Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
Tel: +353 (0)58 45960 Email: info@waterfordmuseum.ie
Shopping Cart
Articles Photos

Book Review: Rebel Heart - George Lennon: Flying Column Commander

Most books on the Irish War of Independence and subsequent Civil War are not exactly ideal holiday reading material.  It is to Terence O'Reillys credit that he has managed to write a massivly entertaining yet scholarly book on such a difficult and polarising subject matter, making it accessible to both those with a casual interest and substantial prior knowledge. O'Reillys manages to make all the main participants in the book human by placing their decision making in context. He is even handed to all of the protaganists, very few of whom come off as simply good or bad, heroic or cowardly. The book is primarily about George Lennon, the commander of the Flying Column in West Waterford but as Lennon was so deeply immersed in all things Republican that happened in Waterford between 1916 and 1923 it also serves as a fantastic history of the war itself.

O'Reillys great triumph is demonstrating how effective the IRA campaign was in tying up a vastly superior British force and how heroic many of the Flying Column members were. Popular perception has it that Waterford was a reasonably quite County during the War Of Independence. O'Reillys extensive research into Crown Forces troop deployments and numbers disproves this quite catagorically. The new material he has unearthed from all manner of sources including unpublished personal memoirs, taped interviews, UK National Archives, National Library and many other sources brings much that is fresh and new to a story that I thought I knew.

The second part of the book deals with the Civil War. Reading the book you get a sense of events spiralling out of control as the new nation plunges itself straight into a Civil War.

The final part of the book deals with the latter years of George Lennon. You get a sense from the book that George Lennon always tried to do what was right (as he saw it) no matter how difficult the path may have been for him personally, he never shirked a decision. Towards the end of his life he became a Buddhist and campaigned against American involvement in Vietnam. The publication of this book should ensure that his memory will live on his native county for many years to come.

I would be reluctant to say that any history book is 'definitive', new material is unearthed or a world view changes and a book can fall out of fashion. What I can say with certainty is that this book is as close to a definitive history on the War in Waterford that we are liable to get for some time. It is a fine biography of a fine man.

The book is available to buy online from Amazon, it can also be purchased from Waterford County Museum. All copies purchased from the museum result in 7 euros going towards the museum upkeep.

Opinion Piece: War Of Independence Lecture Series A Great Sucess

L to r: Eddie Cantwell - Museum President, Sean Murphy - Historian, Willie Fraher - Museum Curator, Ivan Lennon - son of George Lennon, Dr. Pat McCarthy - Historian, Terence O'Reilly - Author Of 'Rebel Heart'

Waterford County Museum's seminar / series of lectures on the War Of Independence and Civil War in Co. Waterford took place last Saturday 19th September 2009. The lectures were very well supported with almost 100 people attending them. The lectures themselves were very informative and did a very good job of reminding all present of why we should be proud of these men who fought to create the Irish nation. The only thing that could have improved the seminar was a better use of rest breaks. We were probably guilty of trying to fit too much into the one afternoon. As this was the first seminar that we have run we will just have to learn from our mistakes. In addition to the lectures, Terence O'Reilly signed his excellent new book 'Rebel Heart' and Willie Fraher unveiled the temporary exhibition the 'Road To Independence'. Many of the photos featured  in this exhibition can be found online on our image archive. As a result of this exhibition we were very fortunate to get a donation of a '1916 Medal'. It was awarded to those who saw active service in the Easter Rising 1916. The medal in our possession was one of only two awarded to Waterford men.

The exhibition 'The Road To Independence' will run in the museum on St. Augustine Street for the next two months. In addition to the medals we have many artifacts and pieces of IRA equipment donated by members of the public. Admission is free of charge.

A view of the audience at our recent lecture series in Dungarvan Town Hall Theatre.

Lectures: The War of Independence & Civil War in West Waterford 1916 - 1923.

Saturday 19th September

The full line up for our lecture series is now available. The Road to Independence: The War of Independence & Civil War in West Waterford 1916 - 1923.

A series of talks and an exhibition on the period will take place at the Town Hall Theatre and Waterford County Museum, Friary Street, Dungarvan on Saturday 19th September. Talks begin at 3pm. Admission €5. All are welcome.

Opening Remarks by Ivan Lennon
Ivan is a son of Eveline and George Lennon whose father was manager of Dungarvan Gasworks. George Lennon was the youngest commander of a Flying Column during the Irish War of Independence. Ivan has carried out extensive research on his parent's families and on his father's role in the War of Independence. He has just published a book based on his research - "Ulster to the Deise: Lennons in Time". He lives with his family in Rochester, New York.

Seán Murphy: The Story of the Deise Brigade
Seán is a native of Kilmacthomas. He is a retired Social Welfare Officer. Seán and his wife Síle have written extensively on the history of the Comeraghs and surrounding areas. Their publications include "The Comeraghs - Fact and Fancy" (1974); "The Comeraghs - Famine Eviction and Revolution" (1996); "Waterford Heroes Poets and Villains" (1999); "The Comeraghs Gunfire & Civil War - The Story of the Deise Brigade IRA 1914 - 1924".

Dr. Pat McCarthy: Running Guns into Waterford 1921
Pat was born in Waterford and educated at Mount Sion CBS. He holds a PH.D in chemistry and an MBA from NUI Dublin. He is correspence secretary of the Military History Society of Ireland. He has contributed a number of articles to the Decies on the Fenians and the War of Independence.

Terence O'Reilly: "Rebel Heart" George Lennon Flying Column Commander

Terence O'Reilly is a former Irish Army artilleryman who has completed several tours of duty for the U.N. He presently works for the Defence Forces Library. He is the author of two books - "Hitler's Irishmen" (2008) and "The Struggle for Independence: Lessons from pages of "An Cosantoir" (2009)

Waterford County Museum Exhibition
Memorabilia on the War of Independence/Civil War documents, letters, photographs and artefacts. Exhibition will run until further notice.

For information email history@waterfordmuseum.ie

Opinion Piece: What The Museum Does Next

We created a document recently for an awards competition for community groups in Waterford. The document gives a pretty good snap shot of where the museum is at this moment in our development and where we will be going over the next year or so. There are also some photos of the museum interior. Anyone with an interest in the museum should give the document a read, I would be interested in hearing any comments you might have. The document can be downloaded at
It is 5 Mbytes in size and is in .pdf format.

Lectures: Season Line-Up

The Lecture season starts this September and is planned to run on the third Wednesday of each month, however, this may change occassionally if a speaker is unavailable. The following is a list of proposed speakers;

21st October - Michael Desmond - The Battle of Le Pilly.
18th November - Donal Brady - Waterford Scientists Project - Margaret Aylward, Educator, Philanthropist & Social Innovator.
December - Liam Suipeil - The Coughlan's of Ard House, Ardmore.
20th January - Áine Ui Fhoglú
17th February - Pádraig O Machain - Sermons of Fr. Patrick Wall 1778 - 1834
24th March - William Fraher - Power O'Malley (1877-1946) Artist.  His Life and Times.
21st April - Jimmy Lenihan - The Secrets of the Deep.

Title's will be added as we receive them, please watch this space.

Donations: World War I Militaria & Trade Union Card

Last Wednesday we accepted some very nice war memorabilia for addition to our growing artifact collection. Among the items were 3 medals, a soldiers paybook from 1918, belts, a stone cross and  a enrollment Certificate of Commemoration from the 1898. Other interesting items that came in this week were an odd little rock that has been embedded in, what seems to be, iron or perhaps lava, a membership card from the Operative Plasterers Trade Society and a printing block from O'Donnell's Model Dairy, Dungarvan.

Donations: IRA Memorabilia

We had a surprise visitor from the Bronx, last Tuesday - Mary O'Brien, and she brought with her some very nice additions for our collection, including an Emergency Service Medal complete with application forms. Also this week we received a donation of a pistol, holster, bayonet and dagger. The latter two items were seized during the IRA raid on Mine Head, Coastguard Station on the 14th of May 1919.

Lectures: The War Of Independence And Civil War In West Waterford

September 19th 2009
Our next exhibition 'The Road to Independence' starts with a series of talks on September 19th. The talks will begin at 3pm, in the Old Town Hall Theater. The exhibition covers the period 1916 - 1923: the War of Independence and Civil War in West Waterford. If you would like to donate any items of the period, for inclusion in this exhibition, please bring them into the Museum before September 14th, we would love to include them. More details on the lectures and a timetable of events will be posted on this blog shortly.

Exhibition: The Devil Is In The Detail

22nd August - 11th September 2009
A photographic exhibition on Dungarvan's Architectural Heritage featuring photographs of Ironwork, Stonework and Plasterwork. Free exhibition all are welcome. Runs in Waterford County Museum until the 11th of September 2009.

Upcoming Events

More Upcoming Events

Latest News

More News

Latest Articles

Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list and get all the latest news for free via email. Simply enter your email address in the box below and press the 'Join' button.

Make A Donation

Waterford County Museum is a non profit voluntary museum. We would be grateful for any financial donation large or small.

Social Media

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Blogger Follow us on Youtube
Waterford County Museum 2014. All rights reserved. Please read our Terms of Use
Website By: Déise Design