Identity Statement for Con Moloney

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P9
  • Title: Papers of Con Moloney/2 Southern Division IRA
  • Dates: 1921–22
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 5 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use

Institutional History

2 Southern Division was formed in February 1921 under the command of Ernie O'Malley. Despite his relative youth (he was only twenty three), O’Malley had been engaged in IRA operations full time since 1918, including the first capture of a Royal Irish Constabulary barracks in the conflict, in Ballytrain, County Monaghan. The division consisted of five brigades: Kilkenny, Mid-Limerick, East Limerick, Tipperary 2 and Tipperary 3. These areas had already endured heavy fighting during the War of Independence, and by creating divisional commands IRA general headquarters were attempting to establish hierarchy and discipline within the ranks.

O’Malley’s full time staff in divisional headquarters was a small one, consisting of Adjutant Con Moloney and the Quartermaster. This collection mainly consists of correspondence between Moloney and the Brigade areas, and therefore we can infer that these papers belonged to him. However, due to its uncertain archival history, (see below), this cannot be definitively stated.

Moloney, the son of chemist P.J. Moloney, was born in Tipperary, where his family owned a medical hall. His brother was Jim Moloney, husband of Kathleen Barry. He became a close associate of Seán Treacy and Dan Breen, the men who led the ambush of Royal Irish Constabulary officers at Soloheadbeg in January 1919. Moloney delivered Treacy’s interment oration in 1920, and was best man at Breen’s wedding in June 1921. Along with Breen, he was a member of the Tipperary 3 Brigade, before being appointed Adjutant for 2 Southern Division.

Divisional Headquarters were located in Donohill, County Tipperary throughout the War of Independence and The Truce period. The divisional officers’ aims were to ensure that organisation and training were carried out, and that munitions manufacture was continued, as many expected the conflict with British forces to resume. As well as this, they dealt frequently with reports of breaches of the truce from the Liaison Offices which were established on both sides to monitor its implementation. Reports of undisciplined behavior by Volunteers are numerous within this collection, and these cases were very much frowned upon by IRA general headquarters.

After the post-Treaty IRA split, Moloney served as Adjutant General and Deputy Chief of Staff in the Anti-Treaty forces.

Archival History

These papers were discovered by John Ranelagh in a gatepost in county Tipperary, during his doctoral research on the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He donated copies of the collection to UCD Archives in November 1972, and the originals in April 1990.

Scope and Content

Correspondence and some papers of the Divisional Officers of 2 Southern Division.

Dispatches to and from the Division, grouped by Brigade. These mainly consist of routine correspondence, dealing with the organisation of reference systems, the compilation of reports, acknowledgments of dispatches received, and notes covering enclosures. Sent mainly during the period between the Anglo-Irish Truce and the outbreak of the Civil War. These are copies of Con Moloney’s dispatches, and original replies received. This material has been kept in chronological order so that the flow of information between Brigade and Divisional levels can be ascertained. Includes both holograph and typescript material.

Reports from Brigades, often providing information on strength, battalions, number of companies, and recruitment.

Material related to training camps held by the Kilkenny, East Limerick, and Tipperary 2 and 3 Brigades, usually consisting of daily schedules and other organisational notes.

Directives and orders to all Brigades from Divisional Headquarters and General Headquarters.

Small number of dispatches between 2 Southern Division and 1 Southern Division.

  • Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCDA reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in microform.
  • Language: English
  • Finding aid: Descriptive catalogue
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