Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there no index?
I have been asked on a few occasions why That Irishman has no index. My index is of the narrative sort, a cast of players, with potted biographies, and an extensive timeline. Plus over five hundred endnotes, many of which indicate further areas of research.
The bibliography separates the historians who were contemporaries of O’Connor Power and knew him personally – Michael MacDonagh, Frank Hugh O’Donnell, R. Barry O’Brien, William O’Brien, T. P. O’Connor – and the academics who came after. Michael MacDonagh’s The Home Rule Movement and Barry O’Brien’s The Life of Parnell have no index and few footnotes.
My background is in language and literature. That Irishman crosses disciplines and genres. It is not for the speed reader, nor for unconsidered quick dips. Please just enjoy the story!
For a brisk overview check out ‘The Member from Mayo’ www.theirishstory.com
And Page ‘The Forgotten Irish Leader’.
How did you decide on the title, That Irishman?
In 1960, the English poet, Ted Hughes, published ‘Wilfred Owen’s Photographs’, describing the scene in the House of Commons when, after years of debate, flogging, the use of the cat of nine tails in the armed forces, was abolished.
He relates how ‘A witty profound Irishman’ asked for the ‘cat’ to be displayed in the Commons library. He describes ‘the gentry fingering its stained tails’, and how ‘quietly unopposed/The motion was passed.’
Decades later, Stephen Fry comments in The Ode less Travelled, 2005: ‘That Irishman did in life what poems try to do in words: to make the idea fact, the abstract concrete and the general particular.’ See That Irishman, ‘Parliamentary Manoeuvres’, page 80, endnote 184.
Ted Hughes may have heard the story from his friend, poet Robert Graves, who knew O’Connor Power from childhood. Fellow poet Wilfred Owen took photographs of the carnage in the World War One trenches and showed them to non-combatants so that they would understand the horrors of war.