‘I had to sit down and think for a couple of days afterwards, ask myself: are you prepared to face this? It’s quite likely that you yourself will get killed in time. Are you really prepared to do this? If not, you’d better make up your mind now, not to, or make up your mind go ahead.’
Seán MacBride was born in Paris on 26 January 1904 – his first visit to Ireland commenced on 8 April 1904. He lived in France during his childhood, returning to Ireland with his mother, Maud Gonne, early in 1918.
That Day’s Struggle presents a first-hand account of Seán MacBride’s early life in Passy, the visitors to the house, return to Ireland via London, his friends in the republican movement, experiences at war, life in jail and on the run, the development of his philosophy, and reminiscences about various incidents in which he was involved.
It is the story of one man’s effort to secure freedom from foreign domination for his country, and the people he met along this journey. It is the story of a life spent as a republican, a prisoner, a journalist, a lawyer and a politician.
This memoir adds to our understanding of what it must have been like during the first half of the twentieth century during the War of Independence, the Civil War, the Truce and Treaty period, as outlined by Seán MacBride.
As a youth he acted as a messenger for Michael Collins; he chronicles his IRA activities, his life trying to eke out a living in Paris with Catalina (Kid) Bulfin whom he married in January 1926. We hear about hiis return to Ireland, time spent studying, and in jail, a short period of time as IRA Chief of Staff, and the establishment in 1946 of Clann na Poblachta, the political party whose slogan was ‘Put them Out’.
We hear of his efforts to end partition, his views on the External Relations Act, and his friendship with representatives from other countries in post-war Europe. The narrative ends with the demise of the first Inter-Party Government – before he undertook his international career.
Seán Mac Bride was a unique personality in the Ireland of the twentieth century. Perhaps, with the passage of time, and through reading this account, a sense of pride will be generated among Irish men and women in the history of our country and the sacrifices made by so many to secure us our place on the world’s stage today.
Seán MacBride (1904-1988) was a lawyer, revolutionary and politician. He was a founder member of Amnesty International and UNESCO. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 and the Lenin Peace Prize in 1977.
Caitriona Lawlor was secretary to Seán MacBride for eleven years (1977-1988), during which time she worked closely with MacBride at home and abroad on a variety of ongoing projects in which he was involved.