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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Ballon, Co. Carlow

Dinny Nolan's letters from the Gaol.


A selection of Dinny Nolan's letters from the Gaol
By Betty Murphy
A scanned copy of the letter mentioned which appeared in the Nationalist on 18th December 2009 p. 13,

An old autograph album used by my late father, Denis Nolan, during his incarceration in Mountjoy Gaol in 1923 can only be described as a precious relic from the past.

The letters he sent home and other memorabilia found with them made it easier for me to relate to that period in history and to better understand his involvement in the 'Fight for Irish Freedom'. Denis Nolan, Conaberry, Ballon served in the Ballon Unit of E Coy, 3rd Batt, Carlow Brigade, IRA right through the War of Independence.

He took the anti-treaty side during the Civil War that ensued. While on the run in October 1922, he was arrested and imprisoned at Carlow Military Barracks, where he was court- martialled and sentenced to death.

Contrary to expectations, he was kept as a hostage in Carlow for six months. His sentence was commuted to seven years' penal servitude and he was transferred to cell 49, A Wing, No 3 Landing, Mountjoy Gaol, Dublin for a further six months.

The final eight months of his detention were spent between Tintown and Harepark Internment Camps on the Curragh, where he took part in a 21-day hunger strike. Although the ceasefire or unconditional surrender of the civil war took place in March 1923.

I note from his letters dated 25-11-23 that most of the Ballon boys, including Johnny Nolan, Laragh, had just been released but on 21 January 1924 he stated that Bob Curry was still in detention.

Source: Nationalist on 18th December 2009 p. 13,


Nolan's old village shop

As it was in 1936. Notice the wooden pump there used to be a cup and chain attached for people to get a drink. The granite pillars were positioned to prevent vehicles driving over the well cover.

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