September 1921



A teenager, Walter Campbell, is killed in the Shankill Rd area of Belfast by a sniper.  However, city quiets down for a couple of weeks.

Parkinson (2004), pg 148 & 156


RC Bishop of Down and Connor (Dr McRory) writes to the American Committee of Relief saying that things were going from bad to worst in his diocese.  Many delegations from Belfast go to Dublin to explain to Dáil Eireann how terrible would be their future if the Dáil’s negotiators accepted terms which would leave them at the mercy of the Northern Government.

Macardle (1999), pg 541


Replying to Brugha’s critical letter of the July 30th, Mulcahy focusses on the tone of the letter saying that unless something could be done to “eliminate the tendency to revert to this tone when differences arise” then he could not be responsible for maintaining “harmony and discipline”.  See September 6th.

Townshend (2014), pg 326


Large meeting in Armagh addressed by Michael Collins and Eoin O’Duffy.  10,000 at meeting including large force of IRA men.  Collins speech was conciliatory towards unionists but O’Duffy threatened to “if necessary, to use the lead on them”.  For his remarks, O’Duffy removed as Northern Truce Liaison Officer and replaced by Frank Crummey.

Phoenix (1994), pg 147; McDermott (2001), pgs 116-117; Lawlor (2011), pgs 192-195


Responding to Mulcahy’s letter of September 2nd, Brugha writes a blistering reply bringing up a number of festering issues between himself and Mulcahy/Collins.  He started by criticising the length of time that that Mulcahy took to reply (nearly five weeks), then refers to the fact that, even though he (Brugha) had appointed Austen Stack as Deputy Chief of staff some months previously, Stack had not been invited to GHQ staff meetings.  He then went on to criticise Mulcahy’s credentials as IRA Chief of Staff saying that it was scarcely necessary to remind him of “your inability to maintain harmony and discipline among the Staff” since “your shortcomings in that respect … have been quite apparent for a considerable time”.  He added “Before you are very much older, my friend, I shall show you that I have little intention of taking dictation from you as to how I should reprove inefficiency and negligence on the part of yourself or the D/I [Director of Intelligence i.e. Collins]”.  See September 12th.

Townshend (2014), pg 327


British cabinet meets in Inverness to discuss de Valera’s letter of the 30th Aug. Discussion centres on conditional (Crown and Empire) or unconditional conference - decide on latter (but implicitly on Crown and Empire).  Lloyd George replies to de Valera saying that further correspondence was futile and asks if Sinn Féin would agree to a conference whose purpose was "to ascertain how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish national aspirations."  Full text of letter in Macardle. 

With regard to Fermanagh and Tyrone, Llyod George acknowledges that his government has a very weak case on the issue of “forcing these two counties against their will” and goes onto say “men will die for Throne and Empire.  I do not know who will die for Fermanagh and Tyrone.”

Curran J M (1980), pg 70; Macardle (1999), pgs 511-513; Phoenix (1994), pg 146; McCluskey (2014), pg 111


Over 60 internees escape from the Rath Camp on the Curragh by constructing a tunnel. None of the escapees were recaptured.

Durney (2013), pgs 172-177; O’Callaghan (2012), pgs 124-134


The owners of the (British owned) hosiery factory in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, which was burnt by the RIC in the ‘Sack of Balbriggan’ (see September 20th 1920) had put in a claim for £62,000 with Dublin City Council, which would have to be paid by Dublin rate payers. William Cosgrave (Minister for Local Government in the Dáil Cabinet) said there was no question of the council paying the claim and added “The people of Ireland are not merely to have their throats cut [by the British], they are to be charged for the knife”

Garvin (1996), pg 71


De Valera receives joint Nationalist-Sinn Féin delegation from Down who expressed anxiety at partitionist settlement being reached.  Further delegations came from Derry, Antrim, Belfast and the Glens.  One member of the Belfast delegation, Councillor James Baird (Protestant trade unionist and expelled workers’ representative) said that “partition would place power in the hands of those responsible for the pogroms”,

Phoenix (1994), pg 148


Collins claims that 1,700 men were still interned while a further 1,500 serving sentences.  (40 of these were women.)  Men were still being sentenced.

Macardle (1999), pg 541


De Valera accepts Llyod George’s offer of a conference but explicitly on Irish independence saying that "Our nation has formally declared its independence and recognised itself as a sovereign state." Full text of letter in Macardle. 

Curran J M (1980), pg 71; Macardle (1999), pgs 513-514; Gallagher (1953), pg 316


Following up his letter of September 6th, Brugha writes to Mulcahy saying that unless he produced a full dossier on the case of the man wrongly deported (see 30th July) within twenty-four hours then he would be suspended.  Brugha writes next day to Mulcahy saying that his services would no longer be required.  Mulcahy forwards the correspondence to de Valera asking him to “estimate and adjust the situation without delay”.  De Valera managed to calm the situation and Mulcahy was re-instated.

Robert Barton said that Collins “bore resentment to de Valera for the impartial attitude he adopted regarding this quarrel”. A member of GHQ, Fintan Murphy, thought that, on the GHQ staff, the majority would side with Collins as they were “all IRB”.  Sean Dowling thought that Brugha’s dislike of Collins came from an envy of Collins’s ability saying that Brugha “hated Collins like poison – it was pathological”. 

It is extremely difficult to get clarity on the origin of the Brugha vs Collins enmity as the memory of those who were privy to it was clouded by the bitter divisions that were to happen the following year.  However, commenting on Brugha’s hatred for Collins, Townshend says that by the outbreak of the Civil Way “whatever its origins, it had become a paranoid obsession”. 

Townshend (2014), pg 327-328


The body of RIC Sergeant John Greene is found in a laneway in Waterford City.  Sergeant Greene was giving information to the IRA and they suspected that he might have been killed by his colleagues. However, both Abbott and McCarthy think that it was more likely to be suicide.

Abbott (2000), pg 316, McCarthy (2015), pg 83


Harry Boland and Joseph McGrath arrive in Gairloch in Scotland with de Valera’s letter. Llyod George did not accept it (he offered to consider it undelivered).  He sends a telegram de Valera saying that accepting it would have meant recognition of Ireland as a sovereign state.  Text of his telegram to de Valera given in Macardle.  Letters from both sides published to consternation on the British side.  Llyod George calls cabinet meeting at Inverness to discuss crisis. 

Macardle (1999), pgs 515-516; Gallagher (1953), pgs 316-318; Brennan (1950), pgs 315-119


Dáil cabinet meets to appoint delegation to conference. De Valera announces he will not go and is supported by Brugha, Stack and Barton and opposed by Griffith, Collins and Cosgrave. De Valera’s own casting vote wins it.  (Macardle says that Griffith supported de Valera’s decision not to go.)  The delegation is as follows:

Arthur Griffith - chair

Michael Collins (who strongly objected)

Robert Barton

Eammon Duggan - lawyer

George Gavan Duffy - lawyer

In addition, there are four secretaries to the delegation:

Erskine Childers

John Chartres

Diarmuid O'Hegarty

Finian Lynch

(See Macardle and Gallagher for de Valera’s reasons for not going.)

Curran J M (1980), pg 74; Macardle (1999), pgs 526-528; Gallagher (1953), pg 322



Dáil approves delegation with Collins again protesting.  Dáil gives delegation plenipotentiary status.  However, on October 7th, Cabinet instructions given to delegates before they leave state that all major decisions and final text of Treaty have to referred back to Irish cabinet in Dublin.  (See Macardle for text of both the delegation’s credentials and the cabinet instructions.  As the cabinet could not limit powers conferred by Dáil these instructions were nothing more than suggested guidelines and, in this sense, Griffith accepted them.)  See October 7th.

Curran J M (1980), pg 77-78; Macardle (1999), pg 528


Dáil cabinet approves the reconstitution of the IRA.  (According to Townshend, sometime around this time, the Volunteer Executive met for the last time to liquidate itself and terminate the status of the Volunteers as an independent organisation.)  See November 16th.  

Townshend (2014), pg 329

Sep-15 to 18

Further riots in Belfast in the North Queen St area.  Two Protestants, Maggie Ardis and Evelyn Blair – both 22 years old – are killed by a sniper in Vere St. on the 18th.

Parkinson (2004), pg 149


Members of the newly re-organised UVF attack a group of IRA men outside Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.  One IRA man is wounded and 25 are taken prisoner.  This is one of a number of attacks, on the IRA and nationalists, by the re-organised UVF in the area during this period.

McCluskey (2014), pg 108


De Valera replies to Llyod George’s telegram.

Macardle (1999), pgs 518-524;


RIC Constable Thomas Shevlin commits suicide.

Abbott (2019), pg 412


Llyod George replies saying that “My colleagues and I cannot meet them [the Irish delegates] as the representatives of a sovereign and independent State without disloyalty on our part to the Throne and Empire.  I therefore must repeat that unless the second paragraph in your letter of the 12th is withdrawn conference between us is impossible”.  De Valera replies on the 19th asking “is [your] letter intended to be a demand for a surrender on our part or an invitation to a Conference free on both sides”. 

Gallagher (1953), pgs 319-321


Charles Wickham, RIC Divisional Commander in Northern Ireland writes to Dublin Castle complaining about IRA breaches of the Truce (parading, drilling, training, etc).  He said unionists could not understand the open preparations for hostilities by a rebel organisation in an area with “its own elected Government … against which these preparations are primarily directed”. 

McCluskey (2014), pg 107


NI Government press for re-introduction of Specials. 

McDermott (2001), pg 119


Todd Andrews is sent by Emmet Dalton in IRA GHQ to deliver a two-week training to the officers of the 1st Donegal Brigade in Dungloe. He then goes on to deliver a training course to the 2nd Donegal Brigade between the 3rd and 8th October at Breenagh, outside Letterkenny.  There was a separate training camp around this time for the Donegal No. 3 Brigade.

Ó Duibhir (2011), pgs 27-31


During rioting on the Newtownards Rd. in Belfast a Protestant, Samuel Robinson (53) is crushed by a military vehicle.

Parkinson (2004), pg 149


O/C West Limerick Brigade IRA issues a dispatch to his battalion commanders saying that the Truce is drawing to a close and all men should be in close touch with their officers.

Harnett (2002), pg 120


Speaking in Dundee, Churchill says that if the rejection of the British offer by the Irish was final “our course would be very unpleasant, but it would also be very simple … Not peace, but certain war – real war, not mere bushranging would follow such a course”

Gallagher (1953), pg 320


Rioting breaks out in the Newtownards Rd area of Belfast. A bomb is thrown at a loyalist mob advancing towards the Short Strand killing two teenagers – James McMinn and Alexander Harrison – and injuring over 20.

Parkinson (2004), pg 149


An IRA man, Murtagh McAstocker, is attacked, beaten and killed by a loyalist crowd in Seaforde St. in Belfast.  (UPA man, Thomas Pentland was later acquitted of McAstocker’s murder – he claimed that he was going to the dying man’s assistance.)  Also, in the Short Strand area, Eliza Kelly (34) is killed by a stray police bullet as she is sitting in her home.  George Berry – a 26-year-old Protestant – receives fatal wounds when a bomb is thrown into his home on the Shore Rd. 

Parkinson (2004), pgs 150 & 350


Two men, William Hayes and John Renehan, are arrested by the Republican Police and taken to the village of Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny.  They are tied to the railings of the local church as people are arriving for mass.  They were accused of stealing for a public house in Bennettsbridge.

Walsh (2018), pg 134


Republican snipers shoot at mourners attending the McMinn and Harrison funeral – see Sep 24 – killing John Orr (32) and wounding three others.

Parkinson (2004), pg 151


Llyod George replies to de Valera saying that since he could not enter into a conference on the basis of the correspondence to date that they start over again.  “We therefore send you herewith a fresh invitation to a Conference in London on the 11th October, where we can meet your delegates as spokesmen of the people whom you represent with a view to ascertaining how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire may best reconciled with Irish national aspirations”.  De Valera replied accepting this later offer on the basis that “Our respective positions have been stated and understood”.


Gallagher (1953), pgs 120-121


Labourers employed by Kilkenny Corporation go on strike.  The strike lasts ten weeks and is eventually settled by arbitration (with the O/C of the Kilkenny Brigade of the IRA, George O’Dwyer, being one of the arbitrators).  The strikers go back to work at their original rate of pay; they get no increase and little back pay.

Walsh (2018), pg 132


Also in September 1921, some 530 employees of Castlecomer Collieries go on strike.  On the 24th September, the general manager and assistant manager are kidnapped by armed and masked men and held captive for two months.  The strike was settled before Christmas with little success for the miners.

Walsh (2018), pgs 132-133


Two IRA GHQ officers, McNeill and Chadwick are sent to Mayo in August to investigate a serious split in the East Mayo Brigade.  This split has started in the summer of 1920, when the captain of the Kiltimagh company, Thomas Ruane and another IRA man Johnny Walsh, ordered the seizing of barrels of petrol from the local railway.  Sean Corcoran, then O/C East Mayo Brigade, ordered that the petrol be returned.  Ruane refused and he was subsequently court martialled.  This led to the dismissal of Ruane and Walsh from the IRA.  Another dispute arose when Eamon Corbett (from south Galway but operating in East Mayo) accused Joe Sheedy, Adjutant of the East Mayo Brigade of cowardice saying that he had an assurance from the local RIC in Kiltimagh that locals would not be interfered with if there were no operations carried out by the IRA.

Sheedy was court martialled and removed from the IRA.  (Corbett assigned as transport officer in the  1st Western Division.) Ruane requested to be reinstated but McNeill and Chadwick recommended against this.  (They did mention that an ex-RIC constable, Tom Carney, was training the IRA in grenades and musketry.) – See 11th October

Price (2012), pgs 181-183


In his monthly report, RIC County Inspector for Waterford (Cornelius O’Beirne) made the following prescient statement “It is certain that the government offer has sown serious dissension in the ranks of Sinn Féin and if the gunmen decide to fight on the issue of an independent republic, they will become unpleasantly aware of this cleavage”.

He also warned of a probable clash between the ITGWU and Sinn Féin.

McCarthy (2015), pg 90

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