Last Christmas I got a very pleasant gift of a copy of Turtle Bunbury's new book: Easter Dawn: The 1916 Rising. I had stopped to read it about two thirds of the way through to read Charles Spencer's book about the Regicides of Charles II (reviewed yesterday). But I got back to it again and finished it last night.
|Image source: Amazon.
I have read a lot about the 1916 Rising, and of course know a lot about it from learning Irish history in school. There's so much about it on TV and I have already this read through "Courage Boys, We are Winning: An Illustrated History of the 1916 Rising" by Michael Barry (reviewed here) this year. So it was always a possibility that I would learn very little that is new in Bunbury's book. At €29.99 (Easons today) it is a very pricy book - I'm glad I got it as a present and I would definitely feel cheated if I had spent this much.
The book will be an excellent source of information for those who are not familiar with the events and people of the 1916 Rising. There's not much new for most Irish people - perhaps the book is aimed at a non-Irish market. The only surprise for me was to learn that the wife of James Connolly was Lillie Reynolds - a Protestant born in my hometown of Carnew in Co Wicklow. In all my years I had never heard of this, and my Dad who has lived all his nearly 85 years in the parish of Carnew - never heard it either. Wikipedia states that Lillie was born in Carnew, but elsewhere I have seen this disputed and that she was from Rathdrum or Rathnew. The best part of the book for me was the short summaries of the leading participants. Not much new, but good reading nonetheless. The book is written in small sections, and never feels like a narrative of the Rising. Most of the photos I had seen before in other books - again not much new.
Overall - a good, if pricey, read for those looking to find out about the 1916 Rising for the first time. For all others, there's little new for your money.