Photograph, black-and-white, portrait, General Michael Brennan


Photograph, black-and-white, man in military dress uniform without hat. Scanned copy.

This is a scanned copy of a photograph of General Michael Brennan.

Michael Brennan was born in Meelick, County Clare on 2nd February 1896 and joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood at the age of fifteen – his brothers Patrick and Austin were already members. He was one of the founders of the Irish Volunteers in Limerick.

Brennan was arrested in the wake of the Easter Rising and interned for a period in Frongoch and was released in December 1916. Upon his release, he was asked to stand in the East Clare by-election of July 1917, but declined, instead he acted as bodyguard to Eamon de Valera during the campaign. After the election, the three Brennan brothers were arrested for illegally drilling. When arrested, they refused to recognise the court and went on hunger strike until political status was granted in September.

At the end of 1918 he took over command of the East Clare Brigade and in June 1920 he was elected chairman of Clare County Council. He used ‘cattle drives’ to recruit Volunteers. Under his aggressive leadership the East Clare Brigade became a highly effective unit. It guarded the captured General Lucas in July 1920 and took part in major actions at Kilmallock, Co. Limerick (20 May 1920), and in Clare at O’Brien’s Bridge (29 September 1920), Cratloe (13th January, 1921), Glenwood (20 January 1921), and Kilrush (24 April 1921); Brennan also saw action in Dublin on his visits there. In May 1921 he was appointed commander of the 1st Western Division, which combined the Clare and south Galway brigades.

He took the pro-Treaty side in Irish Civil War and he commanded a force that captured Limerick city after fierce fighting between 11th and 20th July, 1922. He subsequently oversaw the defeat of anti-Treaty forces in Clare. He rose through ranks in the 1920s, becoming Army Chief of Staff from October 1931 until January 1940.

He died in Dublin in October 1986.

Collection: Tom McGrath

Category: Visual Representation

2015.0043 (5095)