Cart 0
All proceeds to The National Graves Association, Belfast.


All proceeds to The National Graves Association, Belfast

This book tells a remarkable and tragic story. It is a story of idealism and courage, of comradeship and comradeship betrayed.

The author James McVeigh, himself a former prisoner and IRA leader, who spent over sixteen years in British prisons, tells not just the personal story of Joe McKelvey but the remarkable times in which he lived and perished.

Lieutenant General Joe McKelvey was executed by a Free State firing squad in Mountjoy Prison on the 8th December 1922 at the young age of twenty-four.

Alongside him was three other Republican leaders, Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor and Richard Barrett, all of them prominent leaders of the anti-treaty IRA.

McKelvey, born in Stewartstown, Co Tyrone, had moved to the Falls Road in Belfast as a young teenager in 1914 on the eve of the First World War. Soon after his arrival he joined Na Fianna Éireann, and soon thereafter the IRA.

Joe’s father, a former RIC officer, would choose a different side and enrol in the British army.

Joe rose to prominence in the IRA, eventually becoming O/C of the Third Northern Division during the War of Independence. By the time the first shells fired in the Irish Civil War landed in the Four Courts in Dublin, McKelvey was the Assistant Chief of Staff of the anti-treaty IRA and the Commander of the Four Courts garrison.