Erskine Childers was an accomplished yachtsman. He published The Riddle of the Sands in 1903. It was a prescient book. It alerted the nation to the dangers from Imperial Germany. In the book, Childers used his knowledge of tides and islands in the Baltic Sea.
Later, having served in the First World War, Childers threw in his lot with Michael Collins and Sinn Fein in the struggle for an independent Irish republic. He considered that the agreement signed with Britain in 1922 was a compromise too far. Subsequently, he was put on trial, found guilty, and executed by the British.