I’m a 30 year old Irishman, with an interest in military history, strategic study, sport, politics, science fiction, fantasy and much, much more! I’m a Masters Graduate in the subjects of Military History and Strategic Study from NUI Maynooth at the Centre for Military History. My thesis focus was County Limerick in the Irish Civil War.

In this blog I write about Irish history politics, book/media reviews and anything else that comes to mind. I have a specific focus more recently on post series, such as my Ireland’s Wars and Reading List series

39 Responses to About

  1. Eoghan Fallon says:

    This is a fantastic blog, fair play!

    • padraig says:

      I totally agree ! I am into history but this explodes it outwards and shows all of it’s detail

  2. MaxJam says:


    Fantastic blog, only found it today.

    Would love to see you hit the current red ar$ed government with questions about their defence policy.

    From what I can see it seems that FG have capitulated to labour on all aspects of their 800 odd word defence policy bar the medical services review. As a serving NCO with the Reserve Defence Forces I would really like to know what they plan to do about our decimated numbers? Most Companys are currenly operating at platoon minus strength. Its had an appalling effect on morale in the RDF. Everyone you speak to is polarised, either believing that at any second the recruitment embargo will be lifted or else the RDF will be completely disbanded.

    The embargo is not just culling numbers, its also affecting the ability of the RDF to continue. Without promotions we cannot continue to retain training staff to train recruits if they allow us to take more in again. If they suddenly allow recruitment you could see a situation whereby we have lost the knowledge carrying resources and will have to effectively be rebuilt which could increase costs to the PDF. Many newer NCO’s have gone through the PDF designed centralised NCO promotion course and now find themselves unable to share that knowledge with troops as there are hardly any to train! My own unit has about 8 NCO’s circling a single platoon, we have to rotate lesson plans as such so some training nights as an NCO you sit in the back of the room with little to do. Soul destroying stuff to arrive straight off an NCO course and sit there with your hands tied.

    I hope they make a decision soon.

    Either way, thanks for this blog, you are now ‘favorited’ 🙂

    • HI – I discovered your blog today – a good read and a very interesting perspective on the other 29 Seanad runners. It is appreciated

      I have never run for an election before or have never been at a count or involved in a party ( political one that is) While the other 29 runners are very impressive, in our fist and only debate ( with Vincent Browne) with some great exceptions I was surprised by the disconnect from what I see as reality – but then others might differ, On a personal basis I would hope to make a real contribution and have no aspirations to ‘ Boil the Ocean’ however based on my track record in the ‘real word’ ( one event alone I brought to Ireland and work for on a totally voluntary basis generated 100m direct proven economic benefit)

      The process alone of going forward has been very interesting and challenging. Also it makes me respect many politicians, though it is totally clear that we do need a radical shake-up on how we run our Island in the North Atlantic.

      All I would ask that you read the various articles I have written ( including todays Friday in the Irish Times) and then perhaps take a view on giving me your Number One.

      Regardless I thank you for your interest, time and courtesy.

      Enda O’Coineen

      • NFB says:

        Thank you for your comments and kind words. I’ve already voted, but best of luck with the rest of your campaign.

  3. HandsofBlue says:

    You’re very welcome.

  4. Krishnan says:

    Just found your blog today while looking for the Decisive Battles of the World and was impressed but what really brought me over to your side was your trenchant analysis of the Battle of Helm’s Deep as depicted in the second LotR movie …. kudos ….

  5. Great blog, looking forward to getting some time to read it. I’ve just started a blog of my own on Soviet war memorials, museums, etc…


    It’s very light on content at the moment as I’m just getting used to the whole process but hopefully I’ll be adding a lot to it over the coming weeks and months. Good to see a fellow LOI fan btw…what chances of a Sligo v Limerick league cup final?

    • HandsofBlue says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Best of luck on your own blog, and I would think that Sligo would be more interested in the league really!

  6. Hi! 🙂 I nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award, check it out here:- http://momentsnotmemories.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/reader-appreciation-award-ta/ 😀 love the blog.

  7. Very interesting blog! Only had time to glance over it today – will take a closer look tomorrow.
    My Da, a veteran of the Sunday uprising in Cork and I, a veteran of Vietnam. We both had our deeds of valor trashed by the political class of our era. Then again, most patriots experience this sooner or later.

    Keep writing young – it needs to said!

  8. ClevoBobby says:

    Hello there. Your LOTR entries are well written and informative. Do you have a direct e-mail address with which I can contact you? I have a couple questions. Thanks! ClevoBobby@yahoo.com

  9. Very interesting blog, thank you!

  10. Tim Cinead says:

    As a long lost descendant of Irish emigrants I appreciate your efforts.

  11. Dean says:

    No club called shams.

  12. A chara,
    Love your entries on Irish History – I have already learned so much here.

    I have a burning question that I really hope you may be able to answer: Do you know if the term “Good Wife / Goody” was used by Irish Catholics circa 1650?

    Obviously in widespread use by English and Scots protestants in the period, so might it have crossed over to Catholics (perhaps in an Irish language version such as “Bean Maith”)?

    The only evidence I can find of its use in reference to an Irish woman is the witchcraft trial of Goody Glover in Boston in 1688, but this may have been applied to her by the court and not used by Anne Glover herself .

    In your research have you come across its use in Ireland amongst Catholics or do you know of an Irish alternative that was perhaps widely used?

    It would be brilliant if you knew the answer to this as I can find no-one else who even has a clue!

    Go raibh maith agat,


    • NFB says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comments.

      Unfortunately, I cannot say that I have noticed the use of the name “Goody” in the various sources, primary, secondary and online, that I use for my historical writing. Most of the primary material, as is common for most of the world unfortunately, doesn’t care a jot for the women of any period I have studied.

      I would be confident enough that an Irish language version of the name would not have been used – it does not look familiar to me, and I have had no brush with it during my own education in the language – and I would have presumed that such a name, as you said, would have been more British/Protestant in origin and nature.

      Best of luck with whatever you are working on.


  13. Hi NFB! Wondering if you can help me.

    Don’t know where to turn to on this one and wondering if you can assist or at least point me in a direction where I might find an answer.

    My community in Limerick is preparing a local history which will be published end this year in book form. The area in question is called Grange, near Bruff.

    On 08 February 1920 there was an ambush on the British forces next to the bridge in Grange village. I was born and lived in the house (called O’Neills at the time) that the ambushed was launched from. My mom & dad still reside there. I have managed to collect 8 different accounts which were sworn statements by participants as part of an Irish Government programme some 30 years later – which you are well familiar with no doubt.

    One aspect of the ambush that remains unanswered locally to this day, and in all 8 statements, is the extent of British casualties. Would be fantastic if someone who has access to such records could provide an account from the British forces side. Any ideas?



    PS – Super blog!

    • NFB says:

      Hi Michael

      Thanks so much for your kind comments.Sounds like an interesting project, but I’m afraid that I can’t really be of much help, my first thought being the BMH statements which I presume is what you have already consulted. British casualties from ambushes during the WOI have always been a tricky thing to determine. Aside from the newspaper archives of the time, which I believe are still housed in microfilm form in the Limerick City Library (I consulted them for my MA Thesis, and they were very helpful, but that was for events in 1922, and I don’t know how much further back they go), the only thing that I could suggest, if you had the time or resources, would be to visit the Kew Archives in London, or maybe contact somebody there and see if they could help you. Kew is, from what I have heard from others, generally the best place to go for anything regarding the British military in that period. A search of British Parliamentary records, which I believe are freely available online still, might also find something, as ambushes were brought up in the chamber fairly regularly.

      Sorry that I can’t be of more help.


  14. Thanks NFB. Great help. Will ask some of my London contacts to do the needful for me. Cheers.

  15. I found you through your Chapter-by-Chapter breakdown of the Lord of the Rings (Three is Company if you’re curious–I was trying to figure out the name of the chapter in which Frodo and Sam met the Woodland Elves). I was curious to know what sort of person would take such a thorough look at Tolkien, but your background in military history is highly unexpected (although, I suppose in a roundabout way, it makes sense as there are a ton of battles in LotR). Anyway, cool blog, dude!

  16. niamhbird says:

    Thankyou for your wonderful insights into the history of Irish wars, I found accidently while doing research into some of the names mentioned in some of the old songs I sing. Good luck and keep it up!

  17. Really excellent work here. I just ran into your blog while hunting down information on the Burke Civil War. More specifically, I’m trying to nail down claims that a branch of the Staunton family was connected to the assassination at Lough Mask, and more specifically, that that branch fractured into the McEvilly’s and Culkin.

    Would you happen to have any guidance here in terms of sources, or probably more broadly, have you run across this narrative in your work?

    Again, thanks for the excellent work,

  18. Stephen Cavanagh says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog very much today. Love the stories about Ireland’s Wars. I better get some work done now!

  19. Jim Fitzgerald Gonzales says:

    Love the blog. Totally represents the mind of an academic. I recommend you post your graduate work in the blog as your personal contribution to the conversation. Would love to read it.

  20. John Meagher says:

    Hi, while conducting some family research I discovered that a relative of mine was found guilty of treason-felony in Glasgow in 1883 following the bombing of a local gasworks. He Peter Callaghan was born in Ireland about 1837 and moved to Scotland from Armagh sometime before 1865 when he was married. I discovered your blog having done a search on “Ribbonmen”, which was a new term to me, and was mentioned in relation to my GG uncle.

    I’m wondering if you could perhaps point me in the direction of where/how I might further research this organisation?

    Many thanks in advance


    • NFB says:

      Hi John

      The “Ribbonmen” had largely fallen from prominence by 1883, though the term itself may well have still be used to describe any number of ideologies connected to Irish nationalism.

      My own research on the Ribbonmen was almost entirely online-based, so I wouldn’t be able to help you much beyond what Google could easily tell you. But if this ancestor of yours was involved in bombings at that time, it’s more likely he was connected to the Fenian Brotherhood or the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Shane Kenna’s “War In The Shadows” is an excellent submission of the bombing campaigns of that time.

  21. franklparker says:

    Hi Just discovered you via a link to your review of Pilgrimage which appeared in my FB feed. It looks like a blog I ought to have discovered a long time ago. Anyway, I’ve subscribed now and will start exploring.

  22. Daniel Paolini says:

    Hi there, fantastic work on this!

    I’m also 27, and in 2010 I received one of 10 perfect grades given out in a century by King’s College, Western University in London Ontario for a paper on the wars of the three kingdoms in Ireland.

    Your two entries on Tory guerilla warfare in the early 1650s are the most detailed I’ve come across. Vast majority of sources literally just say “tories carried our guerilla warfare” theb move on.

    Can you shoot me the names of the sources, whether primary or secondary, that cover those ambushes/raids?

    Daniel Paolini

    • NFB says:

      Thank you

      To be honest, it’s been a few years since I wrote those entries and I’ve always been bad at recording sources. But I can say O’Siochru’s “Gods’ Executioner” being quite helpful on the topic, along with a wide variety of older books from the 18th and 19th centuries, like the multi-part biography of James Butler, or Edmund Ludlow’s account of the period or “The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland”. At the time I was lucky enough to also have access to the Irish Defence Forces’s Training Centre library, which has a near-complete collection the Irish Sword, Ireland’s main military history periodical, that I took a great deal of info from.

  23. Roy Lacy says:

    Visited your Blog to research the ‘Flight of the Wild Geese’. I think the many readers of my book ‘de Lacy Chronicles’ and the accompanying website ‘www.delacychronicles.com. will also want to follow your blog. I hope you happy that I have included a link to send them to you.

  24. Brian Huvane says:

    I find your blog very interesting and informative

    With you permission, I hope to use a quote from your blog in a family history, for circulation within the O’hUbain ‘ clan. the quote is from July 24th’s blog about the Nine Years War and is:

    Hugh Roe assembled his army and allies at Ballymote, Sligo. With him went the loyal O’Donnell’s, the O’Connor’s of Sligo, those Burke’s that had not yet submitted to Rickard, the O’Rourkes of Leitrim, the MacDermots of Moylurg and the O’Kelly’s of Ui Maine.
    I’m speculating as to how Hobans ended up in Kilkenny and Tipperary in the mid 1600s, and that might explain it.
    Do you know of any accounts of the return of the remnants of the Northern army after Kinsale?
    Or will that be covered in one of your remaining blogs on the subject?

    Brian Huvane (O’hUbain)

  25. I have just found your article ‘Ireland’s Wars: Castles And Crusades’ here while doing some online research prior to writing an article of my own on crusading/er influences on Irish castle-building. I would love to know more about what the article was based on (there being no notes or references).

    I see from your biography that you have or had an interest in Co. Limerick. Are you a Limerick man? I live in Limerick myself and would love to get in contact. I have just subscribed to your blog.

    (Daniel Tietzsch-Tyler)

Comments are closed.