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History and Heritage

UCD Archives and Military Archives Collaboration

Image credit:
UCDA P151/1502 Papers of Seán MacEoin. Reproduced by kind permission of UCD-OFM Partnership.

In 2018 Kate Manning, Principal Archivist, UCD Archives, and Cécile Gordan, Senior Archivist and project manager for the Military Service Pensions Collection Project (MSPCP), with the support of Dr John Howard, UCD Librarian, undertook a unique collaboration to digitise 60 maps created by the Longford Brigade Committee (which was appointed to supervise and coordinate efforts to have former members of the Brigade awarded pensions). These maps are held in UCD Archives as part of the Papers of Seán MacEoin (UCDA P151). Archival digital copies of the maps were made for UCD Digital Library as well as for the MSPC project. The digitised copies retained by the Military Archives are now reunited online with the relevant files created as part of the original file series pertaining to Longford.

…a unique collaboration to digitise 60 maps created by the Longford Brigade Committee…These maps are held in UCD Archives as part of the Papers of Seán MacEoin

Seán MacEoin willed his papers to the Franciscan Library Killiney. They were transferred there by his wife Alice. The collection was subsequently transferred to UCD Archives in July 1997 as part of the UCD-OFM (Order of Friars Minor) partnership agreement. MacEoin served as Company Captain and later Officer-in-Charge (O/C) 1 Battalion, Longford Brigade, 1917–20; Vice O/C and Director of Operations, Longford Brigade, 1920–21; as well as Provincial Centre for the IRB with a place on the Supreme Council. His exploits with the North Longford Flying Column are the stuff of legend, particularly the engagements with the enemy at Ballinalee in November 1920 and Clonfin in February 1921 (maps of both are pictured here and included in his papers).

The Brigade Activity Reports represent the most anticipated file series within the Military Service Pensions Collection consisting of 151 files and around 400 sketches/maps of all sizes. In order to administer pension claims under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1934, the Referee and his Advisory Committee encouraged the formation of Brigade Committees around the country, comprising persons who had formerly held rank in the IRA structure. These committees were initially requested to provide listings of operations and activities undertaken by the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army, with a focus on operations during the most active years of the War of Independence (1920–1921). Some files even go on to cover IRA activity during the Civil War (1922–23), although these are a minority.

MacEoin served on the Longford Brigade Committee. He dedicated a considerable amount of time to assisting former colleagues with pension applications and demonstrated admirable loyalty and commitment to former colleagues (many of whom fought against him in the Civil War) by assisting them in applying for pensions and appealing against refusal of those applications.

MacEoin served as…Provincial Centre for the IRB with a place on the Supreme Council. His exploits with the North Longford Flying Column are the stuff of legend

The majority of the Longford Brigade Committee maps are traced from Ordnance Survey maps of County Longford, mainly the 6in to 1 mile series, with the sheets identified and the tracing done by M.S. Ó Ríain, Lanesboro’. The maps are intended to show the location and features of engagements with British forces and the R.I.C. Additional information added to each map by MacEoin includes the location and date of the action; a history providing a context for the action and a description of the sequence of events; and lists of Officers and Volunteers manning each post and women serving at Cumann na mBan first aid posts. Where addresses of individuals are given, they are addresses current in 1941 when the maps were made. The maps are marked ‘Certified correct 16/2/41’ and signed by MacEoin, Chairman; Thomas Brady, Secretary; Seán Duffy, Vice-Chairman; and Ó Ríain, as members of the Longford Brigade Committee. The majority of the maps are of a homogeneous series, numbered in sequence, with a small number of additional maps inserted into the sequence.

The IRA Brigade Activity Reports were launched in Cathal Brugha Barracks on 23 March 2019. They are available online. The maps are also all available on Flikr. The Longford maps are in the Leinster series.

A PDF guide to the entire collection is available online and includes an excellent essay by Dr Marie Coleman, QUB, on the Longford Brigade and the reliability of archival evidence concerning their activities.

Image credit:
UCDA P151/1523 Papers of Seán MacEoin. Reproduced by kind permission of UCD-OFM Partnership.

kate-manning
kate-manning
Featured Researcher:

Ms Kate Manning, Principal Archivist, UCD Archives

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