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The Patriots

Guinan, Joseph Canon

New York: Benziger Brothers


The Patriots

Plot Summary

With the reluctant blessing of Canon Killian, Father Darragh becomes instrumental to the nationalist Gaelic Revival in Druminara. Such ardent nationalism piques the interest of the local young people and in turn lays the groundwork for Sinn Fein and the Volunteers. Eventually there are regular marches in and around Druminara.

When some of the young men of Druminara learn of the Rising in their homeland’s capital, they feel duty-bound to be in the thick of it. Arriving in Dublin, they march straight up the GPO and ask if they can be of assistance. They are immediately recruited and set to work building barricades on the nearby streets. Later, Eamon Donnellan keeps the British military at bay from the rooftop of the Imperial Hotel. Simon Mangan remains inside, in frequent consultation with the IRB’s Commander-in-Chief. But Tim McGarry, having been dispatched to find a priest, is struck down by shrapnel and killed, his body carried inside the GPO by J.J. Dunford.

In the months and years that follow, the town of Druminara is a site of constant violence. During a raid of the local army barracks, Canon Killian is almost shot in his own home by a stray bullet. The Donnellan household is violently searched and its inhabitants tortured for information. When the hiding place of several young members of the IRA is betrayed, several boys narrowly escape. Paddy Duffy and Simon Mangan are shot down in the fray. The roads are constantly ambushed, and even those of religious orders are not spared from violent questioning. J.J. Dunford is killed while trying to escape from a raid on the house at which he is enjoying a quiet breakfast.

After the Treaty is signed, violence persists, though only on the part of radical members of the IRA. Pleased with the improvements signaled by the truce, Canon Killian makes sure to stay well away from the violence. Father Darragh, once a proponent of the IRA’s military tactics, preaches that to fight and kill fellow Irishmen is not in keeping with the law of Catholicism. Eamon Donnellan and Seamus McGarry renounce their ties with the radicals and marry their sweethearts.

Main Characters

  • Father Darragh

  • Canon Killian

  • Simon Mangan

  • John J. (J.J.) Dunford

  • Eamon Donnellan

  • Tim McGarry

  • Seamus McGarry

  • Paddy Duffy

Significant Minor Characters

  • Richard Donnellan

  • Patricia Donnellan

  • Dr. Maurice Desmond

  • Ita Dunford

  • Bridie Moran

  • Mrs. Duffy

  • Mike Duffy

Publication History

The novel was published once in 1928 (hardcover) by the Benziger Brothers (New York). It is currently out of print.

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