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Limerick Vice-Commandant remembered in book by Pat Mc Sweeney



Pat Mc Sweeney in O’Mahonys Bookshop with his book, ‘The Forgotten Vice-Commandant’ 

Limerick Vice-Commandant remembered in book by Pat Mc Sweeney

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Ann Mc Donald

pat mc sweeney

The book is available in local bookshops in Limerick City Centre, in bookshops in the Crescent and Castletroy, and online




Limerick author Pat Mc Sweeney has released a book called, “The Forgotten Vice-Commandant, A Grandson’s Account of Johnny Mc Sweeney, Vice Commandant of the 2nd battalion Mid-Limerick Brigade, IRA.”

Pat, who is a registered Architect, Grade 2 Accredited Conservation Architect and Building Surveyor a partner in his own architectural practice Gleeson Mc Sweeney Architects in O’Connell St. Limerick, has spent almost 10 years researching his grandfather’s story. His interest began when his father would take him to his grandfather’s grave and would tell him stories about him.

Pat’s grandmother, who lived with his family, would show him mementoes she had kept of her husband, such as his service medal, a harp he made in Ballykinlar Internment Camp, and a picture of him upon his release from Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

“I had no structured knowledge of the details of any roles my grandfather undertook in the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, and the Civil War. Despite that, I always felt that he played a central role, which deserved to be uncovered and recorded,” Pat explained.

His search began in 2011 when he requested and researched his grandfather’s pension records, and from there, he began to uncover many avenues of research.

“Piece by piece, I started to unravel my grandfather’s story, and my document gradually took on a life of its own,” he said.

He explained that what finally became the book is far beyond his original intention. It is a culmination of all the information he has gathered and provides an insight into the life and events of Johnny Mc Sweeney in a chronological and fully referenced manner.

“I trust that this book will pay modest tribute to a man who gave himself unselfishly in the fight for Irish Freedom and to whom I am proud to be related. I also hope this publication will highlight Limerick’s understated role in the national struggle for independence,” Pat added.

In the recounting of Johnny’s activities, the whole story of the Irish struggle for independence is also told and explained in parallel through events that occurred both locally and nationally. It is told in an easy-to-understand, condensed but descriptive manner which makes no assumptions about the reader’s knowledge of the period. Therefore, although primarily a biography, this book is also an easily understood reference guide for those wishing to gain a better understanding of this important period in Irish history.

Johnny was not only a Company Captain and Vice-Commandant of the 2nd battalion of the Mid Limerick Brigade, but also player, referee and county treasurer of the GAA, Head Centre of a Limerick IRB Circle and a figure in the establishment of the Na Fianna Eireann and the Irish Volunteers in Limerick City.

He was one of six men outvoted at the crucial brigade meeting to determine whether to proceed with the planned 1916 easter insurrection in Limerick.

Johnny was interned during the Wat of Independence in Wormwood Scrubs, London, where he participated in the hunger strikes which gained international attention. He was subsequently held in Ballykinlar Internment Camp in Co. Down.

The book also includes photographs from the time, some of which are colorized.

It is available in all city centre local bookshops in Limerick, as well as the bookshops in the Crescent and Castletroy.

To buy ‘The Forgotten Vice-Commandant’ online go HERE

For more stories about Limerick authors go HERE 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.