The book treats of the international and national political background before moving on to examine social and economic life in Dunlavin during the early twentieth century. Religious and political differences are uncovered and the advent of many new political movements in the region is discussed. A detailed examination of the impact of the First World War on the local area is followed by an examination of Dunlavin’s experience during the Easter Rising and its aftermath. An assessment of the rise of Sinn Fein and the party’s landmark victory in the 1918 general election (when Dunlavin was in the grip of the great influenza pandemic) leads on to evaluations of both the War of Independence and the Civil War. Dunlavin’s Civil War experience is placed in a wider West Wicklow context before the book examines the return of peace and the new reality of Dunlavin taking its place within the Irish Free State. A new era of domestic political sovereignty had dawned in the much-altered West Wicklow village.
The book contains 53 illustrations and 19 appendices, including press reports of meetings held to establish various political organisations in the village, with the original speeches reproduced. There are lists of the heads of households in Dunlavin in both 1901 and 1911, lists of the members of the three I.R.A. companies in which Dunlavin volunteers served during the War of Independence and lists of the Anti-Treaty I.R.A. in these companies during the Civil War. The appendices enhance the book and provide much valuable background information.