The Gates Flew Open

( 1 Review )

Peadar O'Donnell became involved in Irish republicanism through his initial involvement in socialism as an organiser for the ITGWU.When he was unsuccessful in establishing a branch of the Irish Citizen Army in Derry he joined the IRA and led
guerrilla activities in Donegal and Derry during the War of Independence.
He was a member of the Executive of the anti-Treaty IRA and was in the Four Courts when it was attacked by Free State forces. He was arrested shortly afterwards and was involved in organising a hunger strike among the anti-Treaty Republicans
which lasted 41 days. While in prison he began writing 'to escape the bare walls of the prison cell'. This is a story of prison life in the midst of Civil War in Ireland that combines glimpses of humour with moments of tragic poignancy as the author
describes games of handball and bridge with men who faced the firing squad within twenty-four hours.
O'Donnell was one of the last survivors of the Independence struggle in Ireland, retaining his radicalism and idealism right up to his death in 1986 at the age of 93.

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Peadar O'Donnell

1 Review

12th Aug 2013


Bought for my husband, who has never been seen to finish a book from cover to cover, but is now on the final chapter. His comments seem to say it's a fascinating journey through the civil war, although a little disjointed, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Opened up a whole new chapter on my father-in- laws life during the civil war and inspired us to send a copy to my sister-in law and also dig a little deeper into the family history. Peader O'Donnell's regard for Liam Mellows is fascinating and his first hand account of how Ireland's lost leader was executed is a sad revelation.

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