I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Thomas Fitzgerald

The Republican Journey

A new study presents a largely sympathetic history of the Provisional Republican Movement as it has gradually moved away from violence and increased its electoral base. It also gives space – and sympathy – to the views of the dissidents, which is both a strength and a weakness.

The Fish and the Water

A study of the IRA’s relations with the people during the War of Independence reveals that while there was sometimes intimidation, its level can easily be exaggerated. Nor should one forget that the greater intimidation of the population came from the Crown forces.

Ministering to All

Families and generations were often divided over the wisdom of making war on the British. One west Cork IRA man recalled his patriotic parents saying “in the name of God, are you mad taking on the British Empire?”. Like the people the priests were also divided, although their difficulties eased somewhat with the arrival of the unambiguously invasive Black and Tans.

Half The Man

A new biography of Patrick Pearse neglects the important cultural and educational sides of his achievement and fails to build on or even engage with previous studies of the man who is probably the most interesting of the 1916 rebels.

The Risen People

The 1916 Rising can summon up more unanimity of feeling in the nation than many other events that occurred a few years before or after. Nevertheless, whatever our sympathy for the participants, we should be wary of considering it a well-planned military affair.

Lost Leaders

Two biographies of 1916 organisers Thomas MacDonagh and Eamonn Ceannt reveal strongly contrasting personalities, the former a cultured and cosmopolitan figure who saw his death as a symbolic sacrifice, the latter a determined fighter who had no wish to surrender or die.

The Insurrectionist

1916 leader Sean Mac Diarmada despised Ireland’s involvement in the British parliamentary tradition. He believed that an uprising, and the likely self-sacrifice of its leaders, would lead Ireland to independent nationhood.

Rebel Cork

The first of a projected three-volume study of revolution and war in Cork City examines the period from the Easter Rising to the Armistice.