Curious Journey: An oral history of Ireland's unfinished
By Kenneth Griffith and Timothy O'Grady
Published by Mercier Press
Kenneth Griffith made a documentary of the same name twenty years
ago which was suppressed by the television companies. The book
was first published in 1982 and covers the 1916 Rising right
through to the Civil War and is told by nine participants of
those revolutionary years.
The nine veterans, seven men and two women, tell their stories
with graphic detail explaining how they became involved in the
struggle and the parts they played alongside Pearse, Connolly,
Collins and other great figures from that era.
Tom Barry tells of his exploits with the Flying Column in Co Cork
and Joseph Sweeney tells how he shot the driver of an armoured
car while he was a sniper on the roof of the GPO. When reading
this book you can sense the camaraderie that was felt between
them and then the great sadness they felt at the death of Michael
Every one of them agree that the Civil War should never have
happened and go on to tell why they joined one side or the other.
With a chapter on post-Civil War Ireland and the De Valera years,
the stories of the nine are brought up to date, telling how their
lives have been affected by that period of Irish history.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Curious Journey and at times I
couldn't put it down. I would recommend it for anyone with an
interest in Irish history.
By Bronagh Smith
Dressed for war
The Uniforms of 1798-1803
by F. Glenn Thompson
Published by Four Courts Press
Price £9.95 (pb), £24.95 (Hb)
The colourful Uniforms of 1798-1803 is an easy read and for
anyone interested in this aspect of military history is full of
detail. Unlike the standing and part-time armies of the British
and French the insurgents did not have a standard uniform but the
author states that the majority wore their everyday clothes
consisting of a grey or off-white shirt, frieze or corduroy
knee-breeches and sometimes green or blue garters.
It was a mistake, I believe, to repeat in the text a myth
associated with one of the standards illustrated. The black flag
with a white cross with the lettering MWS did not stand for
``murder without sin'' which was a figment of British propaganda.
It is more likely either ``Men of West Shelmalier'' (Patrick
Comerford, Wexford Bridge speech June 1998) or ``Marksmen.
Wexford, Shelmalier''(G.A. Hayes McCoy, History of Irish flags).
By Aengus O Snodaigh