Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review - "Revolution: A Photographic History of Revolutionary Ireland 1913-1923" by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc

Picture books are quick to read though I don't think I have ever read one cover to cover before. Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc has put together a fantastic collections of photographs in Revolution: A Photographic History of Revolutionary Ireland 1913-1923. Not quite coffee table stuff, but an excellent book to dip in and out of from time-to-time.

Image link to Amazon.
As several centenaries are coming up (1913 Lockout, 1916 Rising, 1919-1921 War of Independence, and the 1922-1923 Civil War) over the next few years, I'm sure there will be many more books on this dramatic period of Irish history. Many of the iconic photos from this period are present - Pearse surrendering, de Valera under arrest, and artillery at the Four Courts. However, it is the many photographs of people who died in the conflict that make this book. Photos of RIC men, IRA volunteers, British Army, and Black & Tans who were killed in the conflicts show that it was at sometimes a vicious time. Probably the most macabre ones are the series of photos (p151) of Thomas Whelan and Paddy Moran joking with their guards just before they were hanged in Mountjoy Jail on 14th March 1921 (Ó Ruairc annoyingly uses the word "hung" instead of the more correct "hanged" on several occasions).

Lots and lots of gems to see - I think my favourite is the one of Arthur Griffith, Éamon de Valera, and Michael Collins at the 1921 All-Ireland Final in Croke Park. Sad to think that both Collins and Griffith  would be dead within two years and that de Valera would go on to greater things in Irish politics. 

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