Dr. Shane Kenna
Thomas MacDonagh

Thomas MacDonagh was drawn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood through his strong conscience and sense of social justice, becoming a member of the Provisional Government and a signatory of the 1916 Easter Proclamation. He was executed on 3 May 1916 in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin.

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320 pages
196x130 mm

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Born in Cloughjordan in Co. Tipperary, MacDonagh was a poet and playwright, an educator and political activist. Appointed to the IRB Military Council he became a member of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic and was a signatory of the 1916 Easter proclamation. During the Rising MacDonagh was commandant of the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers and occupied the Jacobs Biscuit factory garrison. Following an inspiring speech at his Court Marshal he was executed on 3 May 1916 at Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin.

In this meticulously researched biography Shane Kenna places this remarkable man within the great pantheon of Irish Republican heroes. He provides a riveting reconstruction of the life of a man whose death played such a key part in the shaping of modern Ireland.

'an epic new series of books' - RTE Guide on 16Lives

Shane Kenna was a Doctor of modern Irish history with an interest in late Victorian and Edwardian Irish nationalism. He was a regular media presence with Newstalk Radio, Near FM, BBC Radio 4 and wrote for Irish Academic Press, The O'Brien Press, History Ireland, the BBC History Magazine and Kilmainham Tales.

Shane lectured at Trinity College, Dublin and Saor Ollscoil na hÉireann University and also designed modules on Irish history for the American College, Arcadia Universityas well as organising and managing several courses on Modern History and has spoken at over thirty international academic conferences.   

Shane published several books on Irish history including a biography on 1916 leader Thomas MacDonagh, and the Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa whose funeral in 1915 is seen as the precurser to the Easter Rising the following year. Shane has also written about the Fenian Dynamite Campaign and Fenianism. 

He died in February 2017.

Kenna has a gift for finding the right quotation to make his point

This series of sympathetic biographies attempts to show the day-to-day lives of the rebel leaders and the Ireland in which they lived … These two biographies are valuable additions to the historiography of the Rising and revolution, especially in highlight the diverging ambitions, desires and visions of the men who organised it

Dublin Review of Books
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