New ‘War of Friends’ civil war exhibition at Galway City Museum


A new exhibition will open in Galway City Museum exploring the Civil War shooting of Pádraic Ó Máille and the reprisal execution of Liam Mellows.

Entitled ‘War of Friends, 1922-23: The Civil War story of Pádraic Ó Máille and Liam Mellows’, the exhibition displays rare photographs and personal items belonging to both Ó Máille and Mellows.

Highlights include a revolver gifted by Michael Collins to Ó Maille on his wedding day and the last letter written by Liam Mellows before his execution.

Produced as part of Galway City Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme 2022, the exhibition is funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. It will run until 24 May 2023, the centenary of the end of the Irish Civil War.

In December 1922, Liam Mellows and three other Republican leaders were executed in reprisal for an attack on politicians Pádraic Ó Máille and Seán Hales.

Former military and political allies, Ó Máille had served under Mellows during the Easter Rising in Galway and both men had represented the county in the first and second Dáil.

Liam Mellows, in his last letter to his mother, Sarah, written from his cell in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin on the morning of his execution, said: “The time is short, and much that I would like to say must go unsaid.

“But you will understand; in such moments heart speaks to heart. At 3.30 this morning we (Dick Barrett, Rory O’Connor, Joe McKelvey and I) were informed that we were to be executed as reprisal.”

Its display at Galway City Museum will be the first time that it has been on public exhibition.

Galway City Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 5pm. Admission is free.

For full details on all upcoming events and exhibitions visit