The Abbey Theatre played a leading role in the politicisation of the revolutionary generation that won Irish freedom, but comparatively little is known about the men and women who formed the lifeblood of the institution: those whose radical politics drove them to fight in the 1916 Rising. Drawing on a huge range of previously unpublished material, The Abbey Rebels of Easter 1916 explores the experiences, hopes and dreams of these remarkable but largely forgotten individuals: Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh, the Abbey's first leading lady; Peadar Kearney, author of the national anthem; feminist Helena Molony, the first female political prisoner of her generation; Sean Connolly, the first rebel to die in the Rising; carpenter Barney Murphy; usherette Ellen Bushell; and Hollywood star Arthur Shields. Invigorating and provocative, this is the story of how, in the years following the Easter Rising, the radical ideals that inspired their revolution were gradually supplanted by a conservative vision of the nation Ireland would become.
Lavishly illustrated with 200 documents and images, it provides a fresh and compelling account of the Rising and its aftermath. `An interesting exploration of the nature of memory and how commemoration reconfigures the past that it recalls.
Lavishly illustrated, this book is a stunner.' Irish Independent