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Exactly one hundred years ago this month the Army Council of the young Irish Freestate Army was forced into resignation following what was known as the Army Mutiny. The Adjutant General of that council was Gearóid O’Sullivan, who had strong Carlow connections and had been elected for Carlow/Kilkenny in both the second and third Dáil elections.

This is a very appropriate time to have a full talk on the life and times of Gearóid O’Sullivan, which will take place on Wednesday, April 3rd at 7.00 p.m. The venue too is very appropriate, Knockbeg College, for it was there that his connection with Carlow began.

From Skibbereen, Co. Cork, as a teacher in Dublin, he became involved in the Volunteer movement and on Easter Monday, 1916 he was given the responsibility of raising the tricolour over the G.P.O.. On his release from prison at the end of that year he was appointed as Professor at Knockbeg by the Rector, Fr. P.J. Doyle.

He worked tirelessly in the recruitment and training of volunteers in the Carlow/Laois area as well as promoting Irish culture and language through the Gaelic League. In the College, he was hero worshipped by the pupils and was remarkably successful as a teacher, particularly in the promotion of Irish as a spoken everyday language.

On the political side, he organised many meetings in the College, attended by, among others, Kevin O’Higgins, Rory O’Connor, Frank Fahy, Pádraig Fleming and Micheal Collins, his very close friend, advisor and confidant throughout the remainder of Collins’ life. The romantic rivalry between O’Higgins and O’Sullivan in Knockbeg is an interesting sideline story. In 1923 O’Sullivan opted for an army career, a career that was very short-lived. He then pursued legal studies but was persuaded to stand again for the Dáil seat of Kevin O’Higgins when he was assassinated in 1927, a seat he won easily and retained for ten years. He subsequently practised as a barrister and died at the early age of 57 on Good Friday, 1948 and on Easter Monday his military cortege paused as it passed by the G.P.O. where he had raised the tricolour 32 years earlier.

This talk in Knockbeg on April 3rd will be given by Philip O’Regan, a Skibbereen historian, who has written extensively on Gearóid O’Sullivan. Philip is a native of Skibbereen, County Cork. He was a founder member and is a former chairman of Skibbereen & District Historical Society.

The lecture is a collaborative event between Carlow County Council Library Service, Knockbeg College, Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society and is part of the Carlow County Council Decade of Centenaries Programme for 2024. All are welcome.

For further information contact John Shortall or John O’Gorman, Carlow County Council Library Service at 059 912 9705 or by email to library@carlowcoco.ie

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