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TERROR IN IRELAND. TERROR IN KILDARE

Terror in Ireland: Terror in Kildare


James Durney

County Kildare native, Michael Murphy, is a contributor to Terror in Ireland 1916-1923, by Lilliput Press, a collection of essays edited by David Fitzpatrick, Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin. Dedicated to the memory of the distinguished former member, the late Peter Hart, this volume is the fifth publication by the Trinity History Workshop, an informal group of academic historians, research students, and undergraduates associated with Trinity College. The contributors, including gifted postgraduate and undergraduate students as well as prominent historians, tackle many facets of terror, such as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the Kilmichael Ambush and the Sack of Balbriggan. Most contributors concentrate on the War of Independence, but Michael Murphy’s chapter ‘Revolution and Terror in Kildare, 1919-1923,’ opens up questions on the unexpectedly vicious Civil War in a county where the economic importance of the British military presence had discouraged vigorous prosecution of the conflict.
Michael Murphy’s study of violence and terror in revolutionary Kildare examines four propositions. First, that Kildare’s reputation for acquiescence in British rule ran counter to a long-standing tradition of republican disaffection stretching back to 1798. Second, that the strong military presence in Kildare tended to impede rather than strengthen republican resistance. Third, that violent opposition to the Treaty was surprisingly vigorous in the county, partly due to the personality of such leaders as Jim Dunne, of Kill. Fourth, that republican violence after the Treaty tended to erode rather than inspire public support for continued revolution.
There are thirteen essays, all of them of interest to scholars, students, political activists and all those studying the Irish Revolution. ‘Counting Terror,’ by Eunan O’Halpin places County Kildare, with twelve deaths, as twenty-eight in the list of casualties by county and country – eleven people died in Britain, while three died in India. Fearghal McGarry’s essay ‘Violence and the Easter Rising,’ tells us that despite the backlash against the captured rebels, most of the civilian dead of Easter Week were killed by the British military, rather than the insurgents, while in ‘English Dogs or Poor Devils. The dead of Bloody Sunday morning,’ Jane Leonard points out that four of the fifteen ‘English dogs’ shot dead that fateful day in November 1920 were Irish-born. The purpose of Terror in Ireland, is not to assign blame to one party or another, but to offer varied perspectives on one of the most contentious periods of Irish history.

County Kildare native, Michael Murphy, is a contributor to Terror in Ireland 1916-1923, a collection of essays edited by David Fitzpatrick, Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin.


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