• cmguerin0

Seán Treacy remembered

Updated: Jun 28


Black and white image of Irish revolutionary leader Seán Treacy
Seán Treacy (1895-1920)


In 2019, I recorded the commemoration by Tipperary fans of Seán Treacy at Talbot Street in Dublin at noon before the All-Ireland hurling final. This occasion, which has drawn a lot of media interest in recent years, was first initiated in 1922 when the Tipperary hurling team stopped on the way to Croke Park to pay their respects to Treacy, and was organised in subsequent years by a memorial committee.


It was the first time I had picked up a real video camera to record with and I had no idea of most of its functions. In addition, I didn't get a place near the front, and so I was forced to hold the camera aloft to get good footage - hence the regular shaking. (It didn't occur to me to ask if I could stand near the front to film.) It was only recently that I decided that, though the footage itself might not be ideal, the commemoration itself deserved to be captured. Also, with a very little background information (which I include before the footage), it could serve as a fairly thorough introduction to Treacy himself and the commemoration of the revolutionary period.


Further reading:

The website of the Third Tipperary Brigade Commemoration Committee contains a history of the organisation, but also many interesting articles about the revolutionary period, including this summary of the life of Seán Treacy.

Their Youtube channel contains the interviews conducted by the late John J. Hassett and Raymie Shanahan of veterans and other survivors of the period.

Desmond Ryan, Seán Treacy and the Third Tipperary Brigade (The Kerryman, 1945). Ryan conducted extensive interviews with many of Treacy's comrades and this is the definitive biography. Unfortunately even the paperback edition is relatively expensive, so this is not easy to source.

Joe Ambrose, Seán Treacy and the Tan War (Mercier Press, 2007). A very readable biography.

Bureau of Military Archives, https://militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/bureau-of-military-history-1913-1921/ This was a large collection of interviews with those involved in the revolutionary period. Some of note include: Seumas Robinson, 3rd Tipperary Brigade O/C (WS 156, WS 1721, WS 1722), Dan Breen (WS 1739 and WS 1763) and Tadhg Crowe (WS 1658).

Marcus Howard videoed the 2016 commemoration. His channel also contains a video about Treacy and Dan Breen.

The lyrics of Tipperary So Far Away from the National Folklore Collection. The melody is derived from an Irish tune, Racín Álainn. It is said that US president Ronald Reagan quoted a line from the song in a speech in Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary in 1984 - surely there could hardly be a more incongruous association.




Crowds of Tipperary supporters outside 94 Talbot Street, Dublin, where Seán Treacy died in 1920.
Seán Treacy commemoration in Talbot Street, Dublin on 18 August 2019. Image by C. Guerin.

#seantreacy #tipperary #tipperarygaa #warofindependence #ireland #irishhistory


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