The Dublin rebellion of 1916, bizarre, unpredictable and catastrophic in its outcome, continues to defy easy explanation despite eighty years of rhetoric, scholarship and reminiscence. How did the rebels develop the lofty ideals and sense of destiny which led them into a seemingly futile act of collective sacrifice? Though many participants wrote personal accounts of the Rising and its origins, surprisingly few have yet been released for publication. Frank Henderson, who became Commandant of the Second Battalion of Dublin's Irish Volunteers, was brought up in Fairview, an inner northside suburb. Both parents had imbibed Fenian sentiments in Manchester, although the Henderson line had Scottish, Protestant and even Orange antecedents.
In a family memoir originally in Irish, Frank Henderson reveals the influence of his parents and the Christian Brothers in moulding his militancy and pride in Irish culture. His second memoir relates the wartime growth of the Irish Volunteers, Henderson's contacts with leaders such as Pearse and De Valera, and his experiences in, on and beyond the General Post Office. Equally fascinating is his account of internment in Stafford and Frongoch.
The editor surveys Henderson's subsequent involvement in armed resistance against Britain and later the Irish Free State. The publication of these recollections will illuminate the mentality and outlook of the revolutionary generation..