This book is an act of homage to an extraordinary Irish couple: Arthur and Maud Griffith. It is a great love story, recounting their lives together and separately in one place, 122 St. Lawrence Road, Clontarf, where they lived with their two children, Neven and Ita. Such was the esteem in which they were held as a couple that this family home had been purchased for them as a wedding gift by a group of 250 contributors including Countess Markievicz, James Connolly, John McBride, Eamonn Ceannt, Cathal Brugha, Roger Casement, Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh, Douglas Hyde, Eoin MacNeill and George Russell (AE).
Many previously overlooked and unpublished letters to and from this Dublin address by Maud Griffith in particular form the basis for this book. A Black and Tan raid on the house in 1918 in which a whole raft of Arthur’s papers were confiscated along with the children’s schoolbags resulted in the majority of his correspondence being lost, though exhaustive archival research restores his voice also. Many of Maud Griffith’s extraordinarily insightful letters have survived and have never been examined before. They chart the enforced absence of her husband in jail for two-fifths of the period 1916-22, while providing a full account of home life against the backdrop of unfolding historical events in Ireland. During the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations of 1921, Arthur wrote to Maud repeatedly to join him and she duly graced London and stayed the course of the proceedings by his side.
Arthur Griffith died a man ‘who broke his blessed heart for Ireland’ in 1922 and a bereft Maud lived on until 1963, valiant and steadfast in upholding the credentials of a great Irishman. The lens through which history is viewed is all too frequently male-oriented and this book seeks to redress that balance and recount the watershed period 1916-22 through the eyes of a great Irishwoman, casting a uniquely revealing light on two of the most eminent Irish people of the century. Their love for each other was on the scale of a whole nation and no two people could have sacrificed more for the love of Ireland. The Ireland we live in today owes them a great debt and their story deserves to be told.
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Date of Publication: 01/09/2023