Florence O'Donoghue

Florence O'Donoghue

Florence O'Donoghue (1895–18 December 1967) was an Irish historian and head of intelligence of the Cork No. 1 Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence.

He was born in Rathmore, County Kerry, Ireland in 1895. He moved to Cork in 1910, where he worked as an apprentice in the drapery trade.

Military life

The 1916 Easter Rising was a watershed in O'Donoghue's life. [John Borgonovo, "Florence and Josephine O'Donoghue's War of Independence: A Destiny That Shapes Our Ends", Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006] In December 1916, Florence joined the Cork branch of the Irish Volunteers. In early 1917, he was elected unanimously 1st Lieutenant of the Cyclist Company and as result devoted all his spare time to Volunteer work. He began writing weekly for two years for the "Irish World" newspaper. By May 1917, he was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood and in October, Tomás Mac Curtain appointed O'Donoghue as communications of the Cork Brigade. He replaced Pat Higgins as Brigade Adjutant in February 1917. O'Donoghue was a key organiser in the sensational jail-break of Captain Donnchadha Mac Niallghuis on Armistice Day 1918 and took personal responsibility for his protection. Michael Collins was the last officer from Volunteers General Headquarters to visit Cork shortly after Christmas 1919, until the truce in 1921.

O'Donoghue built up an intelligence network and agents which included his future wife, Josephine Marchment. She was head female clerk at the 6th Division Headquarters at Victoria Barracks, Cork and passed on secret British Army correspondence to him. Florence recruited people to open letters, tap phone lines and intercept telegrams. The Irish Republican Army had 2,000 active members in Cork which were also used for intelligence gathering. By March 1920, after killing a RIC Inspector, Florence was on the run and serving full time in the Irish Republican Army. In November that year, the Cork Brigade killed six British Amy Officers and executed five Cork civilians on suspicion of spying.

After two and a half years of fighting, a truce was agreed on 11 July 1921. When the Dáil approved the Anglo-Irish Treaty, in January 1922, the army split into pro- and anti-treaty camps. Over the coming months and after being elected onto the army’s executive as Adjutant-General, O'Donoghue warned of the dangers of an Irish Civil War. In June 1922, he resigned from the army's national executive and a month later, on 3 July 1922, from the army. Civil war did break out on June 28 1922 between pro and anti treaty factions, much to O'Donoghue's dismay.

During the civil war, he remained neutral and tried to organise a truce to end the fighting. In December 1922, he formed a group called the "Neutral IRA", along with Sean Hegarty, composed of pro-truce IRA men. O'Donoghue claimed he had 20,000 members in this group. He campaigned for a month's truce between the two sides, so that a political compromise could be reached. However, his efforts came to nothing and in March 1923, he wound up the "Neutral IRA", judging that its objectives could not be achieved. The civil war ended in late April 1923.

He served as Major in the Irish Army from 1939-1946. He formed a Supplementary Intelligence Service that would remain behind enemy lines in the event of an invasion. He also taught guerrilla war tactics to new army recruits.

Home life

Florence married Josephine Marchment in April 1921 and had four children. There were also two children from Josephine’s first marriage. He became a rate collector and remained outside politics.

In later years he became a respected historian. While in the army he edited "An Cosantóir", the Irish Army’s magazine. He convinced Éamon de Valera to establish the Bureau of Military History which would record personal accounts from the Irish War of Independence. O'Donoghue was a recording officer until 1948. His most famous work is his biography on Liam Lynch, entitled "No Other Law".

O'Donoghue died on 18 December, 1967 and Tom Barry gave the graveside oration.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • O'Donoghue — Donoghue or O Donoghue is an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Ó Donnchadha or Ó Donnchú ‘descendant of Donnchadh’, a personal name composed of the elements donn = ‘brown haired man’ or ‘lord’ + cath = ‘battle’. Spelling variations… …   Wikipedia

  • Dennis Florence MacCarthy —     Denis Florence MacCarthy     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Denis Florence MacCarthy     Well known Irish poet of the nineteenth century, born in Lower O Connell Street, Dublin, 26 May, 1817; died at Blackrock, Dublin, 7 April, 1882. His early… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Libau (1911) — p1 Libau p1 Schiffsdaten Flagge Vereinigtes Konigreich …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • 1967 in Ireland — Events*9 January Demonstrations by the National Farmers Association cause major chaos as farm machinery blocks many roads. *4 April The Fianna Fáil Party makes a presentation to former Taoiseach Seán Lemass. *18 April The Minister for Education,… …   Wikipedia

  • 1895 in Ireland — Events *3 April Oscar Wilde launches a criminal libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry Edward Carson . A.T.Q. Stewart, Gill’s Irish Lives, Gill Macmillan, Dublin 1981] . During the trial he collapses under cross examination by Edward… …   Wikipedia

  • Irish Republican Army (1922–1969) — This article deals with the Irish republican organisation opposed to the Anglo Irish Treaty, styling itself Irish Republican Army , as it existed from the time of the Treaty in 1921 to the split between the Official Irish Republican Army and the… …   Wikipedia

  • List of members of the Irish Republican Army — This is a list of members of the Irish Republican Army. Easter Rising Irish War of Independence: 1916 1922 A*Frank Aiken (1898 1983), a founding member of Fianna Fáil; commanded the Fourth Northern Division of the Irish Republican Army (IRA)… …   Wikipedia

  • Diarmuid Lynch — (10 January 1878 – 9 November 1950) was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Sinn Féin member of the First Dáil. Contents 1 Early life 2 Career 3 Emigration to US 4 …   Wikipedia

  • Stevie Smith — Florence Margaret Smith, genannt Stevie Smith, (* 20. September 1902 in Kingston upon Hull; † 7. März 1971 in London) war eine englische Schriftstellerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Schaffen 2 Werke (Auswahl) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Britische Schriftsteller — Dies ist eine Liste englischsprachiger Schriftsteller. Für eine Unterteilung nach Herkunftsland siehe auch: Liste amerikanischer Schriftsteller Liste britischer Schriftsteller Liste kanadischer Schriftsteller Liste irischer Schriftsteller Liste… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”