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Today in Alternate History

This Day in Alternate History Blog



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take the Flag down.

by Ruairi

 

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 drivers.

 

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 British.

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 General.

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 too distracted.

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 banking collapses.

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 the border.

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 passes.

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

 

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