Gerard Whelan
The Guns of Easter

It is 1916 and Europe is at war. From the poverty of the Dublin slums twelve-year-old Jimmy Conway is pulled between the British Army and the rebels in the Easter Rising. Real history seen through the eyes of a child from a master storyteller.


Bisto Book of the Year Award 1997 - Eilís Dillon award - 1997


Bisto Book of the Year Award 1997 - Historical Novel category - 1997


Add to Basket
E-Book (ePub):
Add to Basket
176 pages
196x130 mm

Also available as an E-Book (ePub)


It is 1916 and Europe is at war. From the poverty of the Dublin slums twelve-year-old Jimmy Conway sees it all as glorious, and loves the British Army for which his father is fighting.

But when war comes to his own streets Jimmy's loyalties are divided. The rebels occupy the General Post Office and other parts of the city, and Jimmy's uncle is among them. Dublin's streets are destroyed, business comes to a halt.

In an attempt to find food for his family, Jimmy crosses the city, avoiding the shooting, weaving through the army patrols, hoping to make it home before curfew. But his quest is not easy and danger threatens at every corner.

Gerard Whelan was born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and has lived and worked in several European countries. After some time living in Dublin, he has returned to live in his native Wexford. He is the author of many books for children and a multiple award-winner. His first novel, The Guns of Easter, won the Eilís Dillon Memorial Award for first-time writers. Dream Invader later won the Bisto Book of the Year Award. He has also been shortlisted for the Reading Association of Ireland awards. Gerard is also the author of A Winter of Spies and Out of Nowhere.

a stirring account of the Easter Rising

Mad About Books

'An impressive first novel'

The Sunday Independent

'A fine, humane anti-war novel which young people will relish'

Books Ireland

'A sensitive portrayal of a boy's forced and traumatic emergence into adolescence'

Books Ireland

A striking first novel endowed with a strong sense of the conflicting passions of the time. Some of the scenes are as searing as anything in O'Casey's trilogy.

Children's Books in Ireland

We sweat it out with Jimmy as he confronts horror at every turn. Physically and emotionally in a no-man's land, the boy's perceptions of good men killing one another leave him more scarred than any bullets.

Tribune Magazine

Whelan immerses readers in a harsh, yet poignant, journey that finds Jimmy learning much about the Irish people, his family, and most important, himself. The exciting plot moves effortlessly, enhanced by plenty of details to add character depth and historical context, and Whelan wisely avoids both extreme tragedy and overzealous triumph. The result is a fine adventure, with some realistic, genuinely heart-tugging twists.

Roger Leslie - Booklist

A wonderful and gripping class novel. Ideal for my 5th and 6th class, all boys!!They are currently engrossed with Jimmy Conway's life and in the capital!

Clare Doyle


Reader Reviews

A brilliant book. A+. Highly recommended for all ages

Claire on 21st February 2012

A stunning book about the Easter Rising from a child's point of view. A great read

Joanne on 14th November 2011

This book is excellant and the details are very accurate and factual. I really enjoyed it and felt very connected to the young children of 1916

Catriona on 19th July 2010

Your comment or review

Audio available: listen to some of this book now ...

  • Audiobook sample 1. Ready by Stephen Hogan:
  • Audiobook sample 2:
  • Audiobook sample 3:

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • pdf-logoDownload RBFS: Teaching ideas for fifth class from O'Brien Reading Programme

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Gerard Whelan answers the top 20 questions his readers ask about The Guns of Easter

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Teaching guide from O'Brien Teaching Guides Collection 1

Rights Held
World, all languages

Other books by this author
  • Out of Nowhere
  • War Children
  • A Winter of Spies
  • Dream Invader

You may also like
  • The Kidds of Summerhill
  • Lily Steps Up
  • The Boldness of Betty
  • Alice and Megan Series