The story of the Hales family from Bandon epitomises the whole revolutionary period in Ireland. They were involved from the establishment of the Irish Volunteers in West Cork and were closely associated with well-known revolutionary figures, including Michael Collins, Tom Barry and Liam Deasy. Both Sean and Tom were company commanders in the IRA in the area. The signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 split the family and led to the two brothers taking opposing sides in the Civil War that would follow.
Tom Hales was the most senior Republican officer on the scene of the chaotic ambush at Beal na mBlath that led to the shooting of Michael Collins. Sean Hales was himself assassinated in Dublin by Republicans, following a vote in Dail Eireann to allow the Provisional Government to increase its powers to penalise Republican prisoners.The story of these brothers and the rest of the family gives a unique insight into life in Ireland in this tumultuous period.