Decade of Centenary

As part of the Westmeath County Council Decade of Centenaries programme, Ian Kenneally has been reappointed Historian in Residence for the period from August until December 2021. The residency is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media’s Decade of Centenaries Programme, in partnership with Westmeath County Council.

 The residency is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media in partnership with Westmeath County Council.

The goal of the residency is to provide the public with a trustworthy and enlightening source of information on Westmeath during 1921.‌

Videos and podcasts from the Decade of Centenaries blog are available on the Westmeath County Council YouTube channel

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Read more from our Decade of Centenaries blog

  • Westmeath and 1920

    Over the next few months, we will follow the story of Westmeath during 1920, discussing a range of topics and placing the county within the context of what was happening nationally. The historian Michael Hopkinson wrote in his book The Irish War of Independence that Westmeath conformed to ‘the pattern in the Irish Midlands of…

  • Custume Barracks Before Independence

    In this edition of our blog, we will look at Custume Barracks in Athlone, a location that played a vital role in Westmeath during the War of Independence, 1919-1921. This will be the first of a few posts about the barracks and the activities of the British army in Westmeath during the conflict. First, however,…

  • Rioting in Westmeath

    In this edition of our blog, we discuss conflicts in Westmeath during 1919, which foreshadow greater unrest in the county during 1920. In January 1919, the first Dáil Éireann was launched, followed by the emergence of a republican counter-state which offered a direct challenge to British rule in Ireland. The British government and its Irish…

  • Police Stations Attacked in Westmeath

    Following on from our previous post, we discuss the IRA’s attempts to diminish the power and influence of the RIC. In late 1919, the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ordered Seamus O’Meara, the commanding officer of its Athlone Brigade, to organise attacks against the military and police in his locality. Yet,…

  • The Volunteers in Westmeath before the War of Independence

    In a previous post, we discussed the RIC and the challenges it faced during 1919 and the first half of 1920. In this edition, we discuss the revitalisation of the Irish Volunteers in Westmeath before 1920. In tracing these developments, the Bureau of Military History files, especially the witness statements, are important sources. Understandably, we…

  • Gathering Weapons: the Volunteers in Westmeath during 1919

    In this edition, we discuss the efforts of the Westmeath Volunteers to organise and obtain weapons during the first phase of the War of Independence. In the previous post, we saw how the Westmeath Volunteers benefitted from the Conscription Crisis of 1918. The organisation was visible at public demonstrations across the county and gained many…