Walled In By Hate: Kevin O’Higgins, His Friends and Enemies


Arthur Mathews

In July 1927, at just thirty-five years old, Kevin O’Higgins was assassinated on his way to Mass in Booterstown, Co. Dublin. A reviled figure for anti-Treaty republicans, O’Higgins became the target of particular venom for his vocal support of the Free State government’s execution policy during the Civil War, which saw seventy-seven IRA men executed, including the best man at his wedding, Rory O’Connor.

In Walled in By Hate, Arthur Mathews examines not just the life and death of O’Higgins, focussing on that most acrimonious time in his life, but also those of his contemporaries, such as O’Connor and Erskine Childers, who shaped the course of events around him. Unusually, he also delves deep into O’Higgins’s relationships with the women around him and chronicles the reactions of the men who killed him, subjects that, until now, have remained largely unexplored.

One of the most compelling characters to have emerged from the conflict, someone still the target of vitriol today, the tragic story of Kevin O’Higgins encapsulates the bitter divisions of a time in Irish history that continue to echo in today’s Ireland.

Arthur Mathews was born in Meath in 1959. With Graham Linehan he co-created and wrote Father Ted and Big Train. He has also written for The Fast ShowHarry Enfield and Chums, and Brass Eye amongst many others. He co-wrote the stage musical I, Keano and the feature film Wide Open Spaces. With Matt Berry he has co-written the television shows Toast of London and Toast of Tinseltown (each a winner of The Rose d’Or) as well as Squeamish About and The Road To Brexit.

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