A book by prominent Donegal writer and activist Peadar O’Donnell is available in print again after being out of circulation for over 80 years.
First published in 1937 by Methuen, ‘Salud! – An Irishman in Spain’ is the only first hand account by an Irish writer of the opening months of the Spanish Civil War.
The work has been revived by Friends of the International Brigades in Ireland (FIBI).
Born near Dungloe in 1893, Peadar O’Donnell was a veteran campaigner with an established reputation for republican, socialist, trade union and land reform activity. His experience in Spain in 1936 led to him becoming instrumental in the organising of the Irish volunteers to the International Brigades.
The newly published version of Salud! features a fresh introduction by Donal Donnelly, a close friend and ally of Peadar O’Donnell. The two men met while Donal was in the run, having made a dramatic escape from Crumlin Road prison in 1960.
“I was invited to write the foreword and I told them there are better qualified people than myself. But because of my connection, they wanted me and I was delighted to do it,” revealed Donal.
The Omagh man said that Salud! is worth reading for a number of reasons.
“Peadar was a prophet in many ways because he talked about the Open University long before it ever became a reality. Imagine in 1936 saying to the Anarchists in Spain that your education system is very good and that we may be able to bring the Open University to people’s homes. It was another 30 years or so before it actually came to be.
“Another reason is that there is a great internationalism to it. He makes references to the similarities between life in Spain and Ireland and how first and foremost we are all the same, one race, the human race.
“It’s a great book, so well written and well worth reading.”
In his foreward Donal Donnelly describes Salud! as a “powerful eyewitness testimony of an extraordinary period in world history”.
“Unavailable for far too long, this new edition is very welcome,” he adds.
Salud! – An Irishman in Spain is available from a number of online stores, among them www.connollybooks.org, priced at €15.