Historic Irish Civil War photograph expected to sell for €800

It shows Free State soldiers searching a property on the eve of the Civil War in June 1922.
Historic Irish Civil War photograph expected to sell for €800

By Rebecca Black, PA

A photograph of Free State soldiers on the eve of the Irish Civil War nearly a century ago is expected to fetch €800 at auction.

The original black and white photograph, dated June 1922, shows soldiers entering a building on Baggot Street, Dublin, a scene of dramatic events that month.

On June 26th, rival anti-Treaty forces, led by Leo Henderson, commandeered 15 cars imported in defiance of the Belfast Boycott from Ferguson’s Garage in Lower Baggott Street.

Henderson was arrested by Government troops, led by Frank Thornton, and in retaliation an anti-Treaty unit arrested General Mulcahy’s deputy chief of staff, General JJ Ginger O’Connell in nearby Leeson Street.

 

O’Connell was subsequently held by anti-Treaty forces in the Four Courts pending Henderson’s release.

Arthur Griffith and Mulcahy later claimed the decision to attack the Four Courts was close to being taken that afternoon, but was deferred until the following morning.

Mulcahy – who succeeded Michael Collins as chief of staff of the National Army – claimed that many such photographs depicting organised military activity were taken to both create the impression of Government troops’ control of the impending situation and depict superior equipment and organised activity.

The photo, published in Field Day Review 2006 on page 144 as part of a piece by NL Hogan with the caption ‘Free State Troops searching a building’, was owned by General Richard Mulcahy before being gifted to a vendor who sold it at auction in April 2010.

It is estimated to bring in between €400 – €800 when it goes up for auction at Victor Mee Auctions, Cavan, this month.

Mr Mee commented: “We are honoured to have been given the opportunity to find a new home for this rare piece of Irish history and heritage.

“It is not often that we see such a well-preserved artefact which is both well-documented in the annals of Irish history but also comes with a known provenance, making it a great piece for the collection of an Irish history enthusiast.”

For more information on the Decorative Interiors sale at Victor Mee on April 19th-20th, online registration, or catalogue viewing, visit www.victormeeauctions.ie.

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