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The Donegal Awakening
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The Donegal Awakening is the first comprehensive history of a largely ignored area during the Irish War of Independence.
The Donegal Awakening is the first comprehensive history of a largely ignored area during the Irish War of Independence. Long perceived as one of the quietest counties during this period, Donegal's reputation belies the intriguing story of how republican sentiment grew in the county from the first mention of Sinn Fein from a policy to a political party.

The Donegal Awakening presents a new evaluation of the struggle for independence and charts the political growth of Sinn Fein, the birth of the Irish Volunteers, the role of the IRB and of the local involvement in the Howth Gunrunning operation in 1914. During this period Donegal also played host to a number of key players in the 1916 Rising including; Pádraig and Willie Pearse, Thomas McDonagh, Joseph Mary Plunkett and Roger Casement.

The Sinn Fein party took the lead in opposition to the British plans to introduce conscription to bolster the British army during the war in Europe culminating in the successful election of December 1918 where 73 Sinn Fein TDs were returned. Three Sinn Fein TDs were returned for county Donegal and they went on to represent the county in the First Dáil, which was inaugurated on 21 January 1921. This was closely followed by the first shots of the War of Independence, when two RIC constables were shot dead by Volunteers of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade.

The First Dáil operated as an underground government developing an independent legal system and later administrating their own local government structures. The War of Independence was now begun and the British authority in Ireland slowly ebbed away with the people turning their support for the governance of Dáil Eireann.

The Donegal Awakening traces this journey as the young Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army challenged the might of the British government and their army. There were many heroic episodes in the ensuing years with numerous attacks on the RIC and British military throughout Donegal. The war continued until July 1921 when the British government agreed a truce with the soldiers of the Irish Republic ending this phase of the struggle for Irish independence.
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