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St Angela's College Lecturer launches new book

St Angela's College Lecturer launches new book

Dr John O’Callaghan’s new book, The Irish Revolution, 1912-23: Limerick, has just been published by Four Courts Press. It will be officially launched in the magnificent surrounds of St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick city, at 7pm on Friday 26 October. All are welcome to attend. It is available in all good bookshops, online via fourcourtspress.ie or Amazon, or direct from the author. For more information, visit http://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2018/limerick/

Limerick was a key social, political and military battleground during the Irish revolution of 191223. By examining a wide range of contemporary sources, O’Callaghan reveals what life was like for people from all sectors of Limerick society during these turbulent years, when city and county were wracked by war and political turmoil, social strife and class conflict. The luckiest individuals and the most powerful groups came through the revolution with their position enhanced, while vulnerable parties lost out. Killers, heroes and villains were created. The full range of human virtues and vices was on display. Problems of land and politics, and questions about allegiance, identity, religion and status all closely co-existed. Republicanism was not the only revolutionary dynamic at play, as labour and agrarian activists also challenged the status quo. The people of Limerick desired ‘food, wages and work not war’, but there was little respite for a decade. In the end, no group had realized its ideal for Ireland: Limericks’ nationalists, radicals, separatists, suffragists and unionists were all disappointed, although the middle classes were satisfied that spiralling lawlessness was contained. Some members of the Protestant community, which suffered dramatic demographic decline, believed that sectarian impulses had been a factor. A Free Sate army report in December 1923 that the ‘feelings of the people’ of Limerick were those of a ‘normal community’ was fairly accurate: ‘One revolution and a civil war seems to satisfy most people for a life time.’ Some had benefitted and some had not, but everybody was weary and nearly all wanted to move on. In charting these contrasting experiences, O’Callaghan offers a richly absorbing, nuanced and balanced analysis that contributes greatly to our understanding of this seminal period in Irish history.

John O’Callaghan lectures on the Centre for Lifelong Learning’s MA Historical and Heritage Studies programme. Among other works, he is the author of Teaching Irish Independence: History in Irish Schools, 1922-72 (Newcastle, 2009), Subversive Voices: Narratives of the Occluded Irish Diaspora (Oxford, 2011), The Battle for Kilmallock (Cork, 2011), and Con Colbert (Dublin, 2015).

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