September 1921


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

Parkinson (2004), pg 148 & 156; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 527


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 Ēireann how terrible would be their future if the Dáil’s negotiators accepted terms which would leave them at the mercy of the Northern Government.

See also Sep-11-21/1.


Macardle (1999), pg 541


Replying to Brugha’s highly critical letter of July 30th, (see Jul-30-21/1) 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 Sep-06-21/1.


Townshend (2014), pg 326


BA soldier, Jack Radford, is killed in an accidental shooting in Kilbride Camp in Co. Wicklow.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 556


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 is removed as Northern Truce Liaison Officer and replaced by Frank Crummey.

An IRA man, John Quigley, is killed on his way home from this meeting.


Phoenix (1994), pg 147; McDermott (2001), pgs 116-117; Lawlor (2011), pgs 192-195; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 528


Responding to Mulcahy’s letter of September 2nd, (Sep-02-21/2) Brugha writes a blistering reply bringing up a number of festering issues between himself and Mulcahy/Collins. 

He starts 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 performance 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 Sep-12-21/2.


Townshend (2014), pg 327


British cabinet meets in the Town Hall in Inverness in Scotland (Llyod George as on holidays in Gairloch on the west coast of Scotland) to discuss de Valera’s letter of August 30th.  Discussion centres on conditional (Crown and Empire) or unconditional conference. 

According to Boyce, “The British government had to weigh two main considerations in deciding its course of action.  If de Valera were offered an unconditional conference, it would enable him to make concessions privately that he dared not make in public; but it was feared that such an offer might damage British prestige in Ireland, India and in Europe”.

It decides on an unconditional conference (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, starting on October 11th, 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."  Fanning says that this formula opened the door for negotiations.  Full text of letter Llyod George’s letter in Macardle


When discussing 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.” He continued “If the Conference broke down on the determination to retain these two Counties within the area of the Northern Parliament, the issue thus raised would be one far less favourable to us then if the break came on the refusal to accept British Sovereignty and Empire.  It would not be possible to unite public opinion in support of the maintenance of the two Counties within political Ulster”. 

Llyod George told his cabinet colleagues, with regard his negotiations with de Valera that “I was greatly relieved to go through the conversations with him without Fermanagh and Tyrone being mentioned. He was an unskilful negotiator but you cannot always count on his being maladroit”.

Llyod George did not want a break on Fermanagh and Tyrone but on Crown and Empire (because, if war resumed, the only way that he could garner support in England would be if the Irish broke on Crown and Empire).

See Sep-09-21/3.


Curran J M (1980), pg 70; Macardle (1999), pgs 511-513; Phoenix (1994), pg 146; McCluskey (2014), pg 111; Fanning (2013), pgs 269-270; Matthews (2004), pg 42; Boyce (1972), pg 151 & 155; Kenny (2021), pgs 65-66; Pakenham (1967), pg 77



Private Dawson of the BA’s Essex Regiment is captured by the IRA in West Cork.  He escapes on September 10th.

Sheehan (2017), pg 161


A young member of Fianna Éireann, Michael O’Brien, is accidently shot during a training exercise in Killester in Dublin and later dies in the Mater Hospital.


O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 528


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 Sep-20-20/1) 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


Dáil cabinet agrees on a reply to Llyod George’s letter of September 7th which simply reiterated his formula but explicitly on Irish independence – see Sep-12-21/1) 

Cabinet also agrees their negotiating team.  As he had said to the Dáil, de Valera continues to insist that he will not going as a member of the negotiating team because he was in a position of head of state as well as head of the government and that his absence would be a good reason for the Irish delegates making no hasty agreements in London.

He 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 but this is not confirmed by Pakenham.)

See Sep-14-21/1 for the Irish negotiating team.


Fanning (2013), pgs 270-271; Macardle (1999), pgs 526-528; Pakenham (1967), pgs 83-84


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 with a further 1,500 serving sentences.  (40 of these were women.)  Men were still being sentenced.


Macardle (1999), pg 541


De Valera sends letter to Llyod George accepting his 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" and were only entering into negotiations “only as the representatives of that State”.  Full text of letter given in Macardle.

See Sep-13-21/1.

Curran J M (1980), pg 71; Macardle (1999), pgs 513-514; Gallagher (1953), pg 316; Fanning (2013), pg 271


Brugha vs Mulcahy/Collins

Following up his letter of September 6th (see Sep-06-21/1), Brugha writes to Mulcahy saying that unless he produced a full dossier on the case of the man wrongly deported (see Jul-30-21/1) 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 is re-instated.

More Detail


Townshend (2014), pg 327-328; Pakenham (1967), pgs 81-83


The body of RIC Sergeant John Greene is found in a laneway in Waterford City.  Sergeant Greene had given information to the IRA.

Two veterans of the East Waterford Brigade, IRA 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; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 528-529


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.  De Valera replies on September 16th – see Sep-16-21/1.

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


Having received no response to his memo of June 29th (See Jun-29-21/1), Macready again writes to Wilson outlining the steps he proposed be taken in the event of the breakdown of negotiations and martial law be declared.  He asks that for authorisation for these proposals. 

See Oct-17-21/3



Second Session of the Second Dáil – One Day Session

The main purpose of this meeting was to approve delegation to negotiating conference.  The delegation approved is as follows:

Arthur Griffith - chair

Michael Collins 

Robert Barton

Eammon Duggan - lawyer

George Gavan Duffy - lawyer

In addition, there are two leading secretaries to the delegation:

Erskine Childers

John Chartres

And two assistant secretaries:

Dermot (or Diarmuid) O'Hegarty

Finian (or Fionán) Lynch.

In addition, there were four ‘lady secretaries’:

Kathleen McKenna

Ellie and Alice Lyons

Lily O’Brennan


Also, part of the delegation was Desmond Fitzgerald whose job was to handle publicity.


De Valera tells the Dáil that “Negotiations were necessary because we held one view and the British another”.

Dáil gives the delegation plenipotentiary status.  The Credentials for the Delegation, passed by the Dáil, constituted the delegates as “Envoys Plenipotentiary from the elected Government of the Republic in Ireland to negotiate and conclude with the representatives of His Britannic Majesty George V a Treaty or Treaties of association and accommodation between Ireland and the Community of Nations known as the British Commonwealth”.

However, on October 7th, the Cabinet gives the delegates instructions before they leave stating 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.) See Oct-07-21/1.

(De Valera’s decision to not be part of the negotiating team has given rise to a lot of controversy.  See Macardle and Gallagher for de Valera’s reasons for not going – see also Kenny.)


The Proceedings of the Second Session of the Second Dáil are available here:

The Third Session of the Second Dáil started on December 14th 1921 - see Dec-14-21/3.


Curran J M (1980), pgs 74-78; Macardle (1999), pgs 526-528; Gallagher (1953), pg 322; Fanning (2013), pg 274; Pakenham (1967), pgs 102-103; Kenny (2021), pgs 32-38





Two-year old, John McNally, is hit and killed by an RIC vehicle outside his home in Adavoyle, Co. Armagh.  An inquest exonerates the driver, Constable John Richardson. 

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 529


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 Nov-16-21/3.


Townshend (2014), pg 329

Sep-15 to 18-21/1

Further riots in Belfast in the North Queen St area. 

Two Protestants, Maggie Ardis (19 or 22) and Evelyn Blair (22) are killed by a sniper in Vere St. on September 18th.  A neighbour of Blair’s, Francis Corr, is later charged with both these killings.


Parkinson (2004), pg 149; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 529


Members of the newly re-organised UVF (see Aug-31-21/2) 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 of September 13th (see Sep-13-21/1) saying “Throughout the correspondence that has taken place you have defined your Government’s position.  We have defined ours.  … it there is to be any result, the negotiators must meet without prejudice and untrammelled by any conditions whatsoever”.

Llyod George replies on September 18th –see Sep-18-21/1.


Macardle (1999), pg 518


RIC Constable Thomas Shevlin commits suicide in Ballyclare RIC Barracks in Co. Antrim.

Abbott (2019), pg 412; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 529


Llyod George replies to de Valera’s telegram of September 16th 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 September 19th – see Sep-19-21/3.


Gallagher (1953), pgs 319-321; Macardle (1999),pgs 520-521


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


RIC Constable Joseph Rumney from Durham in England commits suicide in the RIC Barracks in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary.


O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 529


De Valera replies to Llyod George saying “We had no thought at any time of asking you to accept any conditions precedent to a Conference.”

He goes on to say “If you seek to impose preliminary conditions, which we must regard as involving a surrender of our whole position, they [the Conference] cannot meet” and then asks Llyod George to state whether his “letter of September 7th is intended to demand intended to be a demand for a surrender on our part or an invitation to a Conference free on both sides”. 

See Sep-29 to 30-21/1.


Macardle (1999), pgs 521-522


NI Government presses the British Government for re-introduction of Specials. 

McDermott (2001), pg 119


Todd Andrews is sent by Emmet Dalton from IRA GHQ to deliver a two-week training to the officers of the Donegal No. 1 Brigade in Dungloe. He then goes on to deliver a training course to Donegal No. 2 Brigade between October 3rd and 8th 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 BA vehicle.

Parkinson (2004), pg 149; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 529-530


Private Walter Rennie of the BA’s Gordon Highlanders is accidently shot and dies later in Maryborough Hospital in Co. Laois.


O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 530


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 in Scotland, 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”.

One main reason for the British side for seeking a settlement in Ireland can be seen later in Churchill’s speech when he said that with “a lasting settlement in Ireland … would be removed the greatest obstacle which has ever existed to Anglo-American unity”.


Gallagher (1953), pg 320; Macardle (1999), pg 522


Rioting breaks out in the Newtownards Rd area of Belfast. A bomb is thrown at a loyalist mob advancing towards the Short Strand.

The bomb kills two Protestant teenagers – James McMinn and Alexander Harrison – and injures over 20.


Parkinson (2004), pg 149; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 530


An IRA man, Murtagh McAstocker, is attacked, beaten and killed by a loyalist mob 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, Catholic Eliza Kelly (32 or 34) is killed by a stray bullet fired by an RIC man as she is sitting in her home.  

In addition, George Berry – a 26-year-old Protestant – receives fatal wounds when a bomb is thrown into his home on the Shore Rd.  He dies on October 10th.


Parkinson (2004), pgs 150 & 350; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 530-533


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


Mary Antonia Reynolds accidently shoots herself with a gun she finds in Hudson’s barn in Posseckstown, Enfield, Co. Meath.  She dies shortly afterwards.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pgs 530-531


Three-year old Mary Waldron is stuck by a BA vehicle on Clanbrassil St in Dublin.  She dies from a fractured skull.

O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 531


Republican snipers shoot at mourners attending the McMinn and Harrison funerals – see Sep-24-21/3 – killing John Orr (32) and wounding three others.  Orr was a Protestant.

Parkinson (2004), pg 151; O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 531


An unarmed civilian, William Corbett, is shot and killed by RIC man Constable Monck in Evans’s Picture Palace in Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary. (O’Farrell says September 30th 1920.)


O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 531; O’Farrell (1997), pg 104


Gunner Charles Dixon of the BA’s Royal Field Artillery is accidently shot dead by a fellow British soldier in the Military Barracks in Dundalk, Co. Louth.


O’Halpin and Ó Corráin (2020), pg 531

Sep-29 to 30-21/1

Llyod George replies to de Valera’s letter of September 18th (see Sep-18-21/1) 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 October 11th, 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”. 

He also says that “conference not correspondence is the most practical and hopeful way to an understanding”.

The next day, de Valera replied accepting this later offer on the basis that “Our respective positions have been stated and understood”. Negotiations are to start on October 11th.

Macardle states that “The termination of correspondence left the advantage on Ireland’s side”.  Kissane notes “Llyod George’s invitation to negotiate was premised on the belief that Irish national aspirations would find full expression in the Commonwealth, but de Valera was only willing to associate with and not be part of the Commonwealth”. 


Gallagher (1953), pgs 120-121; Fanning (2013), pg 271; Boyce (1972), pgs 152-153; Kissane (2005), pg 55; Macardle (1999), pgs 522-524


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 September 24th, 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 was 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 Oct-11-21/2.


Price (2012), pgs 181-183


In its official history, the Dublin District of the BA said “By September, the policy of permitting the rebels to transgress the terms of the Truce was becoming a danger. An ignorant people like the bulk of the IRA really began to believe that they had won the war”. 

See also Oct-04-21/2.


Sheehan (2007), pg 71


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”.

With less prescience, he also warned of a probable clash between the ITGWU and Sinn Féin.


McCarthy (2015), pg 90


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