Studies in Irish radical leadership

Lives on the left

By Emmet O'Connor and John Cunningham

Studies in Irish radical leadership

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9104-9
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2016
  • BIC Category: Political activism, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General, Political Leaders & Leadership, Society & social sciences / Political activism, Politics, Political ideologies


By European standards, the left in Ireland has not been successful historically, yet its failure has concealed considerable achievement in the occasional great popular mobilisations of the past two centuries. In the process, virtually every shade of radical thought has found expression in Ireland at some point or other, and the country has produced a diverse and colourful range of social rebels. Studies in Irish radical leadership, an edited collection of nineteen biographies of labour leaders and radical activists, examines a sample of the men and women who made that history of protest. Looking over the shoulders of Connolly and Larkin, it provides fascinating insights into the careers and mentalities of Irish labour's second-string leaders. It ranges from the primitive rebels of the early nineteenth century to the parliamentarians of the late twentieth, and asks what kind of people they were, what motivated them, and what is leadership?


'The book ends with an 'Afterword', for which the stated aim of this collection is to open up research opportunities. Given the level of diversity, source interrogation, and depth of writing that has gone into each and every one of these chapters, this impressive publication clearly responds to that challenge and is highly recommended reading.'
Neil Pye, SSLH and Independent Researcher, Labour History Review, vol. 81 No. 2, July 2016


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


Emmet O'Connor is Lecturer in History at Ulster University

John Cunningham is Lecturer in History at National University of Ireland, Galway

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