On 21 January, 1919, Dail Eireann held its opening session and the Irish Volunteers drew their first mortal blood since 1916 at Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary. These facts have set the seal for subsequent historians of the first months of the year.
Yet such an emphasis is the product of subsequent events rather than of judgement of contemporary news. The first Dail and Soloheadbeg were, in their time, isolated incidents in a period that was more notable for industrial unrest. The Belfast engineering strike began within days of those two nationalist events and, before the end of the month, Peadar O