Joe Stanley & The Gaelic Press
The Stanley Collection, now in the ownership of the Irish Government, provides and unprecedented insight into Ireland's struggle for Independence. A living history of the period from a prominent propagandist of the national cause, who published the Irish political and cultural views of the day. A history saved and handed down directly over ninety years through generations of his family to the electronic age when it has finally been reproduced for the first time and digitally saved for posterity.
Joe Stanley was a young printer/publisher who during British rule in the early part of the twentieth century blatantly flouted the laws suppressing free speech under the very noses of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Engaged in both printing and publishing material that supported the burgeoning nationalist and republican movements. Joe Stanley's was one of a number of mosquito press operations which lived on their wits to keep the presses rolling, despite frequent raids and harassments. Joe himself was raided over twenty times and closed down on many occasions.
His crucial role came during the Easter Rising of 1916. As the fires burned and the rifles cracked around the G.P.O he acted as Pearse's press agent. the leader of The Rising relying on Joe Stanley to get the word to the masses that Ireland was rebelling once again. Numerous iconic documents and letters passed through his hands and many have survived to this day and have been digitally saved for posterity by the family.
The First Documents
The most significant and rare have been produced for the first time in the book "Joe Stanley Printer to The Rising". These include what the family simply referred to as the Pearse Papers - iconic handwritten transcripts by Pearse in the G.P.O. The Irish War News and The Proclamation to the Citizens of Dublin and War Bulletin 3 dated the 88th of April - the war bulletins of Easter Week and First Documents of the newly proclaimed republic and the only documents issued from the G.P.O. by the rebels written and signed "P. H. Pearse Commanding in Chief the Forces of the Irish Republic + President of the Provisional Government."
Joe Stanley was, for his part in the Rising, interned in Frongoch Camp in North Wales alongside Michael Collins, Dick Mulcahy, Oscar Traynor, Sean T O Kelly and other leading figures. Joe's documents amply record what life was like for the prisoners in Frongoch and as secretary of the Games Committee he recounts the many impressive achievements of Michael Collins in the athletics field. Along with all the other hut leaders Joe was court-marshalled whilst in the camp which prompted him to write the satirical "Frongoch Roll Call" verse.
All of this fascinating history is recorded for the first time in the book and the books content formed the basis for the TG4 television drama documentary "Frongoch", in which uniquely Joe is played by his great grandson Trevor. Following his release from Frongoch on Christmas Eve 1916, Joe redoubled his effort to produce propaganda. Along with his work colleagues and in-laws Matthew and Charles Walker they printed and produced the commemorative Proclamation at Easter 1917 for Cumann Na Mban with some of the original typeface used at Liberty Hall one year earlier - as the aftermath of The Rising began to rekindle the national flame.
Joe's business eventually fell foul of British Censorship when he was finally closed down in 1918 by the G Division of the DMP - "having been relentlessly pursued by the British Authorities" - ( Irish Independent January 1953). Joe was not for turning and continued to print An t'Oglach for Michael Collins whom he continued to serve right through the 1918 Elections and The War of Independence up to the Treaty. He even moved his propaganda to a new modern media when he presented the Sinn Fein Review to his cinema audiences in Drogheda, where he moved to in 1919 to begin a new chapter is his so far eventful life.
"Joe Stanley Printer to The Rising" is a unique account of a fascinating element of the period that led to the creation of an independent state in Ireland.
" The forgotten journalist who saved our history" - The Irish Independent