Weekend Books — Irish Politics in Postcards

Declan Martin’s Irish Politics in Postcards is both a fantastic read, and an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Irish history.

The (mostly) unbiased commentary throughout each chapter of Irish political history unravels the intricacies of each illustration in a manner that is accessible, educational, and often entertaining.

Suitably, in this year of the centenary, the chapter covering the Easter Rising offers a unique collection of photographs, drawings and propaganda from the time, offering a poignant demonstration of the importance for Erin to remember. Arguably the most emotive, this chapter includes postcards showing the rebels marching before the rising, the surrender of Pearse and of Ceannt, and the funeral of Ashe which serves of a reminder of the lives lost in the years after.

Moving north of the border, Martin’s postcards from Northern Ireland capture the mood during the Troubles, and his commentary seeks to examine “the continuing years of tragedy” caused by the conflict. Somewhat ironically, his concluding postcards depict the glorification of the mythological Cúchulainn by both loyalists and republicans – emphasising the truth in our shared history that is sure to spark healthy debate in any household.

All-in-all, Martin’s collection commemorates our past, both north and south of the border – and is highly recommended both for those who wish to learn about our history, and for those more interested in having it on the coffee table for the odd skim through the (sometimes) pretty pictures!

Seosamh Gráinséir

Irish Politics in Postcards by Declan Martin. Pub by Ulster Historical Foundation, 200pp £17.99 (Paperback).