A new book focusing on Co Tyrone and its central role during the conflict between nationalism and unionism at the beginning of the 20th century has just been published.
Schoolteacher Fergal McCluskey is the author of ‘The Irish Revolution 1912-23: Tyrone’ (Four Courts Press), the first comprehensive and meticulously researched study of Tyrone during this tempestuous period.
His new work offers fresh perspectives on how Tyrone men and women engaged in a range of unionist, nationalist, republican and trade union activities.
Intent on resisting home rule, McCluskey reveals that the county’s sizeable unionist minority, led by the local aristocracy and back-boned by the Orange Order, mustered 8,000 members of the UVF.
The nature of the two year conflict between the IRA and the Ulster Special Constabulary, a force based firmly on the UVF, is carefully analysed by McCluskey.
The book also charts the prominence of Tyrone during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations and examines MIchael Collins’ attempts to achieve a middle ground between the treaty and the republic through the abortive joint-IRA northern campaign of 1922.
The book concludes that the British government’s stance on Tyrone confirmed its role as an imperial power determined to bolster unionism and thwart republican demands.
Richly detailed, Fergal McCluskey’s new book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Irish revolution.
The book is available from local book-sellers.