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Thomas Kettle

Senia Paseta (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
4th December 2008

Author Biography

Senia Paseta is a Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and the author of Before the Revolution: Nationalism, Social Change and Ireland's Catholic Elite, 1879-1922, A Very Short Introduction to Ireland, and she edited Thomas Kettle's Open Secret of Ireland for UCD Press's Classic of Irish History series.


Thomas Kettle: political activist, journalist, orator, poet, essayist, lawyer, nationalist MP, professor, recruiter, soldier and casualty of war. Born on 9 February 1880, he was killed in the opening minutes of the allied invasion of Ginchy on 9 September 1916, having insisted on leading his men into battle. A leader of the younger generation of constitutional nationalists in his own time, he was all but forgotten as a result of the radicalisation of Irish politics after 1916. His memory was largely kept alive by studies of Ireland's participation in the Great War and by his final poem, written for his daughter Betty, which has appeared in several collections of War poetry. But Thomas Kettle was more than a soldier and recruiter.Although he did not always choose the 'right side', Kettle in fact had a hand in nearly every major political struggle in early twentieth-century Ireland. His struggles with alcoholism and depression overshadowed his great promise, ensuring that his biography is as much a story of wasted potential as it is of great achievement.