By Sean Matgamna
Above: a group of stonebreakers on the side of the road outside Ennis, County Clare, in the late 30s, on “relief work”. Stones were broken with sledges and hammers into small chips for road making.
“I’d sooner go breaking stones” was a saying among these men, meaning that the work to which “breaking stones” was preferable was the world’s worst. All of these men will have been members of the Ennis United Labourers’ Union. The man on the right with a cigarette in his mouth is Tommy Mahony, one of the defendants in the trial of 24 Ennis labourers in 1934 described here, and the