Funeral procession of Thomas Hughes through Athlone following the exhumation of his remains in Custume Barracks in 1924 (.Athlone Public Library)

WAHS lecture: ‘State-sanctioned executions in Westmeath during Civil War’

On Wednesday next, October 18, Westmeath Archaeological and Historical Society host the final in the decade long series of lectures which encompassed the Decade of Centenaries.

The final lecture approaches a difficult topic - the extra-judicial executions of those found guilty by a military tribunal of carrying arms against the new state.

Eight of these executions were carried out in Westmeath, two in Columb Barracks, Mullingar, and six in Custume Barracks, Athlone.

Adjutant Luke Burke was executed at Columb Barracks, Mullingar in 1923.

Historian in residence with Westmeath County Council, Dr Ian Kennelly, will present a multi-media lecture detailing the context for the executions, the final hours of those about to face the firing squad and the subsequent controversies surrounding the exhumation of their remains and return to their families.

The lecture takes place in the Greville Arms Hotel at 8pm on Wednesday, October 18, and all are welcome.

Capt Micheal Greally executed in Columb Barracks Mullingar in 1923; (thanks to Jason McKevitt for sourcing photos).

The event is supported by Westmeath County Council and the Decade of Centenaries Committee.

The title of the talk is ‘State-sanctioned executions in Westmeath during the Civil War’.

Bio, Dr Ian Kennelly

Ian Kenneally is a historian and author. A manager and researcher with the media production company Pegasus Consulting, producers of The History Show on RTÉ Radio One, he has researched and written numerous radio documentaries.

He is the author of multiple books, including The Paper Wall: newspapers and propaganda in Ireland during the War of Independence (Collins Press).

Among his most recent projects are a commissioned history of the Technological University of the Shannon and an online exhibition that charts the 1921 reconnaissance mission to Tibet led by Charles Howard-Bury of Belvedere House.

He was an editor of the popular weekly magazine series, The Revolution Papers, and he has contributed to a wide range of publications, including the Atlas of the Irish Revolution.

Historian in Residence with Westmeath County Council on multiple occasions between 2020 and 2023, he contributes the weekly ‘Headlines from History’ column to the Athlone Advertiser.

His PhD thesis, which he successfully defended in NUI Galway, explores aspects of the media in Ireland during the Irish Civil War.

Funeral procession of Thomas Hughes through Athlone following the exhumation of his remains in Custume Barracks in 1924 (Athlone Public Library).