Take the Flag down.
A recent Alternate history story, has Ireland, after
a calamity, once again being divided into the four provinces. We will over
look the fact that there are in fact five divisions of Ireland. The word
cuig means five. Despite this I decided to explore this idea. Itís not
the four historic provinces. But itís close.
The crucial event in Irish history after 1922. Is
the civil war.
The civil war embittered our politics. It was
personal. It killed Collins, Sean Lemass brother was killed, and his body
dumped. There were men strapped to landmines in Kerry. Oh and a police and
Army mutiny. Which are largely forgotten today. Though it is this reason,
why the Garda are unarmed. Mulcahyís reputation after the civil war,
made him unacceptable as taioseach. FF still honour Liam Lynch.
The crisis began, it was brewing for some months
after the treaty. Dev made his wading through blood speeches. Then Rory
O'Connor seized the four courts and other buildings in Dublin.
Churchill after some reluctance, agreed with Lord
Londonderry, to furnish the newly born Irish state with Military
equipment, rifles, pistols, ammo, armoured cars, and some tanks. The offer
of tanks turned out not to be practicable as there were no Irish tank
So let us have the Gunner, drop his Shell next to
Collins, and kill them both, or a lucky republican sharpshooter, manages
to dash Irelandís hopes a few years early. Or Collins, wearied by the
stress succumbs to the influenza that almost killed him earlier. Without
Collins, the free state looses their best card in dealing with the
The result, Collins men, the Dublin Guards storm the
four courts with a much greater loss of life, giving no quarter, to anyone
they find inside. The Free state loses its archives. However it is bloody.
The Dublin guards will lose a lot of men, removing the nascent cadre of
the Irish army. So Mulachy sits watching the events unfold. Churchill,
loses confidence in the Irish Government, and is reluctant to allow the
Irish any more arms and supplies.
Sickened by the slaughter in Dublin, or perhaps more
resolved by the loss of Collins, Liam Lynch decides to fight. His strategy
in the civil war can be described as hoping for the best and fleeing west.
Now he decides to fight. The Republican side in the civil war, should not
be written off as easily as it has been. They had in Liam Lynch and Barry
the two most active IRA Brigades. Lynch had managed to capture a British
Lynch gives the order of frightfulness. The Die
Hards, believing victory is on there side, press forward!
With less collaboration from the British,
Sommerville does not give Dalton, the locations of the mines guarding
passage west. The way into Cork harbour. We will say that Dalton decides
to gamble anyway. Taking a scratch force of Volunteers. He sets on off in
the ships, and then came to an explosive end, in the warm waters of Cork.
Barry remains in control of Cork, with the mines intact, and the harbour
now blocked by a few sunken steamers.
Inspired by this triumph, the Die hards declare a
third Diall. The British take a hard line, and prepare their forces, after
delivering a stern ultimatum
Now let us look North.
In Northern Ireland, Craig has established the
Northern Irish polity, as we know today. Yet due to the chaos in Dublin,
he has picked up a few more refugees. Protestants, Catholic Unionists, ex
RIC and ex British servicemen. The influx of ex RIC is important, with
them Craig is able to stabilise Ulster earlier. The Chaos in the south
almost allows more latitude from the British government. Dublin is simply
In an attempt to win favour from the British
government, or just to appear that the Free State has doing something, we
will have Costello offer the 9 counties of Ulster to the British. This and
the Chaos, brings forward the Army mutiny. The survivors of Collins squad,
attempt a coup, it fails. Yet more blood.
The Police mutiny happens too. This time, there is
no one to put it down, a few more armed men out on the street.
The Bank of Ireland, and other banks, are even more
reluctant to issue credit. They get convinced to do so at gunpoint. Irish
So Atikenís Northern Division of the IRA, and a
few thousand Ulster Catholics of the IRA, flee West linking up with
Sweenyís men. Oh but they will escape with a few thousand rifles, and
pistols, or various sorts. Nothing that will stand up to Armoured car. Yet
enough to rob banks, and shoot poor devils.
Sweeny is the ex IRA commander in Donegal who had
hitherto been loyal. (Though in otl nixed the border commission by
declaring any transfer of territory from Donegal, would mean he would
fight.) He launches attacks on the British (Northern Irish) positions on
Craig plays the game sensibly. He pushes into
Donegal, to absorb the Protestant areas of the county. For Americans, this
was were President Polk was from. Also perhaps Pat Buchanan. Craig orders
a drives west to connect with the Atlantic. Say as far as Kilibegs, which
cuts Sweeny off from the IRA forces in Connacht. Sweenyís Men are
trapped. Yet are still in the field. Craig has absorbed a few more
Protestants into the Northern Irish state. Also created a link to the sea,
which may be useful.
In Connacht Brennan is surrounded by hostile IRA
forces. He tries to take Limerick. He fails. Lynch and Barry are playing
the game of their lives. He cannot get money or men from Dublin. Still
less guns. IRA units and Free State forces, the difference between the two
is hard to tell, are living off the land and the locals by collecting Dog
licenses (one of the ways IRA units in the Civil war, collected funds, was
by levying a tax on Dogs)
So let us apprise the situation.
Northern Ireland, is similar to what we would know
today, but larger and touching the Atlantic. Cutting off the rest of
Donegal from the rest of the 26 counties.
In Donegal (the area of the republic to the west of
Northern Ireland) a small group of Armed men, hold out answering to their
commander, with nothing but their rifles.
The Free State controls Dublin, at least during the
day. Move inland and it gets iffy. It varies from town to town, village to
village. Oh and from day to day.
The die hards, have a assembly in Cork, they hold
the town, and the countryside. They have what ever the banks and Cork can
provide. They may occasionally get a rifle from the USA. Or to be really
funny, allow them to get German mountain artillery they were supposed to
have smuggled in.
All this lasts 6 weeks, at the most. The Chaos
cannot go on much longer. Yet the Irish statellets produce a vast
quantity of documents, denouncing each other.
The British sent ships to secure Dublin and Cork.
There is sporadic fighting, but itís quickly silenced. The odd British
soldier gets lost and dies a lonely death on an Irish roadside. A few old
scores are settled from 1919-21. However the response of the Irish people
is enough is enough. They have to feed their families and get to market
somehow. The RC church has washed its hands of the situation and a few
Irish politicians swear Allegiance to the crown. The average Irishman
learns to keep his head down and his mouth shut, as the bored Tommy checks
his pass. Itís not pretty, but itís better then the Chaos that once
went before. In time the situation normalises. The British Tommy is
replaced by an Irish policeman. Though the station master still checks
The Second World War is awkward. The IRA have been
broken for a generation. However the war is not popular. The British have
got the Irish bases they want and can direct Irish production somewhat.
They get more Irish volunteers. Poverty is a great recutting sergeant.
With the promise of a Royal Commission after the war.
Ireland has a second big round of emigration to the
USA and the British Dominions. Dreams dashed, no dole. Dev dies in Cuba
having rejoined his father,
Ulster is quieter. No IRA, no where to flee too
Ireland is more pacifist and still part of the
British commonwealth. If not from the UK. The Diaspora is anti British,
but pacifist and Isolationist. There is no civil war politics in Ireland.
Itís never spoken about. Ireland is still defensive culturally. CND and
their like are big in Ireland