A new edition of the republican leader’s dramas casts a fresh light on him – and on the Revival
Patrick Pearse was 36 when a British firing squad executed him in Dublin on May 3rd, 1916. David Thornley was the same age in 1971, when he wrote about Pearse and his family in the Jesuit journal, Studies. It was the third year of the Troubles, and the English-born Thornley (like Pearse, he had an English father and an Irish mother, and died young), had become fascinated by Pearse. He had not been enthusiastic a few years earlier, when FX Martin asked him to prepare a Thomas Davis Lecture about Pearse for Radio Éireann’s 50th-anniversary commemorations in 1966: at that point he “just did not like the man”.