independent

Monday 21 August 2017

Revolution in Louth the focus of new book

Local historians Donal Hall and Martin Maguire are editors

Anne Campbell

A new book, edited by local historians Donal Hall and Martin Maguire, captures, for the first time ever, the history of County Louth during the revolutionary period.

Published by the Irish Academic Press, 'County Louth and the Irish Revolution 1912-1923' is a fascinating new history of Louth through Ireland's most tumultuous years, which saw Louth increasingly marked by the developing reality of partition into a borderland.

Mr Hall has written and lectured extensively on the Great War and the revolutionary period in Louth while Mr Maguire works in the Department of Humanities at Dundalk IT where he is a senior lecturer and director of the BA (Hons) in Digital Humanities.

The revolutionary period in Ireland was sparked in Dublin, of course, but the action quickly spread further afield, utterly transforming the counties involved. The same canon that laid waste to the Four Courts, marking the start of the Civil War, later shelled the Millmount Fort in Drogheda.

The historians' new book is the first account of County Louth during the revolutionary era and adds to the depth of new research and commentary that had been untapped by the 1916 commemorations. Featuring an array of expert contributors, the book brings to light fascinating stories that will appeal to the general public and historians alike.

Critically, these contributions reveal new findings about the early military skirmishes in Louth by republican figures such as Sean McEntee and Frank Aiken; the controversial massacre at Altnabeigh and how the Civil War 'made a fiery battlefield of Dundalk and Drogheda.

The 'startling transformations' to daily life in County Louth, with the onset of the third Home Rule Bill, are highlighted, while the book also details 'the subversion of various roles in the community, from railwaymen to actors, in efforts to revolt against those in power'.

There are also accounts of how towns were left without a police force and were 'reduced, in effect to complete lawlessness'. The publishers said: ''County Louth and the Irish Revolution' brings to life a reality that can scarcely be believed, but which overtook everyone in the county during this decade of upheaval'.

There are contributions in the book from Ailbhe Rogers, Brendan McAvinue, Fiona Fearon, Peter Rigney, Jean Young, John McCullen, Conor MacNamara, Mal Martin, Don Johnston, Seamus Bellew and Lorraine McCann, as well as from the editors themselves.

The book, which is available in shops priced €20, will be launched at the Millmount Museum in Drogheda on Thursday May 11 at 7pm and at the Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol, Carrick Road on Thursday May 18.

The book is also available online from merrionpress.ie.

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