Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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The Irish Republican Army, more commmonly known as the IRA, is a secret military, nationalist organisation. Planned and organized by Michael Collins after the Easter Rebellion in 1916, the IRA officialy formed in 1919 as an unregistered military force. Their most significant effort was to change the combined area of Ireland and Northern Ireland into a single country. The IRA was made up of Irish Volunteers and later on, after beoming the policital wing of Sing Fein had leaders such as Arthur Griffith and Eamon de Valera to associate with.

In the year that the IRA started, they began a guerrilla war, harassing police and military with sudden ambushes and violent force. This then leading the British Government to inforce the Government of Ireland Act in 1920. This dividing Ireland into 2 separate states, each with limited powers of self-government. The 2 parts Ireland, officially called the Republic of Ireland, which is made up of 26 counties and home to mainly Catholics and Northern Ireland, which is made up of 6 counties and home to mainly Protestants.

The IRA was still determined to make an Independent nation. The Catholics of Ireland disagreed with the act, this leading the IRA to continue the war until 1921. A treaty was then signed, making Ireland a dominion "" a self-governing country, this dominion was called the Irish Free State.

The treaty resulted in a major split in the IRA. One group, led by Michael Collins, accepted The Irish Free State and became part of the army for the Free State. The other group, led by Eamon de Valera and called the Irregulars, totally rejected the treaty because it showed very little signs of complete independence away from British rule and didn't bring a complete union with Northern Ireland. Early in 1922, civil...