civil War.

It shows the Civil War was more violent, brutal and protracted in counties Kerry, Tipperary and Louth.

The research also suggests a new chronology of the Civil War, contradicting the idea that major combat was over after the first month of the war.

The study of fatalities shows that deaths spiked not only in the opening ‘conventional’ phase of the war, but also in the peak of the guerrilla war in autumn 1922 and again in March 1923 with a concerted series of reprisal killings.

the-battle-of-dublin-the-image-shows-an-explosion-at-the-four-courts-during-the-irish-civil-war-1922 An explosion at the Four Courts in Dublin during the Irish Civil War Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The project includes a searchable and interactive Civil War fatalities map, research findings by Dr Andy Bielenberg and Historian and Research Assistant John Dorney, along with a series of articles by involted scholars contextualising the conflict in local areas. 

“The Irish Civil War was a great national tragedy and left a deep wound in the newly independent State,” Minister for Culture and Arts Catherine Martin said. 

“The significant loss of life and the injury to the fabric of our communities, and many families, were felt for generations, even to this day,” Martin said. 

“By exploration of the impacts and factual history of the war, UCC’s research serves to deepen our appreciation of the challenges faced and sacrifices made by the individuals and families that made those communities – and the University has done so with a very thorough, engaging, innovative & accessible new resource.”

The project was led by University College Cork (UCC) in partnership with RTÉ and the Irish Military Archives. It received funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts. 

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