About the book

240 native born Irishmen fought in the International Brigades (IB) for the Spanish republican cause. Their losses were very heavy: 70 fatalities (30%), and most men were wounded at least once. The Irish fought in the British, American and Canadian battalions of the 15th International Brigade.

Six men from Limerick city and county volunteered to fight on the side of the Spanish Republican Army in the civil war of July 1936 to March 1939. They saw themselves as fighters for European liberty, determined to stop the rise of international fascism.

The recognised leader of the Irish in Republican Span was Frank Ryan, the famous IRA leader, public speaker and publicist. None of the six Limerick volunteers were living in Limerick when tehy decided to go and fight in Spain: Paddy Brady, Gerrard Doyle, and Joe Ryan lived in Britain, Maurice Ryan in France, and Jim Woulfe in Canada. Frank Ryan was a resident of Dublin since 1921 (interrupted by internment, 1922-23) and he led the first Irish contingent from Dublin to Spain, departing on 11 December 1936.

This book tells their story: Paddy Brady, Joe Ryan and Gerrard Doyle survived, but Jim Woulfe was killed in action, Emmet Ryan was executed by his own side, white Frank Ryan, as is well-known, was captured in March 1938, handed over tot he Germans in 1940 and died in Dresden in 1944.

About the author

Barry McLoughlin was born in Boherboy, Limerick, in 1949, attended the Crescent College and qualified as a historian with degrees from UCD and Vienna University. At present he is a Senior Lecturer at Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien, teaching Contemporary History and Irish History.