A series of short documentaries on Westmeath during 1920

During November and December 2020, Westmeath County Council partnered with Midlands 103 to broadcast a series of documentaries written and narrated by Ian Kenneally, Historian in Residence for the centenary of 1920. Ian also produced a number of short videos. Below, we provide a brief overview and links to each of the documentaries. 

Further videos on these and other topics are available on the Westmeath County Council YouTube channel

1920 in Westmeath – 4 minute video documentary

This video provides a timeline of events in Westmeath during 1920, bringing the viewer through a transformative and often violent twelve months.

The Westmeath Independent, 1914-1920 – 8 minute video documentary

The burning of the Westmeath Independent’s offices and the associated print works in November 1920 was an extraordinary and distressing incident in Athlone’s history, with ramifications across the Midlands. This documentary explains why the print works was targeted by the Crown forces.

Ellen Chapman and the Westmeath Independent – 5 minute video documentary

On 16 October 1920, the Athlone Print Works was attacked by the Crown forces for the first time. They set fire to the building but Ellen Chapman foiled their plans.

Alice King and Laurence Ginnell – 2 minute audio documentary

Alice King was one half of an extraordinary couple. She was a skilled activist and political organiser for both Cumann na mBan and Sinn Féin while her husband, Delvin’s Laurence Ginnell, was one of Ireland’s most famous politicians.

Cumann na mBan – 5 minute audio documentary

For much of the War of Independence, 1919-1921, Cumann na mBan was an illegal organisation, a time in which its Westmeath members gathered intelligence, carried dispatches and provided safehouses for the IRA.

The shooting of Michael Burke – 5 minute audio documentary

It was 9pm on Friday night, 22 October 1920, and the streets of Athlone were full of people. Soon, they would be in the midst of a reprisal by British forces.

Custume Barracks before 1920 – 5 minute audio documentary

Athlone’s barracks can trace its beginning to the early 1690s and the aftermath of the great sieges of Athlone in 1690 and 1691. For over two hundred years, it was a garrison and recruitment centre for the British army. This documentary provides a brief overview of its long history.

Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 18/12/2020