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Read a piece by Fearghal McGarry on the Centenary Classics in the Irish Examiner, 21 March 2016

Free State or Republic?

Padraig De Burca (author)
John F. Boyle (author)
Patrick Murray (author)
Fearghal McGarry (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
27th October 2015

Author Biography

Padraig de Burca (1893-1975) was Chief Leader Writer and Literary Editor of the Irish Independent. In 1931 he was called to the Irish Bar and was recognised by the Law Library as an expert in the law of landlord and tenant and the law of defamation. Of his co-author, John F. Boyle, little is known. Patrick Murray holds doctorates from the National University of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. He was a lecturer in English in St Patrick's College Maynooth and is the author of Oracles of God: The Roman Catholic Church and Irish Politics, 1922-37 (Dublin, 1999). Fearghal McGarry is a lecturer in Modern Irish History at Queen's University Belfast.


The Centenary Classics series examines the fascinating time of change and evolution in the Ireland of 100 years ago during the 1916-23 revolutionary period. Each volume is introduced by Fearghal McGarry who sets the scene of this important period in Ireland's history. Free State or Republic? provides eye-witness accounts by two reporters from the Irish Independent newspaper of the historic Treaty debates of Dail Eireann, held in University College Dublin's Earlsfort Terrace building in December 1921 and January 1922. Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith and a host of other participants come to life. The colourful descriptions of the scene and of the reactions to speeches, written while the debates were in progress, are far more revealing than the published record of the debates. This book was originally published in 1922 and the introduction by Patrick Murray constructs a modern analysis of these lively debates.