Frongoch internment camp

Coordinates: 52°56′20″N 3°37′55″W / 52.939°N 3.632°W / 52.939; -3.632
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52°56′20″N 3°37′55″W / 52.939°N 3.632°W / 52.939; -3.632
Marker stone and plaque at Frongoch on the side of the A4212 road

Frongoch internment camp at Frongoch in Merionethshire, Wales was a makeshift place of imprisonment during the First World War and the 1916 Easter Rising.


Frongoch prisoners of war from the Easter Rising of Ireland

1916 the camp housed German prisoners of war in a yellow distillery and crude huts, but in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland, the German prisoners were moved and it was used as an internment camp for approximately 1,800 Irish republicans, among them such notables as Michael Collins, who were accorded the status of prisoners of war. Among the prisoners were the future Hollywood actor Arthur Shields[1] and sportsman and referee Tom Burke. It is a common misconception that Éamon de Valera was also imprisoned at Frongoch.[2][3]

The Irish Republican internees elected their own commandants (this practice was followed in future imprisonments/internments) and established a chain of command.[4] The camp became a breeding ground for the guerillas of the Irish rebels, with inspired organisers such as Michael Collins giving impromptu lessons in guerrilla tactics. Later the camp became known as ollscoil na réabhlóide, the "University of Revolution".[5]

Lord Decies was appointed as Chief Press Censor for Ireland after the Rising in 1916, and he warned the press to be careful about what they published. William O'Brien's Cork Free Press was one of the first papers he suppressed under the Defence of the Realm Act 1914 (DORA regulations) after its republican editor, Frank Gallagher, accused the British authorities of lying about the conditions and treatment of republican prisoners at the camp.[6]

The camp was emptied in late December 1916 when David Lloyd George replaced H. H. Asquith as Prime Minister.[7] The local Welsh medium school, Ysgol Bro Tryweryn, now stands on the site of the internment camp, but a commemorative plaque stands nearby, with inscriptions in Irish, Welsh and English.

In 2016, the hundredth anniversary of the internment of Irish prisoners at Frongoch, the local community organized a number of commemoration events and the history of the camp was widely reported.[8][9]

Capt M. W. O'Reilly ==List of notable internees involved in the Easter Rising==

This list is not complete.[10]


  • Brennan-Whitmore, W, With the Irish in Frongoch (Dublin 1918; republished 2013)[13]
  • Ebenezer, Lyn, Fron-Goch and the birth of the IRA (London 2006)
  • O'Mahony, Sean (1987). Frongoch: University of Revolution. Dublin: FDR Teoranta.


  1. ^ Boylan, Henry (1999). A Dictionary of Irish Biography. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  2. ^ "Frongoch: Whisky Makers and Prisoners of War".
  3. ^ During this time de Valera was held at Dartmoor, Maidstone and Lewes prisons.
  4. ^ McGuffin, John (1973), Internment!, Anvil Books Ltd, Tralee, Ireland, pgs 27-28.
  5. ^ Granville, David (4 October 2002). "Plaque marks Frongoch internment camp". Irish Democrat.
  6. ^ Peter Martin Censorship in the two Irelands 1922-39, Introduction p.9, Irish Academic Press (2008) ISBN 0-7165-2829-0
  7. ^ McGuffin, pg 28.
  8. ^ "Marking 100 years - Frongoch, Wales - a unique place in Irish history".
  9. ^ Kennedy, Maev (27 December 2015). "Welsh village summons ghosts of Ireland's revolutionary past". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Fingal fighters were held in Welsh prison camp". Irish Independent. 12 April 2006.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "List of prisoners' names", Frongoch
  12. ^ Maddock, Fergal. "Skerries honour for Irish volunteer Thomas Hand". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  13. ^ With the Irish in Frongoch. Mercier Press. 7 June 2013. ISBN 9781781172124.

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