Kindling the Flame

150 Years of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation

Final Cover 15 NovThis is a finely researched and readable account of multiple struggles over 150 years, in which themes of politics, class, gender and power are deftly interwoven through the story of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation.

The INTO emerged in 1868 as teachers across Ireland united to fight for their rights. Men and women, Catholic and Protestant, they were all subject to poor pay, dire conditions and no job security, banned from speaking publicly about their grievances and ignored by the Board of National Education which oversaw them.


Against these obstacles, the INTO steadily grew in strength and influence to take on the Dublin-based education authorities which oversaw them, the London government which paid them and the priests who employed them.

Simultaneously, the organisation which was non-political (neither nationalist nor unionist) and non-sectarian negotiated the inevitable challenges thrown up in a country that was often split along national and religious lines.

After decades of fighting campaigns against the British administration for recognition and for decent conditions of employment, it had to fight them all over again against governments in Dublin and Belfast.

This is an important book that examines education, religion, politics, labour history and society on the island of Ireland from the Fenians to Brexit.

Kindling the Flame is available to order here.