Posts Tagged ‘Black and Tans’

Auxiliary Cadets and the ‘Black and Tans’

27 April 2010

Contributed by Donal Fallon

The following article aims to address what I see as a significant misunderstanding, even at the highest level of historical research, about state forces during the years of what is widely labeled the ‘War of Independence’. Auxiliary Cadets of the Royal Irish Constabulary are consistently lumped in with the seperate ‘Black and Tans’ to create the overall historical figure of the ‘Black and Tan’. Many events involving Auxiliaries, in popular Irish history, are associated with ‘The Tans’.

Florence O’ Donoghue, a leading republican involved with the Cork No.1 Brigade of the I.R.A, wrote of the differences between the two forces briefly in his article The Sacking Of Cork. The Royal Irish Constabulary, O’ Donoghue believed, had been strengthened by “..a reinforcement of British jail-birds and down-and-outs who had been hastily recruited into the force in England when candidates had ceased to offer themselves in Ireland. These instruments of despicable policy were the origin of the expression ‘Black and Tan’”. Read More

Review: Black and Tans at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery

24 March 2010

Contributed by Frank Bouchier Hayes

As a child, I spent quite a lot of time playing toy soldiers where the Germans were always victorious over the British and Americans because their uniforms were so attractive to my juvenile imagination. Such childhood play forms the basis for a collection of paintings by Mick O’Dea currently on display at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery in Dublin. O’Dea’s work is derived from photographs of combatants and politicians taken during the Irish War of Independence and attempts to understand the conflict from the British perspective. Those wishing to preview the exhibition can access a few images from the gallery website, or pick up a copy of the latest issue of the Irish Arts Review. Catherine Morris contributes a contextual essay available at the gallery to the intriguing collection of 26 portraits entitled ’Black & Tan’ which greatly assists one’s enjoyment and appreciation of the fruits of O’Dea’s research.

I would however take slight issue with a comment she makes about the men wearing “their guns in a way that anticipates John Wayne in the cowboy movies”. Read more