Irish War of Independence Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Corrie Boone

Corrie holds master's in elementary education, taught elementary ESL in the public schools for 5 years, and recently was teaching EFL abroad.

The citizens of Ireland fought long and hard to gain independence from the British monarchy. They fought the Irish War of Independence, but was it successful? Let's see if this war would finally give them what they wanted.

Gaining Independence

Ireland has a long history of fighting for their independence from Britain. It's hard to achieve independence, but the monarchy of Britain has fought extra hard to not lose control over Irish land. The Irish War of Independence gave Ireland only some of the freedom they'd been craving. Let's learn about the events of this war and the end result.

The War for Independence

In the year 1918, Ireland held an election and the Sinn Féin, a radical political party, won. At the same time, a radical militant group called the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had become more prominent in Ireland. After winning the election, they all decided they were ready to push the British forces out of Ireland for good, sparking the start of the War for Independence.

The war, lasting from 1919 to 1921, was officially started when the IRA attacked and defeated two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the British-led police force in Ireland.

The British responded by sending soldiers from World War I to maintain the peace in Ireland. They were known as the Black and Tans because they wore a mix of black police uniforms and tan soldier uniforms. They were known for not being very well organized, yet brutal and violent.

Members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the war.

Continuing the Attacks

The IRA continued attacking the RIC, destroying their homes and stealing their weapons and money. Michael Collins, a leader of both the Sinn Féin party and the IRA, used spies to find the British forces and plan secret attacks. He also organized specially trained members to defeat important British leaders. In struggling to maintain strength against these secret attacks, the British put together their own team of intelligent secret agents to target the IRA.

From this point, the war got very bloody, brutal, and violent with many, many people losing their lives as a result. The Black and Tans responded to every attack against the British with their own, more violent attack, even against cities and civilians not directly involved in the war. The most memorable day of the war, known as Bloody Sunday, included many members of both the IRA and RIC being defeated, as well many innocent people. No one quite thought it was possible, but after this, the war got even more brutal with thousands of people losing their lives.

The Black and Tans in Ireland, 1921.

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