Henry, William  

Blood For Blood: The Black and Tan War in Galway


A vivid account of events during the War on Independence all across County Galway based on a comprehensive collection of primary sources.

ISBN: 9781781170465 Categories: , Tags: , ,


William Henry has trawled the archives to produce this meticulous account of the many raids, ambushes, murders and reprisals that took place in the 1919-21 period, and of those who were involved. He details the activities of the dreaded Black and Tans, and the role played by the RIC and the mainstream British Army who were stationed in the county.

He also looks at how everyday life was affected by the ongoing war and how the attitude of the people changed as the brutality of the Tans intensified. He details hunger strikes in Galway jail and the general strike in the city that resulted as well as the boycotts of the British forces throughout the county. With fascinating and sometimes horrific details he brings the time to life.




One could consider many reasons for the rise of nationalism and republican ideals in late nineteenth- and early twentieth- century Ireland, but memories of the Great Famine of 1845-1850 and its aftermath of evictions and poverty were certainly some of the crucial ones. The last decades of the nineteenth century saw the birth of the Land League, the Gaelic League, the Gaelic Athletic Association and other such organisations, giving people hope of gaining control over the land they worked and a pride in their Irish heritage. It also gave rise to a generation of Irish people with a strong determination to effect change, even if that meant bloodshed.

When one looks at the 1916 rebellion, Galway was one of the few places outside Dublin that came out in force in support of the rebel cause. This momentous occasion paved the way for the War of Independence, locally known as the Black and Tan War, and those who fought in the latter conflict got a second chance to fight for the same cause, although using methods very different  from those employed during the Easter rebellion. The War of Independence was fought not as a pitched battle, but mainly as a guerilla war.

The story of Galway's War of Independence has not been fully told before. Those who fought risked all against the Black and Tans and their colleagues, the Auxiliaries, who were ruthless in their attempts to defeat the IRA and used every means to do so, including murder.

About the Author

William Henry is an historian, archaeologist and author of several titles including Coffin Ship, Hidden Galway, Famine: Galway's Darkest Years, Forgotten Heroes and Galway and the Great War. He lives in Galway.


'A first-class insight into the Black and Tan War in Galway'

- Galway City Tribune

'Blood For Blood captures one of the darkest eras in Irish history'

- Connacht Tribune Lifestyle


'A detailed account of the Black and Tans and the rebels who stood up to these "thugs in uniform"'

- Irish Times