★Anne's new book Launched at 'Mayo Day' in the National Museum, Turlough, Co Mayo. ★
Newly published book by Anne Chambers
For The Cause: A Castlebar Family’s Stand for Irish Freedom, 1914-1924 details the struggle for Irish Independence through the personal experiences of a Castlebar family and their community. The book is, in effect, the hitherto undocumented history of the county town during this momentous period of conflict and change.
It covers the rise of nationalism in the town in the early 1900s, the founding of the Volunteers, through World War 1 and conscription, the 1916 Rising, the subsequent War of Independence, the Civil War and its immediate aftermath.
Through the hitherto unpublished personal papers and military records of Castlebar-born James Chambers, Commandant 1st Battalion, West Mayo Brigade, Old IRA, John Chambers, Captain A Column, 1st Battalion and Annie Chambers (Mellett) member of Castlebar executive Cumann na mBan For The Cause presents new and timely information about this important period of Castlebar history.
The research reveals the part played by the Chambers family from New Antrim Street and their comrades in historic events such as the establishment of Sinn Fein, the anti-conscription and election campaigns in the town, the First Dail in 1919, the activities of the Black & Tans and Auxiliaries, the formation of the Ist Battalion, West Mayo Brigade and the Castlebar Flying Column, the Kilmeena and Skirdagh ambushes, the visits of Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera to the town in the 1920s, the burning of the County Jail and Military Barracks and the experiences of Castlebar-born Republican prisoners confined in Hare Park and Tintown internment camps on the Curragh. The book also contains rare and iconic photographs of the period.
While the contribution of other Mayo town are well documented, as author Anne Chambers discovered, Castlebar’s contribution to this period of history has tended to be overlooked. ‘This I feel was in part due to the reluctance of the principals involved in the struggle for Irish Freedom in the town to talk about their contribution to the cause but instead to look to the future rather than dwell on the past for the good of community relations especially in the aftermath of the Civil War. I think the time is now right for their story and the story of Castlebar during these critical and formative times to be told.’
For The Cause was launched in the Museum of Country Life, Turlough on Friday 3 May at 5.30 pm by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett.
Copies (price 20 euro) are available from Castle Books, Castle St, Castlebar.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated by the author to a designated public cause in Castlebar in the memory of the Chambers/Mellett families.
Pictures are Author Anne Chambers and John MacEllin, Balla, at the book launch in Turlough Museum, Castle Books, Castle Street, Castlebar
Available from Mayo Books www.mayobooks.ie (094 902 4422)