Culture

Huge success for Irish book launch as Limerick native returns to his roots

Author John O'Callaghan with his latest book. Photo: Laura-Ashley Ní Shuilléabháin, Limerick Voice

Dr John O’Callaghan held the official launch for his book entitled ‘Limerick: The Irish Revolution 1912-23’ on Friday October 26 in St. Marys Cathedral.

John, originally from Caherdavin, is the programme Director for Historical and Heritage Studies in St. Angela’s College, Sligo.

The book centres on the Irish revolution as it happened in Limerick and compares whether the fighting that happened in Limerick reflects other areas in the country.

Photo: Laura-Ashley Ní Shuilléabháin, Limerick Voice

It looks at what the nature of the revolution was, what caused it, what did the people want to achieve and explores if people were satisfied with the outcome of the revolution or not.

In O’Callaghan’s own words: “The answers that I would offer to people are that there was no group really who could claim complete satisfaction in 1923. No satisfaction in that they not had achieved the aims they had set in 1912.

“So I would define it as kind of a partially successful revolution and we explore that more in this.”

L-R John Logan, Alan English, Mayor James Collins, John O’Callaghan. Photo: Laura-Ashley Ní Shuilléabháin, Limerick Voice

He goes onto explain that the point of the book is to “answer big questions in a local context.”

“It looks at the city and the county. It’s not just about republicanism its about other dynamics that were at play in the revolution,” John says.

“What was the socio-economic impact of World War I, how did it effect the working class, who were the men that went to fight in the war and what happened to the families that they left behind. All these types of questions are address in the book.”

Photo: Laura-Ashley Ní Shuilléabháin, Limerick Voice

What makes this book truly unique is that it debates and takes into consideration books from the same period which offers its readers a unique insight.

“History is just about telling stories. I think if you tell stories you become a better story teller. I’ve been doing this for quite a while so hopefully I’ve told this story in a way that entertains and interests’ people,” he adds.

O’Callaghan says that the audience lies in anyone who is interested in their own history, the history of limerick, the development of this nation and anyone who has questions on what a revolution is.

“It’s a national history but it’s also a local history. If we want to understand why we are the way we are, we must be able to connect the past and the present,” he says.

“We went through a huge change during this period that still affects us in many ways today so that’s why this topic is so important.”

John has had various books published since 2009, some titles including ‘Con Colbert’, ‘Plassey’s Gaels: GAA in the University of Limerick, 1972-2012’ and ‘The Battle for Kilmallock’.

Photo: Laura-Ashley Ní Shuilléabháin, Limerick Voice

The book is available from any Four Courts Press stockist.

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