Monday 11 December 2023

MilitaryArchives publishes A Very Hard Struggle: Lives in the MSPC

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In addition to making its 15th release from the Military Service Pensions Collection (MSPC) a couple of weeks ago (see blogpost), the Military Archives has launched another milestone publication through which we can hear the voices of those who lived through the nation's struggle for independence.

A Very Hard Struggle - Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection comes with a Foreward by Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, TD, an excellent must-read Introduction by Anne Dolan, and a series of essays (see below) that examine the social, economic and political issues of this bleak period and how individuals and families responded to the trauma and difficulties they faced.

The book's editors are Anne Dolan, Associate Professor in Modern Irish History and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, and Catriona Crowe, historian and former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland.

These are the titles of the 17 essays:

  • ‘A lump sum would be altogether undoing her…’ Dependency claims: an overview of the army pensions legislation, by Cécile Chemin
  • ‘It was not a question of dropping out’: the MSPC, personal circumstances, and the limits on participation in the Irish revolution, by Brian Hughes
  • Experiencing the Irish revolution: pension records and the sensory and emotional impact of armed conflict, by Marie Coleman
  • Republican policing and the Irish revolution, by Brian Hanley
  • ‘This strike … was of the utmost importance, and met with the approval of the IRA Executive’: the munitions strike of 1920, by Pádraig Yeates
  • Logistics, everyday life, and the Kilmichael ambush, by Eve Morrison
  • Civilians in the MSPC, by Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid
  • Éire saor agus Gaelach? TheMSPC and the Irish language, by Síobhra Aiken
  • ‘Alas, how I have been let down’: prison, ill-health, entitlement, and the army pensions legislation, by William Murphy
  • To whom it may concern … : the case of Christina Brooks, by Susan Byrne
  • Welfare, widowhood, and the state: an exploration of the dependant’s allowances in the MSPC, by Fionnuala Walsh
  • ‘Applicant is a spinster’: aspects of the cosmos of the everyday life of single women, by Leeann Lane
  • ‘Please say who are the dependents in this case?’ Female vulnerability, the male-breadwinner model, and the MSPC, by Lindsey Earner-Byrne
  • Illuminating the tragedies of Kerry: the MSPC and the Civil War in Kerry, by Daithí Ó Corráin
  • Using the MSPC to uncover a revolutionary youth and its aftermath, by Marnie Hay
  • ‘A hard price to pay’: the burden of revolutionary inheritance, by Fearghal McGarry
  • Keepers of the Flame: bringing the MSPC archive to screen, A conversation between Diarmaid Ferriter and Nuala O’Connor