‘Fight on to the last man’: Remembering the Irish Civil War

It was interesting to watch the commemoration yesterday of the hurried handing over by British forces of Dublin Castle in January 1922 to the Irish provisional government. As always, Michael D. Higgins handled the occasion with grace and dignity, and the residual parties of the subsequent civil war – Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin – seemed at ease
with each other. It will be fascinating to watch how that changes, as it inevitably will, when the various events of that conflict are marked. But better this than a fraudulent consensus. Beyond wishing it had never happened, an agreed perspective still isn’t possible because of profound differences, then and now, around social and political ambitions and intentions.

I have written almost nothing on this period myself, but I did publish a short piece some years ago on Liam Lynch (the IRA chief of staff) and the civil war.

‘”Fight on to the last man”‘: a letter to Liam Lynch, March 1923’ can be downloaded here.

- Fintan Lane

Saothar 46 (2021) book reviews available online

In a change of policy, the Irish Labour History Society is now posting book reviews from its annual journal Saothar online, where they are free to read or download.

This year they include a review by myself of Karina Holton’s excellent biography of Valentine Lawless (1773-1853), the United Irishman and liberal politician.

A PDF of the Saothar, vol. 46 (2021) reviews can be downloaded or read here: saothar-46-book-reviews-2021.


Support Gaza Kids to Ireland – coming again this August!

[A policy change at Chez Lane. Up to now, this website was for history posts only. Henceforth, it is for whatever I want to post, though I suspect it will mostly history-related. This is my first non-history post. – Fintan Lane ]

During the past two summers, Gaza Kids to Ireland – a project initiated by Gaza Action Ireland – has brought a team of young kids from the besieged, war-torn Palestinian enclave of Gaza to visit Ireland for a couple of weeks to travel around, enjoying the fresh air and playing an informal soccer tournament against local teen teams.

These visits have been a tremendous success and the kids have loved (almost) every minute of their time here!

They’re coming again in 2018. Due to delays, it will now be mid to late August when they arrive, but they are coming. However, some funds are still required, so please consider making a donation, no matter how small (or large), to help with costs.

You can find more information on the Gaza Action Ireland facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GazaActionIreland

And donations can be made online here (go to ‘Donate’ at top of page): http://www.gazaactionireland.ie/

Every euro counts, so – pleeease – do click that button :)



Studies in Irish Radical Leadership – Just published

Manchester University Press has just published a collection of biographical essays on Irish radicals - Studies in Irish Radical Leadership: Lives on the Left - edited by John Cunningham and Emmet O’Connor. Reminiscent of John W. Boyle’s Leaders and Workers, which appeared in the 1960s, this volume covers a cross-section of radical political and labour leaders, some almost entirely forgotten, from the early nineteenth century to the 1990s.

The hardback is a bit on the expensive side, but you could perhaps ask your local library to stock a copy.


Primitive rebels
1. Captain Rock, by Terry Dunne
2. The mayor/admiral of Claddagh, by John Cunningham
Early labour radicals
3. Patrick O’Higgins, by Christine Kinealy
4. William Upton, by Fintan Lane
Pioneering trade unionists
5. Michael McKeown, by Laurence Marley
6. Mary Galway, by Theresa Moriarty
7. Catherine Mahon, by Síle Chuinneagán
8. Seán Murray, by Emmet O’Connor
9. Betty Sinclair, by Patrick Smylie
Children of the revolution
10. Nóra Connolly, by Máirtín Ó Catháin
11. Seán Dowling, by Dominic Haugh
12. Bobby Burke, by Tony Varley
13. Paddy Devlin, by Connal Parr
Artists as socialists
14. Pádraig Ó Conaire, by Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh
15. Harry Kernoff and Leslie Daiken, by Katrina Goldstone
Socialists in parliament
16. Tomás MacGiolla, by Brian Hanley
17. Justin Keating, by Lorna Siggins
Party leaders
18. William Norton, by Niamh Puirséil
19. Brendan Corish, by Barry Desmond

Lonely Planet endorses Long Bullets: A History of Road Bowling in Ireland

The current edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to Ireland has retained a very decent blurb on the Irish sport of road bowling and highlights Fintan Lane’s book Long Bullets (2005) for those who want to read some more about the history of this unusual pastime.

It appears that the past few editions of Lonely Planet have done likewise…mmh, too bad the book is currently out-of-print. Still. Time for a reprint, perhaps!



Galway Labour History Conference

The British Labour Party and Twentieth-Century Ireland

(National University of Ireland, Galway)

This weekend (8-9 March), a conference will be held in Galway to focus on the interactions between the British Labour Party and Ireland through the twentieth century. Organised by the History Department at NUI, Galway (and supported by the Irish Labour History Society), it promises to be a most interesting series of papers and talks. Well worth a visit!

The full programme can be found here: Conference Programme

And the poster can be downloaded here: Conference Poster

UCC History Conference: ‘The Cause of Labour: 1913 and Beyond’, 1-2 March 2013

A conference will be held in University College, Cork on 1-2 March to discuss the role of the working class and the labour movement during the Irish revolutionary period, 1913-1923. Among the scheduled papers is ’The lessons of history: James Connolly and Irish historiography’ by Fintan Lane. Should be a very interesting two days – a good mix of research students and established scholars!

Click here for the full programme: UCC conference



Hello world!

Welcome to www.fintanlane.com. This website is still under construction, but most pages have now been populated.

For a full list of books by Fintan Lane, click here; for lists of major articles/book chapters, 
shorter articles and book reviews by Fintan Lane, click here.

Early nineteenth-century silhouette of scene on Patrick Street, Cork.