Talk: The Life And Death Of Michael Fitzgerald by Gerard Shannon

An online talk I gave for Trasna na Tíre in May 2021 about Michael Fitzgerald, Cork IRA leader.

‘This is a fight to the finish’: The life and death of Michael Fitzgerald, Cork IRA leader

Not only the first republican hunger striker to die during the War of Independence, Michael Fitzgerald was a celebrated and fondly remembered leading figure in the Cork IRA. In his early life, he was a trade union activist and moved in cultural nationalist circles in the garrison town of Fermoy, Co. Cork. Fitzgerald was involved in pivotal, early Volunteer operations in the Fermoy area as the Irish War of Independence began. After a lengthy, dramatic imprisonment, Fitzgerald began a fateful hunger strike in Cork Jail that was to culminate in his death in October 1920 as the world was gripped by Terence MacSwiney’s own strike in London.

This talk illuminates the details of his short life, his very public death and the personal impact he had on the IRA leader Liam Lynch.

Gerard Shannon is a historian of the Irish revolutionary period and developing a new biography on the IRA Chief-of-Staff Liam Lynch for Merrion Press to see publication in 2022. He is a graduate of the DCU School of History and Geography. He is a resident of Skerries in north county Dublin.