War of Friends: The Story of Pádraic Ó Máille & Liam Mellows

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Galway City Museum’s programme of events caters for a variety of audiences and interests, comprising gallery tours, illustrated talks, art and craft workshops, art classes and lectures. Enjoy our current series of online workshops here!

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The Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed in December 1921, was a negotiated compromise settlement that granted limited independence to 26 Irish counties – the Irish Free State. The agreement effectively dissolved the Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916, mandated in 1918, established in 1919 and defended in arms.

As a result, the Irish nationalist movement split between supporters and opponents of the Treaty, Free Staters and Republicans, triggering a civil war that lasted from 28 June 1922 to 24 May 1923. Known in Irish as Cogadh na gCarad, ‘war of friends’, the conflict began without a formal declaration of war, ended without a settlement, caused around 1,500 deaths, and left the Irish Free State bitterly divided and on the verge of bankruptcy.

The Free State formally came into existence on 6 December 1922, a year to the day after Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, by then both dead, signed the Treaty. The next day, anti-treaty militants ambushed two pro-treaty deputies as they made their way to Dáil Éireann, killing Seán Hales and wounding Pádraic Ó Máille. The following morning, in retaliation, the Free State executed four republican prisoners, including Liam Mellows, who had led the Galway Rising in 1916.

With the shooting of unarmed pro-treaty deputies and the summary execution of anti-treaty prisoners, all former comrades in arms, the Irish Civil War had reached its lowest point.

The exhibition, which will feature rare photographs and several personal items belonging to both Ó Máille and Mellows, is funded as part of Galway City Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme 2022.

For Galway Interational Arts Festival, Galway City Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am - 5pm, both Sunday's 12pm - 5pm and Monday 18 July, 10am - 5pm.  Admission is FREE!
Galleries close at 4.45pm

N.B. After the festival the museum will resume normal opening times:
OPEN Tuesday through Saturday, 10am - 5pm, CLOSED Sunday and Monday.
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