Varian-Spriggs Collection


Harry Varian


(Above)  Newspaper Clipping Irish Times April 26th 1969 The Aftermath of Defeat by Sean Cronin (Harry Varian pictured)


Harry (Henry) Varian was a volunteer member of the G and A Companies 1st Cork Brigade IRA during the Civil War. From letters and newspaper obtained through donation we know that he was interned in the Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare; letters from internment dated 1923, but length of his internment is unknown. Accounts from one Sean O’Connell (Captain, G Company 1st Cork Brigade IRA) stated that H. Varian was a Quartermaster in the company

Married to Elizabeth Spriggs, sister of Denis, who worked for a period of time as a nurse at the Cork Asylum (now apartment buildings).


Newspaper Clipping On The Death of Harry Varian

Service Medals of Harry Varian

Letters from Harry and Paddy Varian

Arrest Warrant for Harry Varian


Denis Spriggs


(Above) Denis Spriggs (from his memorial card)


On 8 July 1921, Denis Spriggs was abducted and killed by Crown Forces for his involvement in the IRA –– he was only 19 years old. His death reignited unrest among the IRA, just days before the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty. An in-memoriam card and the flag laid on Denis’ coffin are included in this collection. Spriggs’ brother-in-law, Harry Varian, was one of the many Republicans who didn’t approve of the impending  truce, and continued engaging in guerrilla warfare as a Quartermaster in the 1st Cork Brigade until he was interned by the newly-formed Free State in Curragh, Co. Kildare. The warrant for his arrest and letters from internment may be observed in this collection, along with his active service medals. Both Harry and his brother Paddy, were active in the Cork City IRA from 1916. Paddy was most notably involved in a prison-break at the Cork City Gaol in 1918. The Varian family was from Coachford, while the Spriggs family resided on Strawberry Hill, Shanakiel.

Many thanks to Marie Varian and her family for donating such a significant collection. 




Service Medal and Flag-Denis Spriggs

Letter to Lizzie Spriggs (sister)

Memorial Card and Photos-Denis Spriggs


*Note:In the collection: the flag lain on the coffin of Denis Spriggs, letters from Harry Varian while in the Curragh internment, medals belonging to H. Varian for his service, warrant for his arrest by the Free State for involvement in guerrilla warfare post-treaty, Newspaper clipping with a photo of him standing in the bed of a truck after being released from internment



(Above) Marie Varian and family donating the Varian-Spriggs items to Cork Public Museum curator Dan Breen 2022