Recollections of 1913

100 Years Later: The Legacy of the 1913 Lock-Out, edited by Mary Muldowney with Ida Milne (Seven Towers, €12.99/£10.99)

This publication, supported by the trade union Unite, is a collection of recollections and family traditions gathered among the descendants of those who were caught up in the events of 1913, when the emerging trade union movement clashed with the employers organisations in Dublin.

This conflict is often expressed as a struggle between James Larkin and William Martin Murphy, a conflict between the workers and the tycoon who controlled both the trams and the Irish Independent and Clerys.

Yet the most important aspect was role of the dockers and the dray men who saw to the distribution of goods from the dock to the warehouses and businesses of the city. As a result the lockout affected many besides those who followed Larkin.

The personal stories in this book are fascinating and often disturbing, but the difficulties of those who have to work for their living in straightened times still remain.

A more sober assessment today might well wonder at the role of trade unions and businesses today, the one bound within national borders the other free to uproot themselves and move to a cheaper labour market.

The book also includes an account of the 1911 Wexford Lockout, which ended in a perceived victory for the workers, a little know affair well worth resurrecting.