Irish Political Prisoners 1848–1922: Theatres of War, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Irish Political Prisoners 1848–1922

Theatres of War, 1st Edition

By Sean McConville


828 pages

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This is the most wide-ranging study ever published of political violence and the punishment of Irish political offenders from 1848 to the founding of the Irish Free State in 1922. Those who chose violence to advance their Irish nationalist beliefs ranged from gentlemen revolutionaries to those who openly embraced terrorism or even full-scale guerilla war.

Seán McConville provides a comprehensive survey of Irish revolutionary struggle, matching chapters on punishment of offenders with descriptions and analysis of their campaigns. Government's response to political violence was determined by a number of factors, including not only the nature of the offences but also interest and support from the United States and Australia, as well as current objectives of Irish policy.


"[A] scholarly and immensely readable account of three-quarters of a century of British experience of Irishmen - and very occasionally women - in their prisons."- Dr Garret FitzGerald, The Guardian

"Sean McConville graphically recounts both sides of this story - and does so with an even-handedness and objectivity that must command the respect of all his readers, whatever side of the Irish Sea they may be on." - Dr Garret FitzGerald, The Guardian

Table of Contents




1 The Young Irelanders

2 Gentlemen convicts

3 The Fenians: a dream of revolution

4 The Fenians in prison

5 Amnesty: Gladstone takes a chance

6 The convict Michael Davitt

7 The dynamitards

8 The dynamitards in prison

9 The Easter rising

10 Internment: a training camp in Wales

11 Imprisonment: war by other means

12 Roger Casement: a question of honour

13 Sinn Féin, 1917-19

14 'Frightfulness': Ireland, 1919-22

15 Bang and whimper, 1919-22



About the Author

Seán McConville is Professor of Criminal Justice and Professorial Reseacrh Fellow in the Department of Law, Queen Mary, University of London. He has published widely on imprisonment and related political and legal issues.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Ireland
HISTORY / Modern / General