An unknown event: The Irish Convention

Eoin Purcell

What you learn
Reading history books is pretty impressive. For instance, yesterday as we worked through some issues in an upcoming Mercier title, The Donegal Awakening, I stumbled across a reference to the Irish Convention, a body I had not known about:

The new Prime Minister, David Lloyd George accepted Redmond’s suggestion for an Irish Convention to resolve the problem of Home Rule and to draft a constitution for Ireland within the British Empire. The convention met in July 1917 but had made little headway when Redmond died suddenly on 6 March 1918. Later that year, in the general election of December, Redmond’s party’s representation at Westminster collapsed, resulting in a Sinn Féin triumph.


In July 1917 an Irish Convention representing a broad spectrum of interests met in the vain hope that Irishmen might work out a political settlement satisfactory to all. Here the Anglo-Irish were represented and participated in an attempt to decide the destiny of their country.


So where can I read more?
Reading about it on the pages of wikipedia and UCC’s wonderful multi-text project I was intrigued and did some digging, discovering (on LibraryThing) that there is only one text published on the Convention. That is R.B. McDowell’s The Irish Convention 1917-18.

So unless you want to dig into the bowels of Abebook and pay for postage as well as the book, you can’t. Though maybe the libraries …

Overall this little tale just serves to remind us how the real story of our history is yet to be properly told and popularly.