Taoiseach to launch book on Mayo’s role in War of Independence

A fascinating new book documenting Mayo’s role in the fight for independence during the early 1900s will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny this evening, Friday March 9, at Castlebar Library at 8pm. The book, The Flame and the Candle - War in Mayo 1919 - 1924, by Dominic Price, dispenses with the myth that little or nothing happened in Mayo during Ireland’s fight for independence and instead highlights the fascinating story of the Mayo men and women who were active during the troubled period of the War of Independence and the Civil War – a story largely untold.

Eyewitness accounts of Black and Tan atrocities in the book give real insight into the lives of participants in the events. Security within the IRA is examined, with reproductions of letters and statements by spies and informers.

The book also reveals some shocking lack of discipline within the National Army during the Civil War – in contrast to the competent leadership of the Republican forces. The establishment and acceptance of the Garda Síochána, and how Mayo adapted to peace while hundreds of Mayo men and women were still imprisoned, is also explored.

This, the first major study of this period, will be launched by Taoiseach Kenny. The launch is organised by Castlebar Library, in conjunction with The Castle Bookshop and www.mayobooks.ie The title of the book comes from a quote by William Sears, TD for Mayo South during the Treaty debates, referring to the people of Mayo, who had endured so much violence, and the need for lasting peace, who stated: “It is all very well to speak of the flame but the candle must be kept going too.”

The author, Dominic Price, is a teacher of history who grew up in Rathfarnham, close to Scoil Eanna. He often visited his grandparents who lived near Kilmainham Jail which sparked his interest in Irish history of this period.

All are invited to go along to this evening’s launch of The Flame and the Candle, March 9, 8pm, at Castlebar Library. Food and refreshments will be served to all. Further info on www.mayo.ie

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