Kildare author’s new book and revelations on Citizen Army

Dr. Ann Matthews.
A Kildare-based writer has just had her book published about the Irish Citizen Army which questions many of the assumptions about the organisation and that period.

A Kildare-based writer has just had her book published about the Irish Citizen Army which questions many of the assumptions about the organisation and that period.

Dr. Ann Matthews, who is originally from Dublin, but now living in Celbridge, and who lectures at NUI Maynooth has written several books and plays, focusing on Irish history in the early decades of the 20th century.

Her latest book is described by publishers Mercier Press as a “comprehensive and balanced account of the Irish Citizen Army from its foundation during the 1913 Lockout to defend the workers, detailing its importance in the 1916 Rising and its continued existence right up to the 1940s”.

The author questions the much-vaunted myth of the equality of men and women in the ICA and scrutinises the credentials of Larkin and Connolly as champions of both sexes.

She provides alternative sources claiming that the Proclamation was not read by Patrick Pearse outside the GPO, but by Tom Clarke from in front of Nelson’s Pillar. She also shows that the Proclamation was not, as has always been believed, printed in Liberty Hall, and that the final headquarters of the rebels was not at number 16 Moore Street, but somewhere between numbers 21 and 25.

The Irish Citizen Army was originally established as a defence corps during the 1913 Lockout, but under the leadership of James Connolly its aims became more Republican and the IRB, fearing Connolly would pre-empt their plans for the Easter Rising, convinced him to join forces with the Irish Volunteers.

She is also the author of ‘Renegades’ (2010) and ‘Dissidents’ (2012) and a play ‘Lockout’ staged in 2013.