Demand sees e-book on Limerick soldier make it to print

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Michael Hayes is particularly delighted for the family of Captain Joe Graham that The Irish Republican Struggle in Limerick has been published. Picture: Mike Cowhey
AMID talk of e-readers sounding the death knell of books, one local example has resulted in demand for a paperback to be printed.

AMID talk of e-readers sounding the death knell of books, one local example has resulted in demand for a paperback to be printed.

Over a year ago Michael Hayes launched The Irish Republican Struggle in Limerick: personal recollections of Captain Joe Graham.

Mr Hayes compiled the book from the diary of Captain Graham, from Lisnagry, during the period 1917 to 1921.

It is written in the first person perspective of Captain Graham, who became a soldier in the Republican movement aged 16 with the Ahane company.

“It is so unusual to come across a diary. There is amazing insight into what life was like during that period. Historians are only reading second or third hand accounts but this is in his own words,” said Mr Hayes, author of many books.

Only a limited number was printed. These were snapped up as it was ostensibly an e-book available from web sites.

“I sent it to the Hibernian Digest in America and it fitted in with The Gathering.

“The feedback was very good in Ireland and America but the age profile of the book’s readers didn’t use e-readers,” explained Mr Hayes, who lives in Annacotty.

Due to it growing popularity Original Writing in Dublin approached Mr Hayes about publishing it.

“People love to have a book in their hands. I have an e-reader but most people still like to have the feel of a book in their hands,” said Mr Hayes.

He is pleased that it is now available to the masses but especially for Mr Graham’s family.

“They are very proud of him and are delighted to see that he is getting the recognition he deserves. Sales are going very well,” said Mr Hayes.

Captain Graham, who went on to become an officer with the rank of lieutenant in the army of the new state under Michael Collins, said in his diary: “I believed that it was the duty of my generation to continue the age-old struggle for the breaking of the Union of 1801.”

However, this book deals strictly with 1917 to 1921.

“He was writing before the divide. He wasn’t interested in anything to do with the split afterwards which brought about the civil war,” said Mr Hayes. The book is divided in to chapters with headings like the bridge at Annacotty and Mountshannon House, and is full of local family names.

Mr Hayes said Captain Graham’s recollections are wonderful human-interest stories that also contain a wealth of information about ordinary Irish people.

The material was given to Mr Hayes by the late John Graham, son of Captain Graham. Another son, Arthur, also contributed to the book. John’s wish was that his father’s contribution to the formation of the Irish state as we know it today be recorded. That process began last year and will reach even more readers now.

The book is available from Eason, O’Mahony’s, Celtic Bookshop; in bookshops in Kilrush and Newcastle West and on-line.

It costs €12.