Harry Boland's Irish Revolution

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Cork University Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 450 pages
* First in-depth biography of Harry Boland

* Establishes Boland as a revolutionary organizer of comparable stature to his two more celebrated friends and colleagues Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera

* Author draws upon thousands of Boland's personal letters, diaries, police reports and other documents in Irish, British and American archives, and in family possession, many of which are previously unknown

The definitive biography of Harry Boland incorporating previously untapped archives and establishing him one of the most influential figures in Irish history. A complex revolutionary organizer, Boland is revealed as a politician of comparable stature to Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera

Apart from Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera, Harry Boland was probably the most influential organizer of the Irish Republican movement between 1916 and 1922. Already famous as a hurler before 1916, he was convicted and imprisoned after serving as a volunteer officer in the GPO. His influence later extended to almost every aspect of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and in his work as Irish envoy to America. He was intimately associated with both Collins and de Valera, but broke with Collins over the terms of the Anglo-Irish treaty in December 1921. He was the principal intermediary between the treaty's supporters and opponents, before being fatally shot by national army officers in the second month of the civil war.

Boland's mix of animal charm, gregariousness, wit and a dash of ruthlessness made him an influential and formidable character. Though not an intellectual in his manner he was a clear thinker, a forceful orator and a graceful writer. He was also a man about town, equally at home in Dublin, Manchester or New York, a bon vivant of varied tastes and amongst the most attractive yet elusive personalities of the Irish revolution.

David Fitzpatrick's biography draws upon thousands of letters to and from Boland as well as diaries, police reports, memoirs and other documents preserved in Irish, British and American archives and in family possession. These mainly unknown documents record in astonishing detail the inner workings of Irish republicanism, including its personal conflicts and alliances, and reveal the critical importance of fraternity in determining the course of Ireland's revolution.


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Fitzpatrick's book presents a readable, believable and meaty portrait of Harry Boland. His family history and his near inheritance of his father’s former position in both the GAA and the IRB are ... Read full review

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My Dad played with Harry Boland for Faughs ..he died in January 1966 but often talked about Harry and indeed was involved in the 1916 Rising himself..he worked at the time behind the Mater hospital in Berkley Road ..he saw and no doubt helped members of the IRA who were shot getting treatment in the hospital...
gerard obrien



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Page 411 - ... if they accepted the treaty, and if the Volunteers of the future tried to complete the work the Volunteers of the last four years had been attempting, they would have to complete it, not over the bodies of foreign soldiers, but over the dead bodies of their own countrymen. They would have to wade through Irish blood, through the blood of the soldiers of the Irish government and through, perhaps, the blood of some of the members of the government in order to get Irish freedom.
Page 411 - By making use of any and every means available to render impotent the power of England to hold Ireland in subjection by military force or otherwise.

About the author (2004)

David Fitzpatrick is Associate Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin. His books include "Oceans of Consolation: Personal Accounts of Migration to Australia" and "Politics and Irish Life, 1913-1921: Provincial Experience of War and Revolution". He is also the series editor for Irish Narratives, all published by Cork University Press.

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