Forgotten Revolution [The Centenary Edition]: The Limerick Soviet 1919

Liam Cahill


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The year 1919 was a time of revolution in Europe and Ireland. Six years after the Dublin Lockout, nationalist forces and trade unionists fused into powerful opposition to British rule. Against this background, an outbreak of worker power emerged in Limerick and the Limerick Soviet took over the city. This was the first such ‘soviet’ in either Britain or Ireland, and for two weeks they governed the city, producing newspapers, issuing their own currency and winning worldwide publicity. British authorities saw this event as a major threat and put Limerick under strict military control.

This is the definitive account of an unsung but important moment in Ireland’s history. It tells the story of the Soviet, and follows the events as they unfold day-by-day throughout the two weeks. It places the Soviet in the context of the political climate in Ireland, Europe and Britain, and it reveals the involvement of the Church, employers and leaders of the Labour movement in the events of the Soviet.

The situation bore the seeeds of potential revolution, and provides an insight into the mind of workers at that time, whose loyalties lay with both the nationalist and the Labour movements.

This book analyses the factors that defeated the Soviet, paving the way for Sinn Féin and the IRA to dominate the national struggle. It recounts the drama, courage and organisation of the Soviet, and outlines the involvement of leaders of the Labour movement in this crucial event.

Illustrated with period photographs and mementos from the Soviet.



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