Irish Revolutionary Period, Hunger strike, Thomas Ashe, 1917,
Days of Hunger, The Clare Volunteers and the Mountjoy Hunger Strike of 1917, breaks fresh ground on the often overlooked year of 1917 and shines a light on how events in that year in county Clare, helped bring about a new landscape in Irish politics. Mac Conmara examines in granular detail, events across 1917 and carefully explains their significance in the historic struggle for Irish independence. In the first year after the Easter Rsing of 1916, trepidation may have existed within the British establishment, but it would be only in the summer of 1917 that the confrontation, which had been anticipated began to develop. The book argues that in Clare, decisions taken by the Volunteer leadership, engineered an open confrontation of British rule and brought relations to a head. By September, the ancient conflict between Britain and Ireland was condensed within the walls of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. There thirty-eight republican prisoners who had been arrested over the summer, faced down the system of British rule within a new and uncertain arena of struggle, the hunger strike. Once the hunger strike began, Mac Conmara explains that there could only be three possible outcomes; surrender by the prisoners, concession by the government, or death. Five days into the episode, Tomás Ashe, a 32-year-old republican from Kerry died as a result of force-feeding and the political landscape in Ireland seemed to shift. Amongst those on hunger strike were sixteen Clare men, by far the largest number from one Irish county. Days of Hunger charts the role played by those Clare republicans throughout 1917 and illuminates the enduring significance of events in that year for modern Irish history.