This mini-documentary focuses on the capture of Longford revolutionary Seán Mac Eoin by British forces in Mullingar, which took place in March 1921.The capture of Mac Eoin was one of the headline events of the War of Independence in Westmeath and was a national story at the time.
Seán Mac Eoin, the famed ‘Blacksmith of Ballinalee’, was one of the most wanted men in Ireland when Crown forces caught up with him at Mullingar Railway Station on the evening of 2 March 1921. The Longford man had a reputation as a chivalrous but brutally effective guerrilla leader, and at the head of the Irish Republican Army’s North Longford flying column, his leadership made Longford a dangerous battleground for Crown forces. But his role in the War of Independence came to an end when he was identified and apprehended at Mullingar while returning from Dublin via train – the prelude to a dramatic escape attempt which ended with Mac Eoin being shot and captured.
The documentary involves a dramatic reconstruction of the events of March 1921, set against the backdrop of modern Mullingar. It also features Castlepollard resident Andy Donohoe, a nephew of Seán Mac Eoin’s, who talks about his memories of his famous uncle and the events of the spring and summer of 1921 – particularly how the intervention of Michael Collins spared Mac Eoin from execution.
The documentary is written and presented by Dr Paul Hughes – who was the Council’s Decade of Centenaries Historian in Residence from March- July – and was filmed and edited by Mullingar filmmaker Mark Bennett of CrossCut.ie. Action sequences in the documentary are performed by Andrew Dermody, Ken Fitzpatrick and Dave Swift. Historical reconstruction experts Claíomh (www.claoimh.ie), provided authentic uniforms, period clothing, weaponry and ephemera for the action sequences.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 25/08/2021