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Author: Stephen O'Reilly; Editor: Mícheál Ó Doibhilín
 ISBN: 978-1-908056-99-3. 96 pp + Cover. A5. Cover colour, text black and white. €12.50 + p&p

On May 25th, 1921, the last major action by the May 25, 1921 saw one of the greatest attacks by Republicans on the British administration in Ireland when some three hundred volunteers attacked the Custom House in Dublin, burning it and its contents to the ground, seriously hampering the Administration’s ability to run the affairs of State, especially revenue collection.

While the attack was a success, nine men lost their lives in it – five republicans and four civilians, including the caretaker of the building. Tragically, among the dead were two brothers – Stephen O’Reilly, just 19 years of age and his older brother Patrick, 26.

The following year fellow Republican, poet, writer and publisher Brian O’Higgins published a collection of some 40 poems by Stephen under the title Spirit Flowers”. That book has been out of print for almost 100 years. Now, at last, many of Stephen’s poems and other writings have been rescued from obscurity in this volume which contains, not only those works in “Spirit Flowers”, but also some other long-forgotten writings recently rediscovered.

Stephen O’Reilly was an excellent poet, an emerging talent recognised as one of the best of his time. He had yet to fully blossom, however, and one can only wonder what he would have produced had he survived. But Stephen, to quote from one of his poems, “could not stay behind” while Ireland called. Instead, he willingly and unselfishly sacrificed a glorious future in a hail of Auxiliary bullets for our freedom, our future. 

While grateful for his sacrifice, and as we continue to benefit from it, we cannot but regret the loss of this incredibly talented youth, taken before his time, one of so many who gave their lives during the long Irish fight for independence and freedom.

With a biography by Des White, an Introduction and commentary by Micheal Ó Doibhilín, and appraisal of his poems by Mary Weir, and a reproduction of the original Foreword by Brian O'Higgins, this is not just 'another book of poems' but an exposé of the soul of a patriot. It is a must for every bookshelf.

 
 
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