The Insurrection in Dublin was first published in October 1916, barely six months after the Irish Volunteers’ Easter Rising took place. The text was never revised so that it has retained the sense of immediacy that makes it one of the classic works of the period.
James Stephens is best known as the author of The Crock of Gold and The Demi Gods as well as for his poetry, but as AE wrote in his review of this work: ‘he has the most vivid senses of any Irishman now writing. He kept a journal day by day, writing down what saw with those keen eyes of his. They are the eyes of the poet and storyteller interested a thousand times more in the character of life, in studying behaviour under abnormal circumstances, than in any other aspects of the rising.’ These qualities have kept this book recurrently in print.
John A. Murphy, who was Professor of Irish History at University College Cork, NUI, has contributed an Introduction and Afterword which set the Rising in its historial context, and assess the impact that it had on Ireland at the time and the subsequent events that led up to the foundation of the Irish Free State.