Written in Stone: The Graffiti in Kilmainham Jail

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SQ3536201 ,

Meet The Author

Niamh O’Sullivan spent her early years in Dublin and the Netherlands. She studies law at UCD and King’s Inns and became a barrister. In 1982, Niamh brought some visiting American relatives to Kilmainham Jail, which was being run and renovated by volunteers, and she fell under the building’s spell. Legal work permitting, Niamh acted as a volunteer guide, and when the jail was taken over by the OPW in 1986 she took a position as an official guide, before moving on to work in the archives of the jail in 1992. After twenty-four years at Kilmainham, she recently left the jail to relocate to County Kilkenny.

Written in Stone is an attempt to record the first-hand links to the people who changed the political landscape of Ireland, before all traces vanish completely. This book includes images of the numerous examples of graffiti left on the walls of Kilmainham Jail by its political inmates from the War of Independence, Civil War and even further back in Irish history.

Kilmainham Jail housed many of Ireland’s key historical flgures, from the 1798 rebellion right through to the Civil War; political prisoners who were proud to sacrifice their freedom for the cause they believed in. Many of them also left a physical mark on the jail, inscribing their names and other messages on various walls and doorways in the building. Those mentioned in the graffiti in the jail include Robert Emmet, Éamon de Valera, Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy, among many others.

As Kilmainham Jail lay derelict for so long, over the years much of the graffiti has faded or disintegrated, with some having disappeared completely. Written in Stone is a product of years of painstaking research into the graffiti and the (sometimes little-known) people who made them. The book, which contains photographs of many of the pieces of graffiti, discusses some of the heartbreaking messages left for posterity, as well as drawings of the Four Courts and even of Adolf Hitler. It is a unique record of these highly unusual links to the people who changed the political landscape of this country forever. Included is an audio CD by Maurice O’Keefe of Irish Life and Lore featuring comment by Niamh O’Sullivan which was nominated for the PBS radio prize.

Weight 0.38 kg