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Forthcoming book: A Revolutionary Village: Dunlavin, County Wicklow c.1900-1925.


My next book is completed and has been sent to the printers. Hopefully, it will be ready to launch in May. I say ‘launch’, but covid-19 restrictions mean that there can be no traditional launch of course. However, I hope it will be possible to have a virtual launch by posting a short video on the ‘blog’ section of this website. The book will be on sale locally in Dermot Hughes’ shop in Dunlavin and directly from my house on the Sparrow Road. Copies will also be available on my website, which automatically adds on postage costs for Irish, European and worldwide distribution. The book will contain 344 pages and will retail at €30 per copy. The following paragraphs, taken from the back cover ‘blurb’, briefly outline the contents…


In his play The Quare Fella, Brendan Behan famously named an old republican prisoner ‘Dunlavin’. In doing so, Behan acknowledged the republican reputation and revolutionary tradition of the West Wicklow village. Here, for the first time, is the story of that village during the years of the Irish Revolution. Many historians think that the county is not the best unit to use for studies of the local past, but much of the historiography of the Irish Revolution is either based on the county or on significant personalities or events. This ground-breaking study of a single West Wicklow village and its environs during the pivotal historical period 1900-25 is unique and constitutes a true micro-history of the revolutionary era.


The book treats of the international and national political background before moving on to examine social and economic life in Dunlavin during the early twentieth century. Religious and political differences are uncovered and the advent of many new political movements in the region is discussed. A detailed examination of the impact of the First World War on the local area is followed by an examination of Dunlavin’s experience during the Easter Rising and its aftermath. An assessment of the rise of Sinn Fein and the party’s landmark victory in the 1918 general election (when Dunlavin was in the grip of the great influenza pandemic) leads on to evaluations of both the War of Independence and the Civil War. Dunlavin’s Civil War experience is placed in a wider West Wicklow context before the book examines the return of peace and the new reality of Dunlavin taking its place within the Irish Free State. A new era of domestic political sovereignty had dawned in the much-altered West Wicklow village.


The book contains over 50 illustrations and more than 15 appendices, including press reports of meetings held to establish various political organisations in the village, with the original speeches reproduced. There are also lists of the heads of households in Dunlavin in both 1901 and 1911, lists of the members of the three I.R.A. companies in which Dunlavin volunteers served during the War of Independence and lists of the Anti-Treaty I.R.A. remaining in these companies during the Civil War. There is also a list of local business advertisements dating from 1926. These appendices enhance the book and provide much background information.




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