A no-holds-barred insider account of the IRA's border campaign.
Former IRA quartermaster general Mick Ryan's memoir of growing up in Dublin's East Wall in the 1940s and 1950s and his subsequent involvement in the border campaign. 'My Life in the IRA' is a story of suffering, hardship, frustration and constant disappointment that will leave readers wondering why anyone would become involved in such a patently hopeless cause and, even more so, why these volunteers persisted when defeat loomed from an early stage.
Mick and his comrades regarded the objectives of 1916 not as pious aspirations but as a bequest from previous generations of revolutionaries that provided them with the opportunity to give meaning to their own lives. Mick had a 'deep sense of regret' that he had not been born early enough to participate in the Easter Rising and the subsequent struggle for independence. For him and his comrades to give up would have been a form of self-betrayal akin to the loss of a vocation among his more religiously inclined contemporaries.
Mick Ryan grew up in Dublin's East Wall. From an early age he was entranced by stories of Ireland's fight for freedom and he joined the IRA as a teenager. On 12 December 1956 he participated in the launch of the border campaign and, with the exception of two brief periods in prison, was active throughout the campaign.
Padraig Yeates is an editor, journalist, trade unionist and author. He has worked for many years for 'The Irish Times' and is the author of the Dublin quartet: 'Lockout: Dublin 1913', 'A City in Wartime: Dublin 1914-18', 'A City in Turmoil: Dublin 1919-21' and 'A City in Civil War: Dublin 1921-24'.