I’ve been loving the new Mercier Press series on the Military History of the civil war. For too long the period wasn’t given the academic attention deserved, but Mercier’s series has been a very welcome addition to the historiography of the civil war. The first two works both looked at the conflict in Munster, with Tom Doyle looking at Kerry and Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc taking on the battle for Limerick. Now, it’s a Dublin historians turn and Liz Gillis takes on the fall of the capital.
I was impressed by a presentation Liz was involved with at the Military History Society of Ireland conference on the War of Independence in late 2009 which looked at the burning of the Custom House, and knew of her work as a historian based at Kilmainham Gaol. She’s made good use of some unusual archives and sources here, and at 128 pages, the main body of research is incredibly readable.
The work is written chronologically, with the crucial days of fighting receiving chapters to themselves. Great praise is due to the folks at Mercier Press for turning the focus onto this great, complex and often still heatedly debated chapter of our history.
Those interested in the civil war may enjoy this brief piece here recently on the unusual plaque to Cathal Brugha above a Burger King on O’Connell Street!