Connolly Books

Sitting quietly on East Essex Street in Dublin’s cultural center Temple Bar is a bookshop that you may have walked by at some point in your time. You may be forgiven for thinking it was your run-of-the-mill bookshop but it may be unique.
It’s named Connolly Books, after the infamous Easter Rising leader James Connolly, a man Kevin Myers recently referred to as a “bloodthirsty Marxist lunatic”.
Connolly Books is probably the only one of its kind in the country. In keeping with James Connolly’s political thought it shelves Marxist and leftist literature from around the world. The radical bookshop also sells unique books on Irish history and culture. Apart from its business selling radical books and pamphlets it plays host to the Communist Party of Ireland, who use the bookshop as a base.
Every Friday the quaint bookshop is a hive of activity. It’s one of the only places in the east of the country where you can still go and hear people conversing in the Irish language. The shop is alive with the sound of Gaelic language while biscuits and coffee are served all round. Preserving Irish culture is one of the main aims of the bookshop but the bookshop is a stark reminder of the ideals that men fought for in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Rising Anniversary
And this Wednesday will be the 97 year anniversary of the first day of that rebellion. On that day in 1916 members of the Irish Volunteers, led by Padraig Pearse, and members of the Irish Citizens Army, led by James Connolly, and the IRB, took control of a number of buildings and locations in Dublin and proclaimed Ireland independent from British rule.
The rebellion itself was not thoroughly supported anywhere in Ireland, until it failed, and a number of its pioneers were executed and martyred. The executions awoke in Irish people disgust for the British, and none more so than James Connolly’s execution. Connolly was arguably the brains behind the rebellion but was so badly injured that he faced the firing squad in a chair. With broken bones and a gangrenous foot he was executed as he sat in a chair in Kilmainham Gaol.
At his court-martial he was quoted as saying “We succeeded in proving that Irishmen are ready to die endeavouring to win for Ireland those national rights which the British government has been asking them to die for in Belgium”. Kevin Myers may despise the “dead-eyed men” that stood up to British Imperial rule but for most people James Connolly was a hero of the rebellion and he dedicated his life to the pursuit of freedom for Ireland and its people.


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