‘Nodlaig na bFiann’ – The Fianna Christmas ‘Annual’ went on sale at Christmas 1914 costing only one penny.
Patsy O’Connor* was editor and Percy Reynolds, sub-editor.
Included in the festive book were articles by Countess Markievicz, James Connolly, AE (George Russell), Bulmer Hobson, Maeve Kavangah, Seamus O’Sulivan and Padraig O’Riain. Illustrations were by Grace Gifford, Ernest Kavangah and Louis O’Connor.
A review of ‘Nodlaig na bFiann’ in ‘The Irish Volunteer’ by ‘Willie Nelson’ congratulated the ‘pluck and enterprise’ of its staff in publishing the annual and said ‘those lads would tackle anything’. According to Nelson there was a great rush on the sale of the annual and it was a financial success. Although he was to some extent disappointed by what he called ‘irrelevant articles’. He felt that there should have been more emphasis on Fianna related articles rather than what transpired.
The ‘Annual’ was expected to be a yearly publication but did not re-appear after 1914. However following the financial successful of the Christmas annual, a decision by O’Connor and Reynolds was made to publish a monthly newspaper called ‘Fianna’ which ran for about a year.
*On June 15th, 1915 Fianna editor Patsy O’Connor died of wounds he received two years earlier from the police during the ‘1913 Lockout’. He was hit on the head by a police baton while giving first aid to a wounded old man. Reynolds carried on editorship on the Fianna newspaper until January 1916.