Road to Independence: Howth, Sutton and Baldoyle Play Their Part by Philip O'Connor


SKU: 9780955316333 Category:

Road to Independence tells the story of those in the Howth, Sutton, Baldoyle area of North County Dublin involved in Ireland’s road to Independence, from 1900 to the 1920s. It covers the Land League, the Irish Party, labour conflicts, the Gaelic League and local participants in the 1916 Rising, to the rise of Sinn Féin, and the great democratic movement for Independence that followed. It profiles the men and women who were actively involved in local Sinn Féin and subsequently, when the Republic had to be defended against the British attempt to destroy it, in Cumann na mBan and the IRA.

The book also tells the story of how the First Word War was experienced in the area, the participation of local people in it, the conflicting attitudes towards it and how that War changed everything “utterly”, revolutionizing Irish society.

Howth was a diverse place. It included a substantial Unionist community, which was as varied in its composition as it was in its reactions to these events. The book deals sympathetically with their story too, with their outstanding personalities and with the dilemmas they faced.

Road to Independence taps many previously unused sources in the national, military and other archives, as well as the contemporary press and, most importantly, builds on the memories and records retained by families with direct connections to that momentous history. Among these are the papers of Eamon Reid, the last commander of the IRA in Howth, of the women who built and led Howth Cumann na mBan, especially Maynie Lavery, Marcella Rickard and May Bowen, as well as records from old local unionist families, including the Gaisford St. Lawrences, Bellinghams, Jamesons and Greers. Fragmentary family memories, records and prison notebooks from many other people provided a rich additional source of material.

The book builds a powerful account of how those momentous years in Irish history were experienced by a local community.

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