Frongoch internment camp

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Coordinates: 52°56′20″N 3°37′55″W / 52.939°N 3.632°W / 52.939; -3.632 Frongoch internment camp at Frongoch in Merionethshire, Wales was a makeshift place of imprisonment during the First World War. Until 1916 it housed German prisoners of war in an abandoned 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 a place of internment for approximately 1,800 Irish prisoners, among them such notables as Michael Collins. They were accorded the status of prisoners of war. Another of the prisoners was the future Hollywood actor Arthur Shields.[1] It is a common misconception that Éamon de Valera was also imprisoned at Frongoch.[2][3]

The camp became a fertile seeding ground for the spreading of the revolutionary gospel 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".[4]

Lord Decies was appointment 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 situation of republican prisoners at the camp.[5]

The camp was emptied in December 1916 when David Lloyd George replaced H. H. Asquith as Prime Minister.

Marker stone and plaque at Frongoch on the side of the A4212 road

The local school Ysgol Bro Tryweryn now stands on the site of the former 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. [6][7]


  • Brennan-Whitmore, W, With the Irish in Frongoch (Dublin 1918)
  • Ebenezer, Lyn, Fron-Goch and the birth of the IRA (London 2006)
  • O'Mahony, Sean, Frongoch University of Revolution (Dublin 1987)


A website in English, Welsh and Irish dedicated to the history of Frongoch camp, including a list of Irish prisoners’ names:


  1. ^ Boylan, Henry (1999). A Dictionary of Irish Biography. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4. 
  2. ^ The Green Dragon No 4, Autumn 1997
  3. ^ During this time de Valera was held at Dartmoor, Maidstone and Lewes prisons.
  4. ^ Irish Democrat, 4 October 2002
  5. ^ Peter Martin Censorship in the two Irelands 1922-39, Introduction p.9, Irish Academic Press (2008) ISBN 0-7165-2829-0
  6. ^
  7. ^