Irish War of Independence - Shemus Cartoons - June.1920


Cartoons were not a new feature of the Irish newspaper business one hundred years ago but certainly was transformed by the arrival of Ernest Forbes, to the staff of the Freeman’s Journal in 1920.


Using the pseudonym ‘Shemus’, he was the first regular cartoonist on an Irish daily newspaper and his cartoons during the during the War of Independence and Civil War were widely published and distributed. Cartoons in the radical newspapers contained in the Irish Newspaper Archive at this time also highlight the varying forms of propaganda, which were at play during the Irish War of Independence. Cartoons and depictions of what was happening in Ireland were highly effective and accompanied by accounts of actual events, were an important part of republican propaganda. Newspapers such as Old Ireland and The Sinn Feiner were just two of those who used cartoons regularly in their editions. Many of the cartoons in The Sinn Feiner newspaper 100 years ago related to thise which were used in the trial of Jerimiah O’Leary for sedition and were reproduced courtesy of ‘Bull’. In today’s blog post we hope you enjoy a selection of these which first started to appear in number from June 1920 onwards.



Source: Old Ireland, 19 June 1920, page 310; Old Ireland, 26 June 1920, page 324; see The Sinn Feiner, 21 August 1920, page 5; The Sinn Feiner 1920-1921, Saturday, June 26, 1920