The Irish Civil War took place from 1921 to 1922.
In this RTÉ video, Michael Heaney examines the different aspects of the war, and what key decisions were made by the leaders of the Irish Free State and the anti-treaty IRA.
It was a critical time in Irish history, as the IRA was divided as to the best course of action to achieve full independence from Britain.
When Michael Collins and Arthur Griffiths signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty they compromised their Irish republican goals.
Collins accepted the treaty as a stepping stone. Heaney points out: “Michael Collins was the pragmatic one, the republican leader not unprepared to accept compromise, who died before he could see the compromise through.”
For some, the oath of allegiance to the British crown was too much, and was not what Padraic Pearse and the other Easter Rising leaders had died for six years earlier. The anti-treaty forces began the war by seizing the Four Courts buildings in Dublin.
The documentary also poses questions about Éamon de Valera and his role in the war. Could he have done more to maintain peace in Ireland?
Watch the RTÉ documentary and consider for yourself where the blame lies or who could have acted differently.
We hope this video will inspire you to delve into Irish history further and gain a better understanding of the real-life circumstances your ancestors lived in. Many people enjoy learning about Irish history as part of researching their own genealogy and building their family tree.
If you are interested in learning more about Irish history, then we would encourage you to enrol on one of the numerous free online education courses and tutorials available with universities and colleges around the world.
Irish Civil WarAnglo–Irish Treaty split the IRA Execution of Michael Collins Key groups and characters Essential facts 5 minute RTÈ summary video The Madness from Within documentary