Ernie O’Malley: The Singing Flame

Ernie O’Malley is an Irish Republican Army (IRA) officer during the Irish War of Independence and a commander of the anti-treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War.

His vision for Ireland was that of a sovereign island nation, unfettered to pursue its own domestic and foreign policy and nurture its own unique cultural identity.

He is a medical student at University College Dublin at Easter 1916 and fights on the periphery of the General Post Office.

He works as a full-time organiser for the IRA from 1918, commands the Second Southern Division, is captured in December 1920 but escapes in February 1921 without having revealed his true identity.

Strongly anti-Treaty, he fights in the Four Courts and is among the last to vacate the building, directing the garrison’s surrender. He is Director of Organisation and Acting Assistant Chief of Staff for the anti-Treaty forces and is captured in November 1922.

He is one of the last prisoners to be released in July 1924 after an imprisonment that includes a forty-one day hunger strike and his election as Sinn Féin TD for North Dublin in the 1923 general election.

Much of the rest of his life is taken up with travelling, journalism and broadcasting; and with recording the experiences of former colleagues in a series of interviews, which form the O’Malley Notebooks.

On Another Man’s Wound, his account of the War of Independence, is published in 1936; The Singing Flame, dealing with the Civil War, is published posthumously in 1978; and Raids and Rallies which originally appears in the Sunday Press in 1955, is published in 1982.

For an image of Ernie O’Malley, see Brian Gallagher:






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