Ó Duibhir, Liam J  

Prisoners of War : Ballykinlar Internment Camp 1920-1921


The first in-depth study of the main internment camp in Ireland during the War of Independence.


Ballykinlar Internment Camp was the first mass internment camp to be established by the British in Ireland during the War of Independence. Situated on the County Down coast and opened in December 1920, it became home to hundreds of Irish men arrested by the British, often on little more than the suspicion of involvement in the IRA.

Held for up to a year, and subjected to often brutal treatment and poor quality food in an attempt to break them both physically and mentally, the interned men instead established a small community within the camp. The knowledge and skills possessed by the diverse inhabitants were used to teach classes, and other activities, such as sports, drama and music lessons, helped stave off boredom. In the midst of all these activities the internees also endeavoured to defy their captors with various plans for escape. 

The story of the Ballykinlar internment camp is on the one hand an account of suffering, espionage, murder and maltreatment, but it is also a chronicle of survival, comradeship and community.


About the Author

Liam Ó Duibhir is from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. He worked in the youth sector from 2005 to 2007 as a youth information officer and as a policy officer. Since December 2007 he has been writing full time. The Donegal Awakening is the first fruit of those efforts and he is currently completing a follow up running from the Truce period that tells the story of Donegal during the Civil War.


'A detailed and interesting book...it contains several fascinating nuggets about discrimination and daily life at the time and utilises plenty of oral testimonies'

- Sunday Business Post Magazine

'The author's lively text is backed up impressively by a well-researched listing of nationalists who were detained in Ballykinlar'

- Leinster Leader