An article about a bloody incident in Athlone in April 1922, a prelude of sorts to the Irish Civil War later in the year.

A Death in Athlone: The Controversial Case of George Adamson, April 1922

In the early hours of the 25th April, a group of officers from the pro-Treaty IRA stationed in Athlone were searching the streets for a missing comrade of theirs. When they saw a lone man loitering in a doorway, the leader of the party, Brigadier-General George Adamson, demanded to know his name.

"I know you, George. You know me, Adamson," came the cryptic reply. When the officers demanded at gunpoint that the stranger raise his hands, they found themselves confronted in turn by an armed group, who swiftly disarmed them.

At least, that was what happened according to the report from the pro-Treaty IRA GHQ later that day. The report went on to claim that the first stranger drew a revolver of his own and fired point blank through Adamson’s ear, into his head.

The blame for this incident was immediately lain on the anti-Treaty IRA who had remained in Athlone after being expelled from the military barracks a month before. Warfare between the two factions had been avoided with the mediation of the local clergy, and the leaders of both sides had agreed to a tentative truce, one that had seemingly been suddenly and shockingly broken.

But the anti-Treaty IRA denied any responsibility for the shooting, and made claims of their own about what had happened that night, which made the seemingly straightforward case considerably less so...


(George Adamson)