William Joseph Mellows (Known As Liam)
Mellows played a critical role in the occupation of Dublin’s Four Courts in June 1922, signaling the start of Irish Civil War. He was an outspoken opponent of Michael Collins and fiercely opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
This book brings together an excerpt of his political writings and speeches between 1917 and 1920 that fit comfortably within a socialist perspective of Irish revolution history.
Early Life and Education
Born at Hartshead Military Barracks in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire England to a sergeant of the British army, Mellows attended military and garrison schools at Wellington Barracks Cork and Portobello Dublin but chose not to pursue a military career due to his Irish republican philosophy being in conflict with that of British Empire, under which his father served.
Mellows joined Na Fianna Eireann (the Irish nationalist equivalent of British Boy Scouts) and quickly rose through its ranks, becoming an influential organizer within both Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and Irish Volunteer movements. After being sent to Galway in 1915 to organise local companies of Volunteers from Athenry he attracted police attention due to his intelligence and analytical abilities, eventually being arrested several times under Defence of the Realm Act.
Mellows was one of the founders of Na Fianna Eireann and traveled throughout Ireland establishing branches, instilling an Irish counterculture and writing political articles against Anglo-Irish Treaty.
This groundbreaking analysis of a short yet dramatic life brings together letters, speeches, political writings and captured IRA documents to reveal an elusive figure whose turbulent personal relationships and political betrayals made him an iconic symbol for Irish republicans.
Born to a British army father and raised between Ashton-under-Lyne and Ireland (Cork, Dublin and Wexford were his mother’s native places), he joined both the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Irish Volunteers during World War One before taking part in County Galway Easter Rising and subsequent War of Independence against Britain. Elected to first Dail during independence campaign he rejected Anglo-Irish Treaty; was captured during Irish Civil War battles then executed on December 22, 1922.
Achievement and Honors
Peadar O’Donnell described Mellows’ leadership of men during the 1916 Rising as being “one of the richest minds our race had accomplished for some time”. His achievements were widely recognized.
He became Director of Purchases, traveling in disguise throughout Ireland, England and Scotland to arrange arms landings. Through him he managed to gain access to numerous British intelligence agents.
He was one of the founding members of both the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Irish Volunteers, leading 700 volunteers in attacking Royal Irish Constabulary stations during the Easter Rising and fighting British forces throughout the War of Independence. Later elected as an Sinn Fein TD for both Galway East and North Meath constituencies of Galway County; he eventually rejected the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty as well.
William Joseph Mellows (better known by his nickname of Liam) was born at Hartshead military barracks in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire on 25 May 1892 to Sarah Jordan of Monalug, Inch in County Wexford as an NCO father and William Mellows as an army NCO mother.
Mellows initially found his calling through Na Fianna and the Irish Republican Brotherhood before joining the Irish Volunteers as Western Command Organiser, quickly rising through their ranks due to his excellent organizational and analytical abilities.
Mellows was an idealist who championed Irish independence, opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty. This groundbreaking study brings together his letters, speeches, writings and captured IRA documents to uncover this short yet dramatic life.
At one point in his life, he was estimated to be worth an estimated $50 million; however, due to hard partying and an expensive divorce settlement, this amount has decreased substantially over time.
Mellows was born in Ashton-under-Lyne and raised in County Wexford, Ireland. From early on he exhibited strong nationalist leanings, joining Na Fianna and later Irish Republican Brotherhood; befriended socialist James Connolly while being part of their Volunteer Organizing Committee.
Arrested multiple times under the Defence of the Realm Act and spent time in Reading jail, he led 700 volunteers in an attack against a Royal Irish Constabulary station during Easter Rising of 1916. Opposed to 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty which he saw as betraying Irish independence movement.