George Lennon Flying Column Commander

Joe Kelly
2021 Ocean Ave., Suite 215
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-1605

Comac Morel’s new Gaelic language documentary (with English subtitles), “From War to Peace: The Life of George Lennon” for TG4 Ireland explores the extraordinary life of George Lennon.

Ivan Lennon, from Rochester, NewYork, growing up knew his father George as a pacifist and protestor of the Vietnam War. He had adopted Zen Buddhism in 1967 and became one of the founders of the Rochester Zen Center. In 1991 he died and was cremated, without ceremony, in accordance with his wishes.

Little did Ivan know what he would unearth when he delved into his fathers earlier life. After many years and numerous research trips back to the country of his birth, Ivan to his astonishment discovered, as the author of “Rebel Heart: George Lennon Flying Column Commander” Terence O’Reilly states, “George Lennon was one of the most unusual figures of Ireland’s struggle for independence.”

At 20 George was the youngest commander of a flying column during Ireland’s war of independence. The activities of Lennon’s column resulted in nearly a thousand British troops being deployed to Waterford, along with over two hundred RIC and Royal Marines.

He fought for the anti-treaty side during the Civil War and eventually came to question the fundamental tenets upon which an Irish Free State was to be established. When it became clear that the anti-treatyites had lost the war and that a guerilla campaign would prove ruinous for Ireland, causing the ordinary people to suffer, he voluntarily laid down arms and was left in peace by the pro-treaty forces. He began a path that would take him far away from the country he fought for, and very far from the path of violence.

Regarding his involvement in the I.R.A., the younger Lennon says, “It was something that I never heard him talk about.” Before he died, George had become as much a proponent for peace as he had been a fighting rebel.

If you’d like more information about the life of George Lennon, or schedule an interview with Ivan Lennon, please call Joe Kelly at (310) 392-1605 or email Joe at

A Comment and Photos from the son of George Lennon, Ivan:

I am just gratified to know that your organisation’ Padraig Og / Terry O’Reilly along w/ Cormac O’Malley and Waterford  Museum’s Eddie Cantwell and Tommy Mooney in Ardmore are garnering greater attn to the Volunteers and most notably the Deise Brigade and Column. See Terry’s book and Cormac Morel’s Nemeton docu O CHOGADH GO SIOCHAIN: SAOL GEORGE LENNON to be on TG4 next month. Plus I am showing it here in Rochester, N.Y. The play DAYS OF OUR YOUTH will be on the Dungarvan stage in November of next year.

W/in the week I have been contacted by 2 other sons of WW Volunteers – Ciaran McCarthy and  James Cullinane James just wrote a great book on growing up in Abbeyside ARSES AND ELBOWS

Plus attached re May release in Dungarvan of the docu.

Slan go foill

Pic is of my father and Belfast Commandant Roger McCorley – O Connell St 1939 en route to Old IRA meeting to offer their support during the Emergency Plus attached re May release in Dungarvan of the docu. Slan go foill Ivan


  1. joe o riordan November 19, 2012 at 12:11 am

    I would say that Sean Murphy has written the definitive account of the armed struggle in the Waterford area in his splendid tome Gunfire and rebellion in the Comeraghs. In it he accords due recognition to all the brave men of the flying column and the entire volunteer ontingent in the decies at the time. I would say that Mr Murphy has been singularly responsible for garnering full attention to the volunteers at the time and his work reflects this. Rebel Heart while a worthy book is far more subjective of the life of George Lennon and does not have the same spread of detailed subject matter as Mr Murphys effort. This is not to denigrate Terry O’Reillys book which I found to be an excellent read but it is as the title suggests a view on the life of just one of the combatants , however extraordinary that combatant was. The sad aspect of the revisionist and politically correct society we now live in , is that our current and recent local representatives with a few exceptions have failed these men through lack of recognition for their efforts. Streets and housing estates have been named after paid minor local representatives, Nobel Prize winners with a tenuous connection with the town, and TD’s while men such as Pax Whelan , Lennon, and any of the flying column have not been honoured as such. These were men who risked their lives without recompense or any desire for reward. A further example of this curent resistance to remembering these great men is the reluctance and hesitance of the local council to rename the civic offices after one of Irelands greatest patriots Cathal Brugha . These were young men with a burning sense of nationalism and served their country with honour and distinction. Every town square in Ireland should have a memorial to them as the British have for their war heroes. As time goes by their memories will too and with the centenary coming maybe now is the time to st these wheels in motion. Speaking from a personal viewpoint I believe that men such as my Grandfather John Riordan who was the brigade training officer and an active member of the Flying Column alongside the likes of Ned Kirby, the Mansfields, Paddy Ormonde, Paddy Lynch, Jim Prendergast, Sonny Cullinane,Mick Shalloe, Pakeen Whelan, George Kiely
    and George Lennon should have a public memorialto honour their deeds and courage.

  2. John Synnot September 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Saol George Lennon part two

  3. John Synnot September 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Online documentary part one

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