New memoir of local IRA leader

The man who was sent to reorganise the IRA in north Roscommon in 1921 is the subject of a book which will be launched in Ballinalee, Co. Longford, on October 1st. Rising Out: Sean Connolly of Longford (1890-1921) was written by Ernie O’Malley, and has been edited by his son, Cormac. Connolly, whose name is attached to the military barracks in Longford, was vice-commandant of the North Longford IRA. The book describes his involvement in the Volunteers/IRA from 1916, including episodes such as the destruction of the RIC barracks in Ballinamuck and in Arva in 1920. Connolly was sent by headquarters in Dublin to reorganise the IRA in North Roscommon, and in February 1921, began organising a flying column in South Leitrim. Its most famous action was the ambush at Selton Hill, near Ballinamore, on 11 March 1921, where Connolly was mortally wounded, and five others killed. Speaking of the memoir, Cormac O’Malley said, ‘My father wished to honour Sean Connolly as one of many effective but unrecognised local leaders, and this memoir places him in the broader political and military context of that period.’ O’Malley himself worked as an area organiser, appointed by IRA general headquarters. He travelled around the country, visiting brigades and taking part in various actions, and acquired detailed local knowledge along the way. Later, he wrote extensively on the period, but his only book published in his own lifetime was ‘On Another Man’s Wound’ (1936). In editing and publishing the Connolly memoir, Cormac O’Malley hopes to enhance knowledge of that era in this region. The launch will be performed by Bishop Colm O’Reilly, a relative of Sean Connolly, and will take place in the Thomas Ashe Hall, Ballinalee, at 8 pm. All are welcome.