Winner of the 2009 NUI Centennial Prize for Irish History. The prize was offered for the best work of Irish historical research, published since 1 January 2005 as a first sole author book. This book analyzes the ideology and organizational traditions of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), its role in Irish politics and its place in Irish history. While the IRB has long been associated with the insurrections of 1867 and 1916, Owen McGee argues that it was never primarily an insurrectionary conspiracy; rather it was a popular fraternal organization and propagandistic body, committed to bringing about popular politicization in Ireland along republican lines.
Focusing primarily on the new departures in Irish politics between the land war of 1879-81 and the outbreak of the First World War, this study identifies this period as being a critical phase in the evolution of modern Irish republicanism, as well as being the pivotal stage in the history of the IRB itself. It throws fresh light on the social and political origins of the Irish revolution of 1912-23, as well as the IRB's intended political role during that eventful epoch.
Owen McGee is currently tutoring in the department of history, UCD, and a contributor to the RIA's Dictionary of Irish Biography.