Declan Kettle

The idea to republish Andrew J. Kettle’s memoirs came about as a result of conversations within the Kettles Heritage Society (KHS) about ways to ensure that A. J. Kettle’s many contributions to achieving Ireland’s self-determination and national development – politically, socially, and economically – will receive their rightful place in Irish history. The KHS is committed to achieving this goal by making historical publications available to audiences today, encouraging inclusion of the contributions of A. J. Kettle, as well as Tom and Laurence Kettle, in relevant educational sources, and improving awareness of these contributions among the general public, scholars and academics in the field, and across wider media outlets.

In most accounts of Ireland’s Land War (1879-82), A. J. Kettle is overshadowed by his compatriots – Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Davitt, and others – who indeed receive their just place in the history of Ireland. However, as these memoirs show, and historians increasingly confirm, Kettle played an indispensable part in it, and therefore deserves much greater visibility in telling the story of the Land War, no less than Parnell and Davitt.

With this in mind, I proposed republication of the memoirs and worked on a plan to do this with the Kettles Heritage Society, Prof. Niamh Reilly at the University of Galway (also a Kettle), and other members of the extended Kettle family. The KHS mission is to reintroduce A. J. Kettle into historical consciousness of Ireland’s struggles for independence and to give him due recognition alongside Parnell and Davitt and as someone who should be no less familiar to students of Irish history than are Redmond, Pearse, Collins, or De Valera.

For decades, Andrew J. Kettle worked tirelessly and campaigned for ordinary tenant farmers and agricultural labourers of Ireland, and for a just agrarian system across the country. This often negatively impacted his family life, his health and his farming business. We hope that this new edition of The Material for Victory will raise his profile in school and college curriculums and libraries and highlight the fundamental importance of his part in Irish history. Parnell liked to pun that his friend “Kettle” was a household name across the country, and so he should be again.

Finally, we should not forget his influence through his children and the wider Kettle family legacy. Especially Tom and Laurence Kettle, individually and through different institutional roles, played exceptional parts in Irish history. In addition, the story of A. J. and Margaret Kettle’s children, through their lives and experiences, whether in farming or religious orders, or as victims of illness, gives us a unique window on Ireland in the years before and after national independence.

Declan Kettle for the Kettles Heritage Society


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

The Material for Victory: The Memoirs of Andrew J. Kettle Copyright © 2023 by Declan Kettle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book