Frongoch was a prison camp in north Wales where some 1,800 Irish rebels were interned between June and December 1916 after the Easter Rising in Dublin. The city lay in ruins, the rebels' hopes had been dashed and the newly-declared Irish republic had been crushed by the might of the British Empire after only six days.
The Easter Rising had been fought by an alliance of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, masterminded by the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In Frongoch the men began to think of themselves as one body, the Irish Republican Army. Although the term had existed previously, Frongoch can rightly claim to be the birthplace of the IRA as a functioning force.
Scarcely five and a half years after their internment, the Irish had succeeded in wresting control of most of their country from one of the most powerful empires in the world. The foundations for this were laid at Frongoch.
Frongoch – Man Geni’r IRA is an account of this crucial yet neglected episode in Irish history, which took place on Welsh soil. It’s told through the words of the men who were actually there, as recorded in their memoirs and letters of the time, but focussing on three men in particular: Michael Collins, Joe Stanley and Séamas Ól Maoileóin.
Throughout 1916, Irish MPs in Westminster kept up a barrage of questions to try and embarrass the government into releasing the men of Frongoch. This was finally achieved just before Christmas, but not before the Irish prisoners had reconstituted themselves in a movement that would change Ireland forever.
© 2012 S4C
O Gymru / Made in Wales