- This letter was written in March 1919 by a land agent in Tralee, County Kerry. He was probably from a Unionist background. In an area like Kerry he would have been in a very small minority.
- The writer is trying to make the Chief Secretary aware of the situation in Kerry. The Chief Secretary was the top British official in Ireland.
- This was a time of great upheaval in Ireland. In December 1918 Sinn Fein won most of the Irish seats in the General Election. In January 1919 the elected MPs refused to sit in Parliament in London. They set up their own government called Dail Eireann.
- Areas like Kerry strongly supported these Republicans. Many people followed their call to ignore the British government, stop paying taxes or going to court, and treat the Dail as their government instead. British government began to collapse in these areas, especially in the countryside.
- At the same time, Republican activists had already started attacking the police (Royal Irish Constabulary) and British army units in Ireland. They were using hit-and-run tactics. They had the support of many of the Irish people, which allowed them to hide themselves and their weapons and equipment.