- 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
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