The consequence of independence fight

Ladywell Cemetery contains the grave of an army officer who died in a famous shootout in Dublin 100 years ago last week, as the war between Irish republicans and the British reached its conclusion. MIKE GUILFOYLE tells the story…

A hundred years ago this month, on October 14, 1920, and set against the Irish War of Independence, a famous shootout occurred in Talbot Street, Dublin between the legendary Irish Republican leader from Tipperary, Sean Treacy and British Intelligence agents from M15, which resulted in the deaths of the IRA man, a bystander and a British Officer, Lieutenant Gilbert Arthur Price, whose family address was on Marsala Road, Ladywell.

The incident was dramatically captured by an eyewitness and the photograph seen in this article achieved an iconic status, purportedly showing as it did Lt. Price firing his revolver moments before he was killed.

Seán Allis Treacy, was 25 when he died. He was one of the leaders of the Third Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence.

It had been his actions that initiated the conflict in 1919.

A memorial card for Sean Treacy, who is also remembered in a well known folk song called The Ballad of Sean Treacy.

He was killed in Talbot Street in Dublin, in a shootout with British troops and spies during an aborted British Secret Service surveillance operation – they were following him in the hope he would lead them to republican leader Michael Collins.

Treacy was shot as he worked out he was being tailed and tried to flee on a bike.

The entire confrontation had been witnessed by a 15-year-old Dublin trainee photographer, John J Horgan, who captured the scene moments after the shooting, showing Treacy lying dead on the pavement and Price propped up against a doorway a few feet away.

But does the shooting picture show the incident taking place?

When restoration work was done on its archives by the Irish Film Institute, it eventually revealed that this iconic picture was in fact a still from a 1926 silent film called Irish Destiny made to mark the tenth anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

And rather than being Lt Price the photo features an actor.

The remarkable story of the Talbot Street shootout has always intrigued me and Lt Price’s grave has often featured as an evocative stop during guided walks undertaken by members of the Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries.

The family headstone lies in Ladywell cemetery, near to Ivy Road and is a designated Commonwealth War Grave. Lt Price who was born in 1895 served in the London Regiment and later the Tank Corps during the First World War before joining military intelligence in Dublin.

On the day of the centenary of this fateful event, October 14, members of the Tank Regiment laid a wreath at the site in his memory.

The headstone of Lt Gilbert Arthur Price lies in Ladywell cemetery .

In a poignant if confused correspondence after his son’s death, his father, Henry Calvert Price was claiming compensation.

But the claim was, it appears, late, because it was noted he only heard accidentally about his son’s death in Jan 1921.

He asked the military for evidence of his son’s death, but it was refused.

The recorder allowed the case to stand.

But the gallant Lt Gilbert Arthur Price had already been laid to rest in Ladywell cemetery on October 20, 1920.


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