The Independent Soviet Republic of Limerick…….



You probably didn’t know, and it also came as a surprise to me, that for 12 days, the city of Limerick in Ireland and its surrounding area was a self-declared Soviet Republic.

This came about at the start of the Irish war of Independence as a protest against the British Army`s declaration of Limerick as a “Special Military Area”. They called a general strike and declared themselves a Soviet state.
During the twelve days (15 to 27 April 1919) of the Soviet, they printed their own money, newspapers and organised a co-operative for the distribution of food.

There was a media frenzy as newspaper men made their way to Limerick to report on what was going on. The Chicago Tribune reported with a straight face that “ when the bells of the nearby St Munchin`s Church tolled the Angelus, all the red- badged Soviet soldiers all stood and blessed themselves”.

The whole thing was not as crazy as it initially sounds as there was a Soviet republic in Hungary and several German towns, as well as mass factory occupations in Italy. And a few years later in 1921 the Arigna mines in Leitrim, was taken over and was run as a Soviet for two months before the workers got a pay rise and handed back the mine to its owners.

Anyway back to the Limerick Soviet, it was always going to end in tears even though they went as far as applying to join the Soviet Union, but apparently somebody lost the form.

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