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2020 Centenary: ‘I rejoiced when we heard 
three English officers would be shot for every Irishman hanged’

The diaries of Celia Shaw reveal how the execution of UCD contemporary Kevin Barry converted so many to the republican cause

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University College Dublin in the early 20th century. Courtesy: UCD

University College Dublin in the early 20th century. Courtesy: UCD

University College Dublin in the early 20th century. Courtesy: UCD

The following is the personal diary of Celia Shaw. Born in Slane, Co Meath, she was a county scholar and, by the autumn of 1920, a 21-year-old final-year BA student studying English and Irish at University College Dublin.

Shaw recounts vividly both the feelings and the lived experience of the university’s students as they witnessed one of their own facing the death penalty for his role in the botched arms raid on Monk’s Bakery on North King Street in September 1920.

Having flown a tricolour over the college on the day of Kevin Barry’s execution, UCD students were subjected to a raid by Crown forces. As Shaw vividly illustrates, such actions turned unaligned students who had not even known Barry into firm sympathisers with the republican cause.


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