Irish Civil War · Press Release · Publications · Research Projects

New Book: The Six – The Lives and Memorialisation of Sligo’s Noble Six

Project: The Six – The Lives and Memorialisation of Sligo’s Noble Six

Directors: Dr. James Bonsall, Dr. Marion Dowd and Robert Mulraney

Location: Sligo

Year: 2022

Funding: Fourth Dimension Prospection, Caves of Ireland, Sligo County Council Museum Service

Book cover for The Six.

My latest book is called The Six – The Lives and Memorialisation of Sligo’s Noble Six. The Noble Six is a term used to describe six IRA men from the 3rd Western Division who were killed on the mountains north of Sligo during the Irish Civil War in 1922. The Noble Six are well known to Sligo locals, but mostly through the lens of their deaths. This book shines a light on the lives that the six men lived and how they have been memorialised over the last one hundred years.

You can purchase the book from

Liber bookshop, O’Connell Street, Sligo – online orders can be made here

Who were Sligo’s Noble Six?

In September 1922, the National Army closed in on the anti-treaty IRA headquarters at Rahelly House, north of Sligo town. After an intense firefight, approximately 60 men evacuated the house, making for the iconic mountain of Benbulben, with the intention of crossing the uplands to reach the safety of Tormore Cave – better known as the ‘Glencar hideout’. Several IRA men were captured on the mountains and imprisoned by the National Army. The Six focuses on six men who were shot and killed at two different locations in the uplands. These men – Divisional Adjutant Brian MacNeill, Brigadier Seamus Devins, Captain Harry Benson, Lieutenant Patrick Carroll, Volunteer Joseph Banks and Volunteer Thomas Langan – became known as Sligo’s Noble Six.

Top (l-r): Divisional Adjutant Brian MacNeill, Brigadier Seamus Devins, Captain Harry Benson
Bottom (l-r): Lieutenant Patrick Carroll, Volunteer Joseph Banks, Volunteer Thomas Langan

The pursuit, capture and deaths of these six men has often been discussed. Yet, apart from their deaths, little attention has been given to their character, their family lives and their backgrounds – until now.

The Six tells the individual stories of the six men, based on primary source evidence from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; augmented by secondary source material, primary witness interviews conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, and new interviews with descendants of the Noble Six and descendants of their friends.

The Six is written by myself, Dr James Bonsall, with Dr Marion Dowd (ATU Sligo) and Robert Mulraney (Independent Researcher).

You can purchase the book from Liber books online here

For international orders, contact me directly

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