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12 August 1922: Death of a statesman

Read Eunan Ó Halpin’s essay on the fading of Arthur Griffith on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland(link is external), we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Eunan Ó Halpin and it covers the death of Arthur Griffith which has often been overshadowed by Michael Collins death a fortnight later.

Arthur Griffith’s sudden death at the age of just 51 on 12 August 1922 was an enormous shock to his Provisional Government colleagues and to Treaty supporters in Ireland and beyond. A printer and jobbing political journalist, he lived and died a poor man: his widow had to fight for adequate state support for his young family. Michael Collins died less than a fortnight later; ever since, Griffith’s death has been addressed largely as a prelude to the ‘Big Fellow’s’ dramatic end. Collins’s death still overshadows Griffith’s memory, clouds the reality that Griffith’s death was world news when it happened, and hampers evaluation of how Griffith might have influenced national economic development in succeeding years. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.


Ireland 1922