James Connolly

James Connolly

My Search for the Man, the Myth and his Legacy



'Very interesting on how fanaticism can develop within a community, and especially relevant today.' Bob Geldof

The story of revolutionary James Connolly, his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, and his subsequent influence both on O'Callaghan himself, and on 20th century Irish politics.

Easter Monday, 24th April, 1916: James Connolly, a 48-year-old Edinburgh-born Marxist and former British soldier, stands at the top of the steps of Liberty Hall, Dublin.

'We are going out to be slaughtered,' Connolly told his comrades, and with this he set in train the Easter Rising of 1916.

Two weeks later, in a scene that has haunted Nationalist Ireland ever since, he was carried to his place of execution having been badly wounded. Placed on a chair, he was shot dead by soldiers of the army he had once served in.

This is not a traditional biography; it is a book about Sean O'Callaghan's relationship with a man who was to deeply influence his formative years; it is about the politics of violent extremism that O'Callaghan subsequently became caught up in; and it's about the kind of individuals who are willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives, for a holy cause.

Never has a book been more timely.


  • extraordinary and insightful new biography of James Connolly – a magnificent reconsideration of the myths surrounding the Republican ‘hero’ and his warped place in the Republican mindset.
    The Spectator

About the author

Sean O'Callaghan

Sean O'Callaghan joined the Provisonal IRA in 1970, aged fiteen, and he was active in Northern Ireland in the mid-seventies, taking part in numerous terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of two members of the security forces. He resigned from the IRA in 1975, just short of his 21st birthday, having become disillusioned with everything it stoof for. He rejoined it in 1979, this time volunteering his services to the Irish police as in informer. He continued this work until 1985 when he had to leave Ireland as suspicion about him mounted.

In 1988 he handed himself up to British police and admitted involvement in IRA activities in Northern Ireland in the mid-seventies. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and released under Royal Prerogative in 1996.

After his release he wrote his autobiography The Informer, and has continued to work for peace in Ireland. Today he works with young people at risk of getting involved in criminal or extremist activity.
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