Political Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921

ISBN : 9780199569076

William Murphy
288 ページ
162 x 237 mm

For a revolutionary generation of Irishmen and Irishwomen - including suffragettes, labour activists, and nationalists - imprisonment became a common experience. In the years 1912-1921, thousands were arrested and held in civil prisons or in internment camps in Ireland and Britain. The state's intent was to repress dissent, but instead, the prisons and camps became a focus of radical challenge to the legitimacy and durability of the status quo. Some of these prisons and prisoners are famous: Terence MacSwiney and Thomas Ashe occupy a central position in the prison martyrology of Irish republican culture, and Kilmainham Gaol has become one of the most popular tourist sites in Dublin. In spite of this, a comprehensive history of political imprisonment focused on these years does not exist. In Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921, William Murphy attempts to provide such a history. He seeks to detail what it was like to be a political prisoner; how it smelled, tasted, and felt. More than that, the volume demonstrates that understanding political imprisonment of this period is one of the keys to understanding the Irish revolution. Murphy argues that the politics of imprisonment and the prison conflicts analysed here reflected and affected the rhythms of the revolution, and this volume not only reconstructs and assesses the various experiences and actions of the prisoners, but those of their families, communities, and political movements, as well as the attitudes and reactions of the state and those charged with managing the prisoners.


1. 'What is good enough for the suffragettes': Ireland, 1912-1914
2. 'In place of an Academy we have a jail': Ireland, Summer 1915 - Easter 1916
3. 'Nowhere else does one learn to know a colleague so well': May 1916 - June 1917
4. 'Hunger-Strike Mania': Ireland, June 1917- June 1918
5. 'The same walls & doors & gates & persons': Internment (Britain) May 1918 - March 1919
6. 'Out with the warrants, set on the G men, roll up the Black Marias, fill up the jails': June 1918 - July 1919
7. 'You will find they will climb down': August 1919-June 1920
8. 'The Tower of Hunger': August-November 1920
9. 'Home Rule within the Empire': November 1920 - June 1921
10. 'Every internee was a centre of disaffection': Truce to Treaty
11. 'The gates are thrown open'


William Murphy is an historian of the political and cultural history of modern Ireland. The North American Society for Sport History named The Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884-2009, which he co-edited, best edited collection of 2009.