So technology aside with new guns, semtex etc what was the real difference between the two?
Anyone who watched the recent documentary 'In the Name of the Republic' (as biased as it was) will know that the Old IRA were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians perceived as British informants who were buried in unmarked graves up and down the country, likewise the war of independence was used by maNy as an opportunity to settle local feuds and in general was a very dirty war, something which many in modern times chose consciously or unconsciously to ignore. From searching the web a civilian death toll estimate is around 750 from a 3 year war.
If we look at on a purely numbers based there was 1,842 civilians killed (I'm aware that this number includes British killings and those by loyalists as the figure above includes the same factor, minus loyalists obviously) in a 30 year conflict. On a pro rata basis this constitutes only 8% in comparison to the WOI figures. Before anyone mentions it I am aware wars aren't exclusively a death toll game and the human, social and monetary cost are also at play but they're very hard to measure. As the famous phrase goes history is written by the winners so is it merely a case of the Old IRA won thus meaning our modern view of history is somewhat impartial? Is the crux of the difference the fact that there is no living memory of the Old IRA?
The major difference I can see is the IRA activity on mainland Britain but aside from that who did the two differ? Were the Provisionals merely a continuation of the goals/methods used by the Old IRA and indeed those of Hugh O Neill, Wolfe Tone and Pearse?