Darrell Figgis (1882-1925) was a journalist, author and nationalist propagandist. Joseph Johnston (1890-1972) had a distinguished career as a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and as a Professor of Applied Economics; he served in the Irish Senate on several occasions, and on various government commissions on agricultural topics. 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. Ernie O'Malley (1897-1957) is best known as a prominent officer with the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and took the Anti-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War. Mossie Harnett (1893-1977) was a farmer in Limerick and a Limerick County Councillor before moving to Dublin in 1939. P. S. O'Hegarty (1879-1955) was an active member of the Gaelic League and other Irish nationalist organisations as a young man. A prolific writer, he founded the Irish Bookshop in Dawson Street, Dublin. SERIES EDITOR. Fearghal McGarry is a lecturer in Modern Irish History at Queen's University Belfast.
The Centenary Classics contains six titles in this special edition series. The year 2016 marks the beginning of the centenary period of the Irish Free State's establishment. This beautifully produced limited edition series examines the fascinating time of change and evolution in the Ireland of 100 years ago. Each volume is a first-hand account of individuals or events during the 1913-23 revolutionary period. They are each introduced by leading experts and academics in the field - giving a contemporary analysis of the original text - while a general series introduction by Fearghal McGarry sets the scene of the period. The complete series collectively tells the story of the birth of the Irish nation and consist of the following six titles: 978-1-906359-94-2 A Chronicle of Jails - Darrell Figgis; 978-1-906359-95-9 Civil War in Ulster - Joseph Johnston; 978-1-906359-96-6 Free State or Republic? - Padraig de Burca and John F. Boyle; 978-1-906359-97-3 Rising Out - Ernie O'Malley; 978-1-906359-98-0 Victory and Woe - Mossie Harnett and 978-1-906359-99-7 The Victory of Sinn Fein - P. S. O'Hegarty.
‘These titles are not the usual “classics” of the period often thought of, but each gives a selection of vivid, and in some cases such as that of Darrell Figgis, almost forgotten experiences of life and politics.’
The Irish Catholic
'Greater familiarity with these sources — including the range of evocative first-hand accounts spanning the revolutionary decade from the Ulster crisis to the Civil War published as part of UCD Press’s new Centenary Classics series — should complicate as well as inform commemoration in 2016.
Although the achievements of the founding generation will be honoured and, inevitably, appropriated, the urge to celebrate independence should be tempered by an unsentimental understanding of the process by which it was achieved.'
21 March 2016
'UCD Press’s new ‘Centenary Classics’ series makes available eye-witness accounts of key revolutionary episodes including the Ulster crisis; the aftermath of 1916; the rise of Sinn Féin; the War of Independence; the Treaty split; and the Civil War. These provide first-hand perspectives on such topics as the significance of sectarian divisions; the impact of imprisonment on republicanism; the importance of popular mobilisation and guerrilla warfare; and the conflict’s divisive legacy.
These accounts offer many insights into the influences that shaped the revolutionary generation. The value of these texts does not lie solely in the factual light they shed on past events, they illuminate mentalities, as well as the memory of the revolution, a growing area of research.
These stories could be ‘made into a patchwork quilt from memory’. This aim alone provides a compelling reason to ensure the wider availability of eye-witness accounts, particularly during a period of commemoration in which politicians and others will claim to speak on their behalf.'
Fearghal McGarry, Queen's University Belfast
'These contemporary accounts by well known personalities of historical events and attitudes have an immediacy that conventional histories do not have. Introductions by modern historians provide additional historical background and, with hindsight, objectivity.'
'Scholars of nineteenth-century Irish and Irish-American politics should reacquaint themselves with these classics, part of a long running and immensely useful series from University College Dublin Press.'
Irish Literary Supplement
Civil War in Ulster:
'No student of politics, economics, history, sociology or anthropology ought to be without it.'
'a useful reminder that the apparent monolith of exclusivist unionism during Stormont was not inevitable and that other traditions may yet get the political space to re-emerge.'
Irish Economic and Social Review
'It was in the interests of too many leading politicians to leave Britain ignorant of nationalist Ireland, just as nationalist Ireland was ignorant of Britain... Men and women like Johnston... who were well informed about nationalist Irish and English political culture, were unfortunately rare. Much of the historical significance of Johnston's book lies in this exceptionality.'
'Civil War in Ulster is an astonishing book. Written in 1913 by Joseph Johnston who was then only 23 years old. It was an attempt to persuade Ulster Protestants that their fears of and rejection of Home Rule were unwise, and unwarranted. The depth of learning of history and the arrangement of the argument is breathtaking ... A great service has been done by University College Dublin Press in reprinting this erudite and readable book which is as relevant today as when written. Would that his logical advice had been followed!'
Mary Henry, Irish Independent
'a fine example of an alternative protestant tradition that has too often been forgotten, that is worthy of reprinting as an Irish classic.'
D. George Boyce, Irish Studies Review
'This book is a valuable and well-written aid to our appreciation of the situation early this century. It is not a prescription for dealing with the present position.'
Irish Emigrant Book Review
Chronicle of Jails:
‘there is a lot of day-to-day description of prison life for the Irish prisoners. The book is never dull and often lively, even though Figgis overrates his importance. … This is best described as an exercise in propaganda; it caught the tide, as Irish opinion turned in the aftermath of the rising against the British and towards the insurgents.’
'Prisons are tools of politics, both to detain opponents and as something to rally against. A Chronicle of Jails was an assortment of essays and memoirs written by Darrell Figgis in 1917. Originating as a piece of propaganda, this work has earned in its place among Irish and British history, and … proves to be a vital addition to any community or college library European history collection.'
The Midwest Book Review
'Anything written by O'Malley is of value. The artist's eye for landscape and nature redeems this from being a military manual.'
'[O'Malley] not only brings his own skill as a writer to the story but presents something bigger than a biography as he sets than a biography as he sets the war in its social context, in particular the role of the Catholic Church and the local gentry, and gives a vivid description of the activities of the IRA.'
Free State of Republic?:
'If journalism is the first draft of history, Free State or Republic constitutes primary source material.'
Victory and Woe:
'Although, neither eloquent nor written for effect, it reveals the unconscious poetry of a life attached to rural Ireland, its people and its places. It speaks of a generosity of spirit and an unselfconscious heroism beyond the emotional and ideological reach of latter-day revisionism.'
Irish Literary Supplement
The Victory of Sinn Fein:
'P. S. Hegarty's bitter and ferocious The Victory of Sinn Féin was published in 1924 in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. What makes it so gripping is the clarity with which it reflects a generally obscured aspect of the events it describes - the devastation and demoralisation of Irish nationalism by the Civil War. O'Hegarty's book is remarkable because of its point of view. You could quote long passages of it and if you did not identify the author most people would assume that they were written by a diehard unionist or a contemporary revisionist.'
Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times
Those who come to The Victory of Sinn Féin knowing its reputation as an anti-Republican diatribe and attack on Republican women will be surprised by its exultant celebration of the achievement of statehood.'
Patrick Maume, Queen's University, Belfast
Irish Political Studies
'written with the urgency of troubled times and still retain[s its] freshness and argumentative force: excellent material for seminar discussions ... well introduced by Garvin. His biographical essays are thoughtful, useful, and adopt an engaging combative stance on behalf of the writers. A welcome series. They are hardily and handsomely constructed: a credit to their publisher.'
Peter Hart, Queen's University Belfast