New Book -The Irish Citizen Army

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 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.


During the Rising the ICA was active in three garrisons and the book describes in depth its involvement at St Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons, at City Hall and its environs and, using the first-hand account of journalist J.J. O’Leary who observed the scene, on Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) throughout the week.


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.


Author Information


Ann Matthews is the author of ‘Renegades’ (2010) and ‘Dissidents’ (2012) and a play ‘Lockout’ staged in 2013. Originally from Dublin, she now lives in Kildare where she lectured at NUI Maynooth. She has contributed chapters to several book and had articles published in the ‘Journal of Irish Military History’ among other publications.


The Irish Citizen Army is published in paperback at €14.99 and is also available in eBook format from all major outlets.



Mercier Press is Ireland’s oldest independent publishing house, based in Cork. In 2014 Mercier Press is celebrating 70 years in business.

Comments are closed.