10 April 1923: The Death of Liam Lynch [above] on this day. This legendary IRA Chief of Staff was killed as a result of an encounter with Free State forces in the Knockmealdown Mountains on the border of counties Tipperary and Waterford. Realising that Free State columns were closing in on their position Lynch and a number of other Republican Officers decided to escape across the exposed slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains. It was while attempting to avoid capture that a Column of opposing forces fired upon this small band and Lynch was hit. Realising that his wound was fatal he ordered his comrades to proceed without him and was captured.
A Lieutenant Clancy of the Free State Army soon reached the spot where Lynch was lying and he asked him to identify himself Lynch gave his name and rank, Chief of Staff Irish Republican Army. The soldiers then dressed his wound and placed him on a stretcher made from rifles and coats and carried him down the mountain. A priest, Fr Hallinan, arrived on the scene and administrated last rites to the dying Leader. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel and died there about 8.45pm that evening.
Liam Lynch was a veteran of the War for Independence and had carried out numerous attacks on the British Army. He had kidnapped the British General Lucas and had captured Mallow Barracks and set it alight. While he initially welcomed the Truce he rejected the Treaty. When the Civil War came he was in Dublin and captured but was allowed to walk free. He reorganised the IRA in Munster and did his best to slow the advance of the Free State Forces into that Province. But as they were pushed back the calls from both without and within the IRA were for a Ceasefire or a negotiated settlement. Liam Lynch rejected both and was determined to fight on. His death marked a watershed in the Civil War as without his influence demoralisation within the IRA increased and all hope of Victory in the War dissipated. Frank Aiken became Chief of Staff and on the 3 April he ordered a Ceasefire. On the 24 May he issued the order to ‘Dump Arms’. The Civil War was over.