Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Christian Knowledge

    Tom Inglis
    Sociology, as taught in late twentieth century Ireland, was a discipline in which there was no interrogation of power, no analysis of social class, no questioning of patriarchy, no theorising about the role of the state and, in particular, no examination of the power of the Catholic church.
    More

    The Most Distressful Country

    Joseph Woods
    In the mid-1830s a liberal Hungarian aristocrat and writer made a journey through Ireland. Inspired by Daniel O’Connell’s campaigning, he wrote that England, while being viewed by the world as great and upholding the rights of man, was now ‘trembling before the country she has enslaved’.
    More

    Defining Utopia

    Philip MacCann
    Utopian imaginings were alive and well in eighteenth century Ireland and could be found not just in pamphlets but in vision poems and travellers’ tales, speeches, manifestos and proclamations and the practical improving projects of philanthropic societies like the Dublin Society (later the RDS).
    More

    Selfless Radical

    Pádraig Yeates
    Whether as journalist, actress, propagandist or orator, Helena Molony played a very significant part in socialist, national and women’s struggles in the first half of the twentieth century. Yet for all her tireless activity, personally she could be extremely self-effacing.
    More

    What The People Thought

    Alan Titley
    One will have a very impoverished and distorted view of the history of ‘the long eighteenth century’ if one relies on official documents, ignoring the poetry, songs and compositions of ordinary people, chiefly in the Irish language, which was often the only language of the majority.
    More

    Family Troubles

    David Blake Knox
    A novel set in Ireland and in various of the theatres of the Second World war is based on the historical story of an Irish family of the minor gentry, who, like well over 100,000 other Irish citizens, took part in this conflict, in which nine thousand of them are estimated to have died.
    More

    A Century in Print

    Andrew Carpenter
    Toby Barnard’s quirky and often humorous study of Irish publishing in the eighteenth century contains an immense quantity of information gleaned from a huge variety of sources, all woven into a single colourful tapestry. It is the richest work on the subject ever accomplished.
    More

    A Servant of the Crown

    Charles Lysaght
    When old age pensions were introduced in 1908 there was a fear among senior administrators in Ireland that they would be massively abused by ‘a class of people who have brought scheming for the purposes of obtaining state and charitable aid to a pitch of perfection’.
    More

    Ireland’s Adventure in Spain

    John Minahane
    During the first few years of the seventeenth century there was a remarkable Irish migration to Spain. The migrants came principally from southwest Cork and south Kerry. Both sexes were well-represented, and all ages, rich and poor, higher classes and low – possibly 10,000 people.
    More

    The Fish and the Water

    Thomas Fitzgerald
    A study of the IRA’s relations with the people during the War of Independence reveals that while there was sometimes intimidation, its level can easily be exaggerated. Nor should one forget that the greater intimidation of the population came from the Crown forces.
    More

    Making History in Ireland

    Liam Kennedy
    Studying and writing history within the academy is an iterative process that admits of progress, regression and deviation but at its best it is a truth-seeking quest, and one without end. The fruits of inquiry are always subject to revision, at least outside of totalitarian and theocratic societies.
    More

    An Angry Wind

    John Wilson Foster
    An Angry Wind
    A new biographical study liberates us from the Yeatsian image of Maud Gonne most of us have lived with, springs her from long existence as a footnote to a great poet’s life and gives us the information by which we can finally take the measure of this deplorably influential woman.
    More

    A Canine Resurrection

    David Blake Knox
    The ancient Irish Wolfhound was chosen as an emblem for the Abbey Theatre and a mascot for the Irish Volunteers. But in fact the dog we know as the Wolfhound is far from ancient and far from ‘pure’. And perhaps, as such, it is not an unsuitable symbol for the Irish ‘race’.
    More

    Against Liberalism

    Gordon Warren
    In the newly independent Ireland of the 1920s, the Jesuit social theorist Edward Cahill argued strongly for the adoption of specifically Catholic principles in government, as well as resistance to what he saw as the corrosive effects of an unwanted legacy of British liberalism.
    More

    Proof or Imagination?

    Frank MacGabhann
    A new book on Casement’s Black Diaries refuses to consider the possibility that these were a forgery. One sad consequence of the focus on whether Casement was or was not a homosexual and engaged in predatory acts is that it detracts from his hugely important work as a humanitarian.
    More

    Not So Very Different

    Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke
    Not So Very Different

    There can at times be an attention-seeking particularism about Irish writing - look at us, and at how unique and how very interesting we are. But in terms of our post-independence economic history we are much like many comparable peripheral European states, with similar failures and similar successes.


    More

    Bunker Days

    Witness Seminar
    Bunker Days
    In December 1985 a number of Irish civil servants bedded down in a bleak office-cum-living quarters in Belfast, their job to oversee the implementation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. With protesters howling at the gates, they lived under siege, but gradually established good relations with many of their political and security partners.
    More

    Making the Jump

    Frank Barry
    A ‘hard Brexit’ will undoubtedly create grave difficulties for Irish-owned businesses and ‘tariff-jumping’ foreign direct investment will come to seem an obvious response. Irish firms will establish operations in the UK, as Jacob’s, Guinness and Carroll’s have done in the past.
    More

    Ministering to All

    Thomas FitzGerald

    Families and generations were often divided over the wisdom of making war on the British. One west Cork IRA man recalled his patriotic parents saying “in the name of God, are you mad taking on the British Empire?”. Like the people the priests were also divided, although their difficulties eased somewhat with the arrival of the unambiguously invasive Black and Tans.

    More

    Too Long A Sacrifice

    Fergus O’Ferrall
    French Catholic intellectual influences were very evident in Catholic middle class culture in early twentieth century Ireland and were openly embraced in Joseph Mary Plunkett’s The Irish Review, a journal which promoted ‘a particularly religiose form of nationalism’.
    More

    Sins of the Advocate

    Frank Callanan
    The Irish-American lawyer John Quinn defended Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of the ‘Little Review’ from prosecution for publishing extracts from ‘Ulysses’. The prosecution led to the effective banning of the book in 1921. Quinn’s defence strategy left a lot to be desired.
    More

    After the Catechism

    Carmel Heaney
    Morality and moral behaviour, based on informed choices, lead to good laws and good policy. There is a concern that, if religious education disappears from schools, society could bankrupt the moral capital accumulated through centuries of Christian faith – unless we have something strong to replace it.
    More

    Door Into The Dark

    David Wheatley
    Door Into The Dark
    Proponents of the ‘best are leaving’ theory of emigration deplored the losses but were wary of the suggestion that providing a basic standard of living was any business of the Irish state. Anti-materialists feared prosperity could weaken the racial stock by making life too easy.
    More

    Back to the Future

    Niall Crowley
    Ireland’s experience of nation-building, which in reality was a far from adventurous one, was first driven by Catholicism and cultural nationalism and then by economic development and human capital.
    More

    They Call It Peace

    Patrick J Murray
    A new collection of participants’ accounts of England’s wars in sixteenth century Ireland reveals the extreme means – starvations, burnings, decapitations, slaughter of women, children and the elderly – by which its soldiers and administrators claimed to have pacified the country.
    More

    Havens for the Riff-raff

    Pádraig Yeates
    In the early years of the state, the poor, widowed, orphaned and illegitimate were seen as problem groups that were a drain on scarce resources, a threat to the social order and a disgrace to the nation. They needed policing and, where necessary, confinement.
    More

    Not a Woman’s Place

    Bryan Fanning
    A classic study of the figures who made independent Ireland has been reprised after more than fifty years. Taken together, the books illustrate the main currents in Irish historiography, while the new volume corrects the earlier one’s hagiographic tone and neglect of women.
    More

    Out of the Rut

    John Horgan
    The 1960s saw Ireland escaping for a few years from the glumness of the previous decade before crisis returned in 1973. It was a happy time to be middle class and young. However, the good times were differentially distributed and not everyone’s memories are happy.
    More

    A Rising Diary

    A journal kept during April and May 1916 reflects the experience of the Easter Rising of a professional family who lived in Dublin’s Merrion Square, a comfortable part of south Dublin but one which was in close proximity to some of the fiercest fighting.
    More

    Meet the Folks

    Nicola Gordon Bowe
    The term ‘Celts’ has been used for 2,500 years and has changed its meaning many times. Though a cultural construct, it continues to strike a chord both nationally and globally among the populations of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and in their diaspora communities around the world.
    More

    The Empire Strikes Back

    Paul Hyde
    Roger Casement wanted a free Ireland restored to the nations of Europe but he passionately wanted something else, something which he was unusually placed to understand, the dismemberment of the British empire. Captured and tried, he was unlikely to be forgiven.
    More

    Dissenting Radical

    Donal Fallon
    Archibald Hamilton Rowan was viewed by both the authorities and his fellow members of the United Irishman as its leading light but his name has faded from memory compared with those of Tone or Emmet as he spent the most dramatic years of revolutionary activity in exile.
    More

    No Plaster Saint

    Theo Dorgan
    James Connolly’s participation in the 1916 Rising was part of a calculated gamble. Glorifying him as an exponent of physical force politics, however, is a corruption of his beliefs and hopes, a travesty of his analysis, a grotesque and impermissible appropriation.
    More

    From On High

    Jamie Blake Knox
    Choosing a suitable person in the nineteenth century to write a history of the Irish Anglican church was a complex matter, for identity was not just a matter of religious doctrine: it also related to ethnic and political allegiance and to relations with Catholics and Presbyterians.
    More

    We Know Nothing

    James Moran
    A new book on Irish immigrants in Manchester raises wider issues of anti-immigrant prejudice and racism while helping us to reconceive the geographies of Irishness and the locations and spaces in which a migrant Irish identity has been articulated and sustained.
    More

    Half The Man

    Thomas Fitzgerald
    A new biography of Patrick Pearse neglects the important cultural and educational sides of his achievement and fails to build on or even engage with previous studies of the man who is probably the most interesting of the 1916 rebels.
    More

    Before the Flood

    Connal Parr
    A new memoir recalls an artistic and political controversy which rocked Northern Ireland more than fifty years ago, at a time when its labour traditions were still strong and the Northern Ireland Labour Party attracted a quarter of the vote and the loyalty of much of Belfast’s working class.
    More

    The Real Revolutionary

    Leo Keohane
    James Connolly may have made common cause with the other leaders of the 1916 Rising but his aims were quite different. What he wanted was not just the expulsion of the British from Ireland, not just some form of statist socialism, but the overthrow of the entire economic system.
    More

    One Bold Deed of Open Treason

    Angus Mitchell
    The trial of Roger Casement took place at the height of the First World War, when the fate of the British empire hung in the balance. Casement was hell-bent on destroying that empire; it is hard to measure the level of hatred levelled at him by those who wished to protect it.
    More

    On a Wing and a Prayer

    Patrick Gillan
    In 1978 John Zachary DeLorean made a successful pitch for British state aid to start production in West Belfast of what he said would be the “world’s most ethical mass production car”. There was very little that was ethical about what followed.
    More

    Rebellion of the Intellect

    David Blake Knox
    In the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published one hundred years ago this year, the hero’s father, Simon Dedalus, describes the Irish as a ‘priestridden Godforsaken race’. That claim may once have had validity, but it does not any longer ‑ at least as far as the ‘priestridden’ part is concerned.
    More

    The Great Incendiary

    Tom Wall
    The Great Incendiary
    A new study of James Larkin takes some of the shine off his reputation; still, plaster saints are no longer in vogue. Big Jim’s vision was fundamentally moral. His gift to workers will be remembered and he can afford to be taken down a peg or two and still tower above.
    More

    Doing The Locomotion

    Iggy McGovern
    Dubliner Dionysius Lardner couldn’t wangle a job at Trinity despite his remarkable gifts of clarity and exposition, but he was nevertheless a successful publisher in England and criss-crossed America, addressing huge audiences as one of the great scientific popularisers of his era.
    More

    The Big World Spins

    Ronan Fanning
    Ireland in the revolutionary and Civil War years seemed to be much taken up with its own affairs. But Dubliners flocked to a lavish new picture palace, attended a world title fight and, in spite of warnings of the moral dangers, enthusiastically danced to jazz rhythms in Dawson Street.
    More

    The Commemoration Trap

    John Swift
    All political parties cannibalise the past selectively for facts and arguments deemed useful to safeguarding and advancing their future fortunes. This is normal and to be expected. But what is produced in this way is not history, which is a discipline whose goal is understanding.
    More

    Communities At War

    David Blake Knox
    It might be expected that World War II’s impact in Northern Ireland would be determined by sectarian criteria, with unionists relishing the opportunity to prove their loyalty and  nationalists stubbornly withholding their support. In reality things were more complex.
    More

    After The Glory

    Pádraig Yeates
    Irishmen who served with the British army in the First World War are now almost routinely portrayed as forgotten victims, a marginalised group living in a condition of semi-boycott. A thorough analysis of their conditions of life in succeeding decades scarcely bears this out.
    More

    A Necessary Correction

    Frank Callanan
    A Necessary Correction
    Arthur Griffith is the most misunderstood major figure of twentieth century Irish history. Garret FitzGerald, one of the few to give his views much attention, still characterised him quite wrongly as a “narrow nationalist”. A new and original biography makes amends.
    More

    Silent Witnesses

    Fergus O’Donoghue
    Bodies preserved in bogland, dating from the Iron Age or even before, are found right across northwestern Europe. It is difficult to know a great deal of their lives or beliefs or interpret their deaths, but what we do know is that their killers tried to obliterate them; and failed.
    More

    The Risen People

    Thomas Fitzgerald
    The 1916 Rising can summon up more unanimity of feeling in the nation than many other events that occurred a few years before or after. Nevertheless, whatever our sympathy for the participants, we should be wary of considering it a well-planned military affair.
    More

    A Cooling Cinder

    Pauline Hall
    A fictional portrait of Dublin in the years leading up to the Great War and 1916 is brimming with ideas and has a great deal of historical interest, even if its author’s ill-digested anger at his enemies and overschematic approach to characterisation may reduce the artistry.
    More

    Awkward Voices

    Pauline Hall
    A new biographical study focuses on four nationalist intellectuals who at first seemed to support the Easter Rising and the War of Independence but afterwards questioned if it had been worthwhile: Eimar O’Duffy, PS O’Hegarty, George Russell (AE) and Desmond Ryan.
    More

    Lost Leaders

    Thomas Fitzgerald
    Two biographies of 1916 organisers Thomas MacDonagh and Eamonn Ceannt reveal strongly contrasting personalities, the former a cultured and cosmopolitan figure who saw his death as a symbolic sacrifice, the latter a determined fighter who had no wish to surrender or die.
    More

    Seizing the Capital

    Michael Barry
    The occupation by the Provisional Government’s Army of the military barracks in Dublin laid the seeds of victory for the pro-Treaty side at the outbreak of the Civil War. Even though anti-Treaty forces seized many barracks across the country, control of the capital was the key.
    More

    The Turn of the Wheel

    Frank Callanan
    The story of John Redmond’s final rise and fall is by no means an easy one to tell, but a new study has given shrewd consideration to how it should be done and provides an impressively detached account of the late political career which omits nothing that is salient.
    More

    Irish Visionaries

    Bryce Evans
    A collection of essays on figures drawn from five centuries, from William Petty to Fintan O’Toole, who set themselves to think about Ireland is vigorous in its argument and confident in its provision of intellectual armour for future discussions about the state of the nation.
    More

    Steadfast Comrade

    Brian Kenny
    A loyal Moscow communist Sean Murray set up the Communist Party of Ireland in the early 1930s. Years of meetings, discussions and disputes followed. Murray's life was devoted to the cause but did all that work amount to a hill of beans?
    More

    Lost Connections

    Maurice Earls
    Lost Connections
    Most groups wrongfooted by the advent of Irish independence in the 1920s have since made their peace with it: the state’s Protestant minority, Trinity College, even diehard republicans. But the Jesuit order, it seems, is still dragging its feet and hankering after what has been lost.
    More

    Representing Disaster

    Patrick J Murray
    Responding to traumatic events remains one of art’s most problematic undertakings. Horrific events are often beyond articulation and this sense of inadequacy is enhanced when the creative work, with its overtones of pleasure and even whimsy, enters the fray.
    More

    Friends At War

    John Mulqueen
    The Irish Civil War has often been presented as a conflict in which ‘the men of no property’ challenged those with a stake in the country for dominance. But this analysis ignores the plentiful support there was for the Free State government among the very poorest classes.
    More

    A Vermont Yankee On the Famine Road

    Cormac Ó Gráda
    A Vermont Yankee On the Famine Road
    Asenath Nicholson, a progressive campaigner for temperance and vegetarianism, first met the Irish in the slums of Manhattan. Visiting the country just before and during the Famine, she wrote what Frank O’Connor described as ‘a Protestant love song to a Catholic people’.
    More

    Gaelic and Catholic?

    Niall Ó Ciosáin
    Gaelic and Catholic?
    The coincidence of an enthusiasm for Gaelic culture and devout Catholicism in many of the revolutionary generation, and later in the official ideology of the state, disguises the indifference or hostility of the church to the Irish language in the nineteenth century.
    More

    Scholar and Gentleman

    Fergus O’Ferrall
    The eighteenth century manuscript collector, historian, political activist and thinker Charles O’Conor was a remarkable figure who bridged the Gaelic tradition of his family and upbringing and the most advanced thought of the European Enlightenment.
    More

    Out of Sight, Out of Mind

    Bryan Fanning
    Studies of the erosion of Catholic religious practice among the Irish in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s found that many emigrants very quickly melted into the non-religious atmosphere of the host country as soon as they felt they were no longer under close observation.
    More

    Not All Fool

    George O’Brien
    Mervyn Wall’s satires are in a playful and sometimes whimsical tradition which resists the uplift of the gods and heroes phase of the Irish revival and which includes many of the works of James Stephens and, at a pinch, Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds and The Poor Mouth.
    More

    Signs of the Times

    Keith Payne
    A new Dublin history book is more than just a roll-call of past businesses in the city. It is what much poetry attempts to be, a version of the city that stops you and makes you turn again on your wander through the city centre, tilt your head upwards and take notice.
    More

    Church Militant

    Jeffrey Burwell
    A collection of narratives of the lives of eleven Jesuit priests who served as chaplains in the British army during the First World War offers an analysis of the complex situations Irish chaplains faced and the sometimes unexpected pastoral needs encountered on the battlefield.
    More

    The City Mapped

    Patrick Duffy
    The City Mapped
    Two new volumes from the Royal Irish Academy illustrate the enormous variety and detail of eighteenth and nineteenth century Dublin, with its fine streets and walks, alleys and stable lanes, barracks, watchhouses, infirmaries , penitentiaries and multifarious manufactories.
    More

    The Big Picture

    Sara Goek
    A transnational perspective can complement national history and breathe new life into insular debates. It has the potential to both open up new research areas and to expand our understanding of topics that might otherwise seem tired and overwrought.
    More

    Between Two Rooms

    Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
    For many Irish emigrants, and particularly female ones and better educated ones, moving abroad has been less a question of exile than one of escape. For writers, however, there is frequently no escape from considering what it means to be Irish, or to be Irish abroad.
    More

    Wild Geese and Clerical Bohemians

    Andy Pollak
    Prague’s Franciscan College, set up in the 1630s to send missionary priests back to Ireland, flourished through its contacts with an influential expatriate community of soldiers and doctors. Soon, however, it was to develop a reputation for quarrelling and irregularity.
    More

    The King’s Man

    Deirdre Serjeantson
    Walter Quin was a Dubliner who became attached to the Scottish and later English court of King James VI and I. He devoted his considerable learning and poetic talent to writing ingenious verse in support of his master’s claim to unite the kingdoms of both countries.
    More

    Feeling the Squeeze

    Roy Foster
    Feeling the Squeeze
    A new study of the decline of the Protestant community in independent Ireland deals principally not with the Big Houses or the commercial bourgeoisie but with the ‘little people’ and their response to the violence and threats of violence they faced during the Troubles.
    More

    Not all Beef and Ale

    John McCourt
    Anthony Trollope has the reputation of being a conventional and comfortable writer, valued by various Tory prime ministers as a purveyor of enjoyable light political intrigue but in his Irish novels he emerges as a somewhat more complex and double-sided figure.
    More

    A Bit of Help, Comrade?

    John Mulqueen
    Throughout the 1980s, two left-wing parties, the increasingly ambitious and successful SFWP, later WP, and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) competed for the favour and financial support of the Soviet bloc. But at the end of the decade it all came tumbling down.
    More

    Reason of Past History

    Brian Earls
    While sympathy for Poland, as the recurring victim of Tsarist repression, was widespread in nineteenth century Europe, in Ireland this assumed an intensity and duration which seems to have been unparalleled elsewhere.
    More

    'Them Poor Irish Lads' in Pennsylvania

    Breandán Mac Suibhne
    The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in America was a time of great confrontation between workers and bosses over wages, working conditions and unionisation. In these circumstances there grew up in the Pennsylvania coalfields a secret militant organisation with close ties to the Irish community.
    More

    Memory Too Has a History

    Guy Beiner
    For all the talk of the past, much of the current infatuation with memory has been driven by the concerns of the present, while the popularisation of psychoanalytical discourse has favoured engagement with supposedly traumatic events which can accrue political capital.
    More

    Florence O’Donoghue

    Caroline Hurley
    Born in Killarney in 1928, the son of a former RIC man, Florence O’Donoghue had an eminent career in the law in England and spent much of his life trying to make sense of his dual, and sometimes conflicting, sense of allegiance to both Ireland and Britain.
    More

    Thomas Patrick Byrne

    Thomas Byrne
    Thomas Patrick Byrne (1901-1940) was a casual labourer and soldier until he emigrated to the US, just in time for the great depression. The first in our new series, Irish Lives, in which we will publish brief family histories. Submissions are welcome.
    More

    Holding the Balance

    Pat Rabbitte
    Holding the Balance
    The Progressive Democrats did not break the mould of Irish politics and should bear some of the responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the 2008 economic collapse. But we should perhaps still be grateful to them for standing between Charles Haughey and absolute power.
    More

    Bright Spirits

    John Borgonovo
    Bright Spirits
    Roy Foster’s new book focuses on a group of brilliant Irish bohemians and intellectuals who were active from 1916 to 1923, though often marginalised thereafter. Their lives are fascinating, but one should be wary of overstating their centrality to ‘the revolutionary generation’.
    More

    Death by Respectability?

    John Horgan
    The discussion group Tuairim, active in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s, made many thoughtful contributions to intellectual debate, but it is another matter to say it was influential, in a society in which those with political ideas but outside formal politics were largely ignored.
    More

    Partisan reviews

    Bryan Fanning
    From Pearse and Connolly, through AE, Sean O’Faolain, John Mulcahy and Vincent Browne, a number of specialist periodicals have set out to write against the grain of mainstream Irish society and provide a space for diversity of opinion not available in national newspapers or the provincial press.
    More

    A Captain among the Pigeons

    Tom Wall
    Invited to run for the Dáil by the Donegal Republican Workers Council, Jack White insisted he would do so only under the etiquette ‘Christian Communist’. A key figure in the formation of the Irish Citizen Army and collaborator of Connolly and Larkin, Captain White is the subject of a new study.
    More

    Enemies Within

    James Moran
    Irish names crop up with a fair degree of regularity among the promoters of xenophobia in contemporary Britain. A study of the interwar period demonstrates that Irish migrants were then the subject of similar unsound suspicions and fears of being ‘swamped’ by ‘scroungers’.
    More

    The Big Show

    Pádraig Yeates
    A new book on 1914-18 is lavishly illustrated and, without doubt, a rollicking good read. This is military history as entertainment on a scale that we have not seen since, well, since the First World War.
    More

    The Civic Public Square

    Fergus O’Ferrall
    How should religious groups interact with the public sphere and attempt to influence policy? Or should they stay out of the political marketplace altogether? The liberal Catholicism of Daniel O’Connell, which emphasised that a right or freedom is a right or freedom for everyone, may provide a model.
    More

    The Coast of Bohemia

    Maurice Earls
    One result of living behind the wall of large states that stands between us and central Europe is the tendency to see our history as somewhat unusual. Irish history is certainly very different from British, Dutch, French and Spanish imperial history but much less so if one looks a little beyond.
    More

    No poppy, please

    Pádraig Yeates
    If it is true, as many people in Ireland now seem to believe, that First World War combatants were unjustly forgotten, Ireland may not have been the only place where that happened. But perhaps the war was forgotten because people deeply and desperately wanted to forget it.
    More

    In From the Cold

    John O’Brennan
    As Ireland set about applying to join the EEC in the 1950s the anti-British discourse on which Irish nationalism relied began to look rather specious, set against the evidence of our overwhelming economic dependence on the UK: this was an asymmetrical relationship like no other in Europe.
    More

    Unquiet Graves, Unsettled Accounts

    Jeremy Kearney
    Between 1926 and 1951, the average number of people confined in industrial schools, reformatories, Magdalene laundries, county homes, mother and baby homes or mental institutions in Ireland was 31,500, or one per cent of the population.
    More

    Britain and Ireland Begin

    Rory McTurk
    Two studies of early British history and prehistory and of a roughly equivalent period in Ireland leave the reader in no doubt as to how closely interrelated the two countries are, and indeed have been from time immemorial.
    More

    One Onion, Many Layers

    Maurice Earls
    Irish Catholic social elites, emerging confidently after the ebb of British anti-Catholicism in the nineteenth century, increasingly sent their children to schools, both in England and in Ireland, created on the public school model. There some of them learned that the highest duty of a gentleman was to play the game.
    More

    The Big Smoke

    Jim Smyth
    The Big Smoke
    A comprehensive new study of Ireland’s capital bridges social and cultural, political, economic, educational, administrative, demographic, maritime, infrastructural and architectural histories of the city and deals as easily with the world of the locked out and the urban poor as it does with the Kildare Street Club, the Shelbourne and Jammet’s
    More

    The Insurrectionist

    Thomas Fitzgerald
    1916 leader Sean Mac Diarmada despised Ireland’s involvement in the British parliamentary tradition. He believed that an uprising, and the likely self-sacrifice of its leaders, would lead Ireland to independent nationhood.
    More

    A Month in the Summer

    Dermot Meleady
    In the midsummer of 1914, Ireland’s nationalist and unionist communities were on a collision course over developments affecting the future government of Ireland. Just as the crisis was about to materialise in violence, it was averted – for the moment – by a larger conflict.
    More

    Out on the Edge

    Terry Barry
    The people known as the Normans flourished in many parts of Europe in the early centuries of the second millennium AD. Their castles and fortifications are found as far west as Ireland, as far south as southern Italy and Sicily and as far east as Antioch.
    More

    Who Fears to Speak of ’99?

    Jim Smyth
    What would have happened if General Cornwallis had been sent to Ireland a year earlier? Certainly repression would have been less, though perhaps the revolution would have happened anyway, though somewhat later, and while it would probably also have failed then it might have done so in interesting ways.
    More

    A Crowded Stage, an Empty Room

    Connal Parr
    A Crowded Stage, an Empty Room
    Contrary to popular opinion, there has in fact been a working class Protestant contribution to culture in Northern Ireland. What is more problematic is a specifically Loyalist contribution, as the recent staging of a new play, Tartan, and surrounding events illustrate.
    More

    History: Discipline or Instrument?

    Martin Maguire
    History: Discipline or Instrument?
    Was professional history, based on dispassionate sifting and analysis of evidence, replaced after the 1960s in response to the developing Troubles by a public history more interested in reception than in method, which saw historians take on the role of legitimising the Irish twenty-six-county state, and the border?
    More

    The French Connections

    Phyllis Gaffney
    Two new books of essays, one in English and one in French, and a study of Charles de Gaulle’s Irish antecedents reveal the many links, political, historical, cultural and artistic, between ourselves and our next-nearest neighbours.
    More

    Talking Heads

    Deirdre Serjeantson
    Talking Heads
    The Elizabethan English in Ireland tended to see Irish beheadings as savagery, while their own decapitations were an expression of due process. There is also a strong Irish literary tradition in play here. The severed head will not speak again, but literature has implied that it has plenty to tell us.
    More

    Response to Review

     The author  of Massacre in West Cork maintains that Gerard Murphy’s review contains many errors. The author, Barry Keane, also argues that the reviewer engages in crass speculation regarding his motives.
    More

    Generals and their Masters

    Ronan Fanning
    Generals and their Masters
    A guerrilla army wins if it does not lose, Kissinger observed, while a conventional army loses if it does not win. A new edited account of the British army’s campaign to suppress the War of Independence shows a force which felt its hands were tied by its political superiors.
    More

    Fishers of Men

    Joe Humphreys
    A brace of books on Catholic missionary activity in the early twentieth century in Nigeria show that politics, in the context of rivalry with Protestantism, often featured strongly, while pioneers and idealists where not always well treated by their superiors.
    More

    Murder on the Bandon River

    Gerard Murphy
    A new study of the Dunmanway, Cork massacre of Protestants in 1922 brings some fresh evidence to bear and tries to be fair-minded. It is also hard to quarrel with its main conclusion - that the killings were motivated mostly by revenge for the killing of an IRA leader rather than being specifically targeted at informers.
    More

    Commemorating what? And why?

    Padraig Yeates
    Commemorating what? And why?
    Our acts of remembrance in this decade of commemoration should perhaps include some consideration of the failures of the past as well as its successes, and indeed the failures of the present. And might this not be a good time to have done with militarism once and for all?
    More

    Guns and Chiffon

    Richard English
    Nationalist women in early twentieth century Ireland had a sometimes difficult relationship with the conservative mainstream. Yet while they were often quite bohemian they were alive to the need to build a constituency and, as it were, advance with a Lee-Enfield in one hand and a loaf of soda bread in the other.
    More

    The People’s Parties

    Brendan Sweeney
    If Sweden and Ireland are ever compared, it is almost always to the detriment of the latter and many on the left entertain the notion that we would be a lot better off if we could be more like the Nordics. Yet there are curious similarities between the dominant parties that have been in power for most of the modern history of both countries.
    More

    Punished for being Poor

    Jeremy Kearney
    Punished for being Poor
    It is clear that no real effort was made by the Irish government to seriously consider alternatives to the strategy of institutionalisation developed in the nineteenth century. Adoption was illegal until 1952 and boarding out was resisted on the religious grounds of concerns about proselytism.
    More

    The Black Diaries: the Case for Forgery

    Tim O’Sullivan
    In spite of television documentary investigations proclaiming the notorious Black Diaries of Roger Casement to have been solely his own work, there is still an excellent case to be made that they are forgeries, based on erasures and interpolations, designed to blacken Casement’s name.
    More

    Comrades in Death

    John Gibney
    In the 1920s many republican leaders insisted that they did not object to the commemoration of the WWI dead but to the jingoism and glorification of imperialism that accompanied it, like the ostentatiously offensive behaviour of Trinity College students and the overt militarism of the British Legion (issues that also vexed the Garda).
    More

    Loyal Servant

    Matthew Erin Plowman
    Roger Casement understood that in his official duties he was serving not just a British king but the king of Ireland. If there were then betrayals within the United Kingdom it was England which first betrayed Ireland.
    More

    Governing in Hard Times

    John Bruton
    Governing in Hard Times
    Ireland’s first independent government was faced with the ruinous cost of the Civil War, low levels of educational attainment and a tax base heavily eroded by emigration. While they could perhaps have done more to develop the economy, they succeeded in establishing a stable democracy and, in a Europe that was plunging into authoritarianism, transferred power peacefully to their successors.
    More

    Making the Link, Breaking the Link

    John Swift
    The common religious outlook of the English and Scots, albeit favouring different forms of Protestantism, produced conditions that were more favourable to political union than was the case in Ireland, where the majority continued to cling stubbornly to its Roman Catholic inheritance.
    More

    From Salonika to Soloheadbeg

    John Borgonovo
    We may disagree over how best to commemorate the First World War, but we should recognise that it fundamentally changed Ireland, creating the conditions that made possible the revolutionary events of 1916 to 1923.
    More

    Endgame

    Ronan Fanning
    Endgame
    It is proper to retain some scepticism about the prevailing heroic narrative of the War of Independence, which was not without its unattractive features, but to claim that an armed campaign was unnecessary is to make an assertion for which there is little evidence.
    More

    That’ll All have to go

    Frank McDonald
    That’ll All have to go
    It’s a wonder any of Georgian Dublin survived at all given how many enemies it had, from government ministers bearing historic resentments to state companies wishing to make a mark, speculative property developers in cahoots with party fundraisers, dangerous buildings inspectors and demented roads engineers.
    More

    Rebel Cork

    Thomas Fitzgerald
    The first of a projected three-volume study of revolution and war in Cork City examines the period from the Easter Rising to the Armistice.
    More

    Big Picture History

    Barra Ó Seaghdha
    Big Picture History
    A new study examines Ireland from medieval times in the context of social organisation, how surplus wealth is created and deployed, how literacy affects authority and how elites foster a supportive class between themselves and the masses.
    More

    1916 As Spectacle

    Angus Mitchell
    In an age when martyrdom is demonised and tagged with notions of fanaticism and people are reluctant to protest for a cause let alone die for one, 1916 presents an easy target.

    More

    A Famine Document

    Laurence M Geary
    In April 1847 a vessel departed from Charlestown naval yard with eight hundred tons of relief supplies for the people of the city and county of Cork, paid for by the people of Boston and other towns in Massachusetts.
    More

    Catholic Truth

    Brian Trench
    The teaching of science was often a difficult matter in Irish Catholic educational institutions and respected thinkers could sometimes be met by flawed, incoherent and ignorant polemic.
    More

    West Cork and The Writing of History

    John M Regan
    In reply to Dr Eve Morrison
    More

    DUBLIN AT WAR

    Brian Earls
    There has been no collective amnesia in Ireland about the Great War. The event was remembered in Dublin for many decades after it ended, but in terms appropriate to the city's experience of it.
    More

    REPLY TO JOHN REGAN

    Eve Morrison
    Response to John Regan’s review of Eve Morrison’s “Kilmichael revisited: Tom Barry and the ‘false surrender”’ in D Fitzpatrick, Terror in Ireland: 1916-1923.
    More

    REPLY TO JOHN BORGONOVO

    David Leeson

    The author responds to a review of his book on the Black and Tans.
    More

    A House Built on Sand

    Philip O’Connor and Pat Muldowney
    The RTÉ programme ignored most of the relevant documentary sources. It later claimed that its argument – that the Coolacrease incident was sectarian murder in pursuance of a land grab in a context of widespread sectarian ethnic cleansing by the Irish independence movement – was proven by Land Commission documents which it had in its possession. The authors of Coolacrease examined the Land Commission records and there are no such documents in existence. The programme’s thesis is wholly unsupported by the available evidence.
    More

    Frank Gallagher and Land Agitation

    Niall Meehan
    The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland: Interim Report  stated in 1921 that Catholics “were guilty of no reprisals of any sort upon their Protestant neighbours” as a result of ongoing anti-Catholic violence in the North. This part of the report, by Protestant members of the Commission, included the testimony of Wesleyan ministers who “entirely ridiculed the idea that the southern unionists were in any danger from the southern population”. Protestant unionists, who owned “many of the most prosperous businesses in Limerick… were much more fearful of what the Crown forces would do than of what the Sinn Fein forces would do”, according to a Limerick Protestant clergyman.
    More

    Citizens of the Republic, Jewish History in Ireland

    Manus O'Riordan
    In the turbulent early years of the Irish Free State, 1922-23, two people who had been listed in the 1911 census as neighbours on Dublin’s Lennox Street met violent deaths at the hands of Free State army officers, one a Catholic and the other a Jew, one a civil servant and the other a tailor. Confounding the stereotypes, it was the Irish republican leader Harry Boland who was both a Catholic and a tailor, while the Jewish victim - Ernest Kahan - was a civil servant in Ireland’s Department of Agriculture.
    More