In the summer of 1973 the Merriman Summer School in County Clare organized a series of public lectures on ‘Eamon de Valera and His Age’, an appropriate theme given the elderly President’s retirement from public life a few months earlier. Among the speakers on the programme was (anti-treaty) IRA veteran and fixture of the Irish left, Peadar O’Donnell. In ‘A Social Commentary on the Age of de Valera’, O’Donnell opined that, with the old controversies over who took which side in the civil war ceasing to be ‘a disturbing issue in Irish life’, future study of the conflict ‘should concern itself … with the play of social forces that explained it’.1 This book can be regarded as one historian’s effort to take up O’Donnell’s suggestion, albeit in a manner quite different from what the republican-socialist stalwart probably had in mind.


Social Commentary Irish Society Wild Goose Republican Movement Revolutionary Period 
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  1. 2.
    David Fitzpatrick (1998 edn) Politics and Irish Life 1913–1921: Provincial Experience of War and Revolution (Cork), p. 194.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Peter Hart (1998) The IRA and its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916–1923 (Oxford), pp. 156–7, 12, 147–50, 183.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    An important work in this understudied area is Anne Dolan (2003) Commemorating the Irish Civil War: History and Memory, 1923–2000 (Cambridge). My own current project uses oral history interviews with the children and other descendants of civil war participants to explore later-generation memory of the conflict.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gavin Maxwell Foster 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Concordia UniversityCanada

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