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The Free Online Irish History Magazine

Volume 2, Issue 4. October 2012

Articles - Reviews - Opinion - Diary - News

War Horses: The Stories of Three Irish Animals in Crimea

Race: Stereotypes and Cultural Revival Ireland Harlem Scolรกire Staire& OCTOBER 2012

Technology: Historians & Computer Science


Irish Republican Women, 1923-41 1

SPECIAL OFFER from Four Courts Press

Irish Socialist Republicanism 1909–36 Adrian Grant This new book examines Irish socialist republicanism in the early part of the 20th century. For the first time socialist republicanism is considered in detail from the perspective of the Labour movement alongside the IRA and other republican groups. The result is an enlightening account of the many connections and alliances that existed between republicans, socialists, communists and others. The reader is provided with a narrative that explains the many twists and turns in both mainstream and radical Irish politics in the period. 240pp; ills. Hardback.

Retail: €50 SPECIAL OFFER: €35 SPECIAL OFFER: 30% discount to readers of Scoláire Staire To avail of this special offer, please visit: Enter the voucher code FCP109200850070059 when checking out to receive the 30% discount on this book. This special offer expires 31 October 2012.


Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

Contents Volume 2, Issue 4, October 2012

4 Editorial 5 News 23 PhD Diary

36 Review Dissidents 38 Interview Cormac Moore


IN THIS ISSUE i 8 Animals : Four Legged Troopers

Paul Huddie investigates the lives of two horses and a dog who were involved in

the Crimean War.

16 War: Siege of Galway

Chris Doyle recounts the eight month siege of Galway over three hundred and

sixty years ago.

24 Technology: Digital Dark Age (2)

Kieran Fitzpatrick returns to the topic of his article from January and asks,

should undergraduate history students be taught advanced computer skills?

29 Comparative : Harlem and Ireland

Geraldine Connolly compares the cultural revivals in Ireland and Harlem at differing time periods.

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Editorial If the mainstream media is to be regarded as a barometer of public opinion, what has become known as the ‘decade of centenaries’ has now officially commenced. The 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the parallel Declaration was marked with various radio and television spots, supplements in newspapers, special focus sections on major websites, community events in Northern Ireland, and a large parade through Belfast city centre. The signing of the Ulster Covenant was one of the most important events of the period we intend to mark over the next ten years. A huge section of the unionist community in Ulster signed the documents in protest against the third home rule bill introduced by the British government in April the same year. But what about the other events, deemed less important by the media and public figures? Will they be marked with the same level of media coverage, public enthusiasm and hand-wringing about commemorating together? Probably not. The centenary of the Labour Party passed without much comment back in May of this year. RTE produced a woeful ‘history’ of the party (reviewed here) and a book was produced to mark the event alongside some smaller events. The party itself didn’t draw much attention to the centenary, probably because they didn’t want the magnifying glass on their origins, showing how far the party has strayed from its original path. (The Irish Labour History Society will mark the centenary of the Labour Party at its annual conference this weekend). What does this tell us about what we can expect over the coming decade? Will the more contentious events be given disproportionate attention? The answer is almost certainly yes. The Easter Rising, the battle of the Somme, the establishment of Dail Eireann and the foundation of Northern Ireland will all be commemorated with gusto. The governments will get involved and try to keep things from boiling over. Community groups will try to promote marking these contentious events in an inclusive way but unless they can extend their reach to the disaffected youth that are susceptible to tribal ideas and an excuse for a ruck, their efforts will be commendable, but in vain. Marking the more contentious events in an inclusive way is important but it should not be4

come the be all and end all of historical commemoration in this country. For example, the Great Dublin Lockout of 1913 will likely be promoted as something we can all share in the celebration of. But, was it really that inclusive? The lockout was centred on improving workers’ rights, regardless of religion, but the republican politics of the ITGWU and Irish Citizen Army were hardly going to appeal to the loyalist workers of the Belfast shipyards. And, if inclusivity is to be applied uniformly to these events then we should see the likes of Joe Higgins or Richard Boyd Barrett standing under Larkin’s statue on O’Connell street, with a scab worker and an anti-trade union business mogul to talk about respecting each other’s rights and history. **** In the last issue’s editorial I wrote about the need for an open access Irish history journal and holding a meeting to discuss the practicalities of its establishment. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out due to time constraints and a multitude of other things popping up in the mean time. Scoláire Staire is still committed to the establishment of such a journal and will be seeking out help soon. If you are interested in helping out with the promotion of open access publishing in Ireland get in contact with us. **** Continuing with our commitment to bring you the latest in the realm of history and technology, in this issue Kieran Fitzpatrick follows up his ‘Digital Dark Age’ piece from January with an article on equipping young historians with computer science and digital media skills. Geraldine Connolly finds connections between the Harlem Renaissance and the Irish literary revival, Chris Doyle looks at the Cromwellian Siege of Galway, and Paul Huddie traces the lives of three remarkable animals. We also have our regular features and a new ‘interview’ section. Suggestions and comments (and of course contributors) are always welcome so don’t hesitate to contact us using the information below.

Dr Adrian Grant Editor

11 Oakfield Court Buncrana Donegal Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


Irish Socialist Republicanism - Book Launches Adrian Grant’s debut monograph is now on sale from all good book outlets, and directly from the Four Courts Press website. See page two for a special readers’ offer which offers a fantastic 30% discount until 31 October. A number of launches will be taking place over the next few weeks so come along to one or more of them if you’d like to know more about the book and pick up a copy.

Ionad Teampaill Chróine, Dungloe, Co. Donegal - Saturday 20th October, 8pm: The book will be launched by Tommy McKearney at the 2012 Peadar O’Donnell weekend in Dungloe. Tommy is a socialist, republican, former hunger striker, organiser for the Independent Workers’ Union and author of The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliament. Buncrana Community Library, Buncrana, Co. Donegal - Wednesday 24th October, 7pm: Adrian will be talking about the book in his home town. Irish Labour History Museum, Beggar Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin - Mon 5 Nov, 6.30pm: The book will be launched in the Labour History Society’s headquarters at Beggars Bush barracks. Tea/coffee will be provided after the book is launched by a guest speaker (to be confirmed).

Call for Papers Liverpool Hope University Irish Studies Research Group (ISRG) - Call for Papers 2012/2013 The ISRG at Hope is an interdisciplinary research forum which holds weekly hour-long research seminars. Run by academics from Hope and members of Liverpool University's Institute of Irish Studies, the seminar provides a platform for researchers working on any aspect of modern Irish history or literature. This year the seminar organisers particularly welcome contributions from early career researchers. With a challenging HE job market, this is an opportunity for those who have just finished a doctorate, or who are at an advanced stage in their PhD, to gain experience in presenting a research paper at a UK HE institution. The seminar programme will run after Christmas. Limited funding may be available, however speakers are expected to contribute towards their own travel and accommodation costs. Expressions of interest should be directed to Dr Bryce Evans ( for consideration by the ISRG committee. Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


Lecture Series on Urban History at PRONI Starting in October, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will begin hosting a lecture series entitled Exploring Urban History. The lecture series will run until March 2013 and has been developed by Open University Ireland and PRONI. The series is comprised of 5 lectures to be given at 6:30pm during the Thursday late night openings at PRONI's new building in the Titanic Quarter. 25 October 2012 400 Years of Urban History Janice Holmes 6 December 2012 Creating an Urban Environment: 1612-13 Brian Gurrin 31 January 2013 Law, Order and Violence Barry Sheehan 28 February 2013 The Poor Law and Public Health Olwyn Purdue 21 March 2013 Urban Landscape – Round Table panel

History Staff/Postgraduate Seminar Series at QUB 19 October: Amy Hill, Newcastle University - ‘We Want Bread!’ Patterns of Civilian Protest during the Allied Occupation of Puglia, 1943–1946 26 October: Emma Edwards, NUIM - The transition from the League of Nations to the U.N. 2 November: Mark Tynan, NUIM - The Irish Dispute: the formation of the Football Association of Ireland and its pursuit of international recognition, 1921–1939 16 November: Michael Quinn, NUIM - The political reports of Dr E.J. Brennan, Ireland’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union, (1974–80), to Iveagh House 30 November: Chloe Ross, University of Aberdeen - Land, Labour and Nationalism: James Connolly and transnational agitation in 1890s Scotland and Ireland 7 December: Regina Donlon, NUIM - A reputation of respectability – an analysis of immigrant social and cultural institutions in the American Midwest 1850–1900 14 December: Jennifer Scammell, Newcastle University - Popular perceptions of royal deaths in news and print culture, 1751–1817 All seminars take place in the postgrad seminar room, 18 College Green at 4pm 6

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Irish Labour History Society

An Cumann Staire Lucht Saothar na hÉireann

Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin 4, Ireland

ANNUAL CONFERENCE Friday 12th & Saturday 13th October 2012


Chair: Brendan Byrne



The Century of the Party: Much to acclaim or labour in vain? By Emmet O’Connor

SATURDAY 13th. 10.00am

Opening Address

Eamonn Gilmore T.D.

Leader of the Labour Party, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade. 10.30 - 11.30am

Session 1

Chair: Theresa Moriarty 10.30 The Labour Movement & the Clonmel connection. By Sean O’Donnell 11.00 “Labour must wait” By Brendan Byrne 11.15

Building Democracy - The Johnson years. By Brendan Halligan

Session 2

11.45 - 1.00pm

Chair: Caitriona Crowe 11.45 T J O’Connell “As much right to be termed a Labour man as a transport worker” The public career of T J O’Connell. By John Cunningham. 12.05 The People as a whole are much more concerned about their own constitutions”: Labour’s opposition to the 1937 Draft Constitution. By Kevin Murphy

12.30 - 1.00pm Questions & Answer Session Followed by lunch break; Sandwiches, tea & coffee will be provided. Session 3

2.00 - 3.30pm

Chair: Jimmy Somers

Session 4

3.30 - 5.00pm

Chair: Francis Devine


The Norton Legacy. By Barry Desmond

Panel of Experience


Brendan Corish - “The man for Ireland”. By Niall Greene.

Frank & Ger Lewis, Rayner Lysaght, Seamus Scally, Pat Magner, Jane Dillon Byrne & Eithne Fitzgerald

5.00 - Closing summation by Francis Devine Telephone: 01 6681071 Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

* Website:


‘Four Legged Troo

The stories of three mem Irish animals of the Crim 1854-56

Image: ‘Dickie Bird’ by Chancellor (Royal Dragoon Guards).


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morialised mean War,

Ireland still possesses over one hundred memorials to both the Crimean War in general and the people who fought and died in it. These memorials which can be seen all across the island range from simple marble plaques in churches, to monuments in town squares and from cannons outside courthouses, to the names of entire streets. Yet, it is not just the fighting men of the army and navy who have been memorialised. A number of animals have also been honoured, in particular two horses and a dog named ‘Dickie Bird’, ‘Crimean Bob’ and ‘Boxer’ respectively. Paul Huddie brings together the stories of these Irish Crimean War animals. See next page for article

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‘We raise to those that died this day a testimonial, which will associate their memories with the…land they loved.’


hese words were spoken by Lord Carew, the Lord Lieutenant of County Wexford, during the laying of the foundation stone of the county’s Crimean War memorial on 8 October 1857. Today the Crimean War is a part of Irish history that has been largely overshadowed and in many cases ignored; beyond the terms ‘the Lady of the Lamp’ and ‘the Charge of the Light Brigade’ little is known about the period by most people in Ireland. The knowledge of those terms can be primarily attributed to the influence of popular culture, mainly British popular culture. To date the Crimean historiography has been generally focussed upon those two topics: Florence Nightingale and the military aspects, with little attention being given to the society of the time or the social side of the war. This article will highlight the fact that today Ireland is lucky to still possess over one hundred such memorials to both the Crimean War in general and the people who fought and died in it. Those memorials which can be seen all across the island range from marble plaques in churches to monuments in town squares and from cannons outside courthouses to the names of entire streets. Yet it was not just the fighting men of the army and navy who have been memorialised but also a number of animals, in particular two horses called ‘Dickie Bird’ and ‘Crimean Bob’ and a terrier called Boxer. All three of these animals were in the cavalry and although previous works have been written on all three of these characters, none has yet


encompassed them all. Crimean Bob The first of these ‘four-legged troopers’ was a troop horse of 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) Regiment of Hussars known as Bob. The regiment served in the Crimean War and took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaklava which was lead by the regiment’s former commanding officer the Earl of Cardigan. According to records ‘Crimean Bob’ (as he became known after the war) was born c.1828 and entered the service of the army in October 1833. He was chestnut in colour, stood around 15 hands high and was almost certainly of Irish stock. He was originally purchased in Cork by the 15th Hussars but on their embarkation for India he was transferred to the 14th Light Dragoons. He was then sent to the 11th Light Dragoons in 1838 after it returned from service in India. The Light Dragoons, which later became the 11th Hussars, spent most of their time from 1838 until 1854 in Ireland. At the outbreak of the Crimean War in March 1854 the 11th Hussars totalled 285 ‘sabres’ and thus 285 horses and were stationed at Portobello Barracks in Dublin under Major Douglas. The regiment embarked for the East from Kingstown harbour in May of that year on board six rented transport ships: Glendalough, Tyrone, Asia, Warcloud, Panola, and Paramatta. The first troop of the regiment totalling 50 horses left Portobello on 9

‘Crimean Bob’ by Osborne. (Courtesy of Captain T.J. Gibbs, Regimental Signals Officer, The King’s Royal Hussars

May and embarked from Kingstown the following morning on board the Glendalough. The remaining troops embarked over the following three weeks on board the five additional vessels. Bob was ridden all through the Crimean campaign by Dublinborn Private (later Farrier-Major) John Dyke and survived the Charge of the Light Brigade unscathed, unlike 362 other horses which had to be destroyed after the battle because they were so badly wounded. Of those that did survive the Charge many did not survive the first winter of 1854-5 in which the lack of fodder and shelter further decimated the number of British cavalry, pack and artillery horses. Due to this and the fact that he was never on the sick list of horses in the East, Bob has been described as having an ‘astonishingly durable constitution’. He returned to England with the 11th Hussars in 1856. Although the usual procedure regarding troop horses of 15 or 17 years old was to cast them as old and worn out and to sell them when unfit for further service Bob was spared that fate. Having been shown to the Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of Cambridge on the return of the regiment from the East in 1856, the Duke directed that the he be Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

retained in the army. Thus he ‘enjoyed the care and attention he deserved’ until his death. In 1861 he went with the 11th Hussars to Ireland and in August of the following year the regiment moved into the Wellington Barracks at Cahir, County Tipperary.

cut off by Dyke himself who was as a ferrier and whose job was to shoe, look after and even put down the regiment’s horses. The hoof now bears the following inscription: ‘Joined 14th Light Dragoons in 1836; died in 11th Prince Albert’s Own Hussars, November 9th, 1862’. The regiment has also inherited two other memorials to Bob: a painting and the stone tablet which stood at Cahir Barracks until the Irish Civil War 1922-

Dickie Bird

The second ‘trooper’ was ‘Dickie Bird’, officially known as Horse B7. He was foaled in 1850 and has been described as being a ‘16-hand, Irish Draught-type bay, with a white “star” and two hind “white socks”’ and was ‘a very handsome horse’. He joined the 5th (Princess Charlotte’s) Eventually, the long life of this Dragoons Guards in 1853 just wonderful horse came to an end prior to the outbreak of the war. on Sunday 9 November 1862 At that time the regiment was and his death was reported in stationed at Victhe United toria (now ColService Galins’) Barracks, zette. DeCork as well scribed as as at Clonmel. ‘the oldest Dickie, like Bob, troop horse served through in the Britthe entire war ish Cavaland would have ry’ he died taken part in the ‘from old lesser known age and genCharge of the eral decay to Heavy Brigade the sincere also at the Batregret of the tle of Balaklava whole region 25 October ment, with 1854. Similar whom he again to Bob he was a univerwas extremely sal favourfortunate to ite’. He was have survived buried with Crimean Bob Plaque. (Photo courtesy of Fr Pat Butler, PP Cahir) the war as only full military 39 more of his honours 3 when the barracks was burnt peers, 16% of the total number and the burial was arranged by down. The plaque was thought of horses in his regiment surJohn Dyke himself. A memorial lost until the 1940s when it was vived the East. He was ridden stone was set in the wall of the uncovered during road-widenby Rough-Rider Michael Macbarracks to record the horse’s ing works. It now resides in the Namara who also survived the military service. In true cavalry mess of the King’s Royal Hussars war and who was ‘presented to’ tradition the 11th Hussars prein Peninsula Barracks, WinQueen Victoria at Aldershot as served a hoof of ‘Crimean Bob’ chester, while a replica of the one of many Crimean veterans which has been inherited by the plaque stands in the centre of in 1856. Both rider and mount present day regiment, the King’s Cahir town, erected by the local returned to Ireland in the latter Royal Hussars. This was prachistorical society. The painting half of that year and Dickie conticed by all cavalry regiments which also resides in Peninsula tinued to serve as a troop horse before mechanisation in order Barracks was painted c.1874 by until 21 November 1874 when, to keep track of all the horses the Irish artist William Osborne as his hoof records, he was shot that died. who produced many equine ‘on account of old age’. He was paintings. buried in the barracks at IslandThe hoof may well have been Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


Dickie Bird’s hoof with biographical mount. (Courtesy of Alan Henshall, Curator of The Royal Dragoon Guards Museum).


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bridge, next to an unknown mare that appears to have been killed in a similar manner to him where he lay forgotten until recent years. A stone plaque was erected over his grave behind the Riding School, in a similar style to that of Bob at Cahir, and one of his front hooves was cut off and a silver plaque carrying much of his biographical information was mounted upon it (see opposite). The contemporary painter known only as Chancellor was also commissioned to paint a portrait of Dickie (reproduced on pp. 8-9). This can be found today in the museum of the Royal Dragoon Guards regimental museum in York, while the hoof can today be found at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins’ Barracks in Dublin where it is on loan from York. It, along with a photograph of MacNamara and Dickie’s exhumed skeleton have been placed on public display in the foyer of the museum.

11th Hussars, charged with them at Balaklava and is reported to have been also been owned by Ferrier-Major John Dyke. According to regimental records housed at the King’s Royal Hussars Museum in Winchester, the troops of the 11th Hussars came upon what they described as ‘a rough, long-coated, half-starved dog’ while en route to Kingstown in May 1854. Encouraged by the ‘kindly notice’ of the troopers it followed the soldiers on board one of the six transport ships which took the regiment to the Crimea. Like many regimental dogs of that time such as ‘Joss’ of the Coldstream Guards and ‘Captain’ of 42nd Highlanders, the ‘half-starved dog’ which became known as Boxer stayed with the men of his regiment throughout the campaign and never strayed

to any other unit. He was always present when the regiment took to the field and ran alongside the horse even when they charged the enemy. Like ‘Crimean Bob’ Boxer survived the war unscathed and returned to Ireland a decorated hero and was said to be a familiar sight around the Curragh Camp in Kildare and later in Portobello Barracks in Dublin. He died on 7 September 1864 only a few hours after his master John Dyke who is believed to have succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of only thirty-seven. Boxer was a clear favourite amongst the regiment and this can be seen in a regimental photograph taken at Islandbridge Barracks in 1861 in which he wore his regimental coat on which his service medals were pinned, including the Crimean Medal with all four clasps. Like his two equine peers Boxer in 1861 (Courtesy of The King’s Royal Hussars Museum, Winchester)

In 2001, the barracks at Islandbridge was sold by the Department of Defence and the plaque, which had hung on the former Riding School, was according to some historians removed to McKee Barracks. Yet the recent discovery of Dickie at Clancy Barracks has shown this was not the case and the plaque still hung on the side of that building as late as 2008. Boxer Yet it was not just Bob and Dickie that travelled to the seat of war in 1854 but also a terrier by the name of Boxer. Not only did Boxer go to the Crimea but he went with Bob’s own regiment Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


Boxer was also memorialised in a painting sporting his coat and medals. This can also be seen at the King’s Hussars Barracks today. The practice of honouring animals who survived the war was not solely an Irish phenomenon for another, Lord Cardigan’s own horse Ronald was also commemorated by his master and can also be seen in the the King’s Royal Hussars Museum set upon a cushion. Scotland too can boast a war dog similar to Boxer: another ‘Crimean Bob’, who following his death, was preserved and can be seen today on display in a glass case at the National War Museum of Scotland at Edinburgh Castle. Conclusion Ireland responded to the Crimean War of 1854-6 in the areas of politics, religion, the military, the economy and through the more popular elements such as art and memorials. This paper barely touches upon the social dimensions of the war which have heretofore been absent from both the historiographies of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The years of the Crimean War in Ireland were both diverse and eventful and deserve to be a part of Ireland’s nineteenth-century history. The stories of the ‘four-legged troopers’ have been retold in order to illustrate how diverse, eventful and at times unusual the war was. From as early as 1856 Irish people wished to commemorate all those who had died in the East both on land and at sea and it was that desire which was the most lasting of all Ireland’s popular responses to that conflict. This was done through the 14

emplacement of some thirty captured Russian guns in public spaces across the island such as the People’s Park in Waterford and Eyre Square in Galway, and the dedication of over thirty plaques and stained-glass windows in Anglican churches. These three animals illustrate the rich memorial heritage of the Crimean War which can be found in nearly every county of Ireland today and which forms a prominent part of Ireland’s preindependence heritage. Further reading Isabel Bennett, ‘The Crimean War memorial, Ferrycarrig, Co. Wexford - a precisely dated round tower’, Archaeology Ireland, iii, no. 2 (1989), pp 58-60. Glen Fisher, ‘An interesting trio revisited’, War Correspondent, xxiv, no.2 (July 2006), pp 21-2. Noel St. John Hennessy, ‘Crimean-war guns’, Irish Sword, xix, no. 78 (1995), pp 334-43. Kevin Lohan, ‘Dickie Bird: the story of the rediscovery of an honoured Crimean War cavalry horse’, Archaeology Ireland, xxii, no. 2 (Summer 2008), pp 13-14. David Murphy, Ireland and the Crimean War (Dublin, 2002). _________________________ Paul Huddie is in the final stages of his PhD research at Queen’s University Belfast. His thesis looks at Ireland’s responses to the Crimean War, 1854-6. He holds a BA in History & Politics and an MA in Modern European History from UCD. Paul’s main area of interest is Ireland in the British Empire. Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

Ferrier-Major John Dyke in 1861. (Courtesy of The King’s Royal Hussars Museum, Winchester)

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Cromwell’s Siege of Galway: 12 August 1651 - 12 April 1652 Three hundred and sixty years ago an important event occured which changed the fortunes of Galway town forever. Chris Doyle looks at an eight month siege of the City of the Tribes.


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Left: Map of the walled city of Galway from 1651

cal government. Described as a place fit for kings and princes, the town’s wealth derived from its long established trade with Spain, Portugal and France. Visitors to Galway were impressed by the wealth of the town evident in its many illustrious mansions and civic buildings, of which only fragments exist today. We can still find these echoes of the past in the facades and niches of Galway’s streets. Carved window frames, inscriptions, ornamental fireplaces, coats of arms and the doorways of long demolished medieval mansions (the Browne doorway at Eyre Square and the D’Arcy doorway in the Mercy Convent just off Eglinton Street) give us some idea of the near vanished glory which was Medieval Galway. The Irish Rebellion and the English Civil War

n the 12 April 1652, having endured an eight month siege marked by famine, disease and death, the town of Galway surrendered to the forces of the English Parliament. Although little physical evidence remains of this siege, which lasted from 12 August 1651 until 12 April 1652, it is still possible to find traces of it in Galway’s landscape.

How did Galway come to be under siege in 1651? Prior to the 1640’s, Ireland was part of the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. In 1641, a rebellion began against English oppression of Irish Catholicism which eventually merged into part of the English Civil War (1642-51). This conflict was fought between King Charles I and the English Parliament. In return for their assistance, Charles I promised greater religious freedom to Irish Catholic. After the Irish join the fight on Charle’s side, Ireland became a new front in the English Civil War. At this point, Galway declared support for the monarchy.

Medieval Galway

Cromwell in Ireland

Medieval Galway was a wealthy trading port with a Catholic lo-

King Charles I was executed in


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1649 by Parliament who then dispatched one of their best generals, Oliver Cromwell, to Ireland to crush the Royalist forces there. Cromwell landed at Ringsend in July 1649 and stayed just under a year. His campaign was marked by atrocities, most notably at Drogheda and Wexford, where civilians and disarmed soldiers were slaughtered. Cromwell himself viewed the Irish as ‘murderous and bloodthirsty’ who deserved such treatment. This view of the Irish as ‘barbarous’ was prevalent among the Parliamentarians. In 1650, Cromwell returned to England to fight Charles II, son of the executed King. Charles II was only recognised as king in Scotland and so he looked to Ireland for help against Parliament. He wrote to the ‘trusty and well beloved’ townspeople of Galway, praising them for their loyalty and promising to reward them once he was victorious. Galway would subsequently pay a terrible price for this loyalty. As he departed Ireland Cromwell appointed his son-in-law, the ‘gloomy’ Puritan and able general, Henry Ireton, as Lord Deputy of Ireland with responsibility for the Irish campaign. The War comes to Galway One by one, Irish cities and towns fell to Ireton and his generals. Waterford fell in August 1650 and the following year, in June 1651, Athlone surrendered. Athlone’s capture left Connacht wide open to Ireton who brought more troops and artillery across the river Shannon. Ireton prepared to attack the last 17

Royalist bastions in Connacht – Limerick and Galway. From June to October 1651, Ireton laid siege to Limerick. Simultaneously, he sent his general, Sir Charles Coote, to surround Galway and hold it captive until Limerick had surrendered. When Limerick capitulated in October 1651, Galway alone remained the ‘last of all the towns of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland to remain faithful to the King’. Ireton died from disease soon after. Sir Charles Coote’s siege of Galway Ireton’s choice for Galway’s capture, Sir Charles Coote, was a virulent anti-Catholic with a reputation for brutality. Coote’s men dug a series of trenches linked by three forts which went from Lough Atalia, up over the modern Bohermore cemetery and down towards a marshy area (known as Suckeen) leading into the river Corrib (across where the present Bodkin or Tesco roundabout lies). The remains of one these forts (Bolingbroke Fort) is now a grassy hill on the Sean Mulvoy road directly across from the ESB office. Facing Coote’s siege works were the medieval walls of Galway which kept the Parliamentarian army at bay. They have largely disappeared except for a section at Spanish Arch and a reconstructed piece inside the Eyre Square shopping centre. Before his siege of Galway, Coote captured the castles of Oranmore and Claregalway. He chose Claregalway castle as his headquarters for the duration of the siege. Claregalway castle, an early 15th century fortress, stood overlooking the 18

river Clare. It controlled the water routes into Lough Corrib and the land access to Galway from Tuam and the north of the country. While Coote was comfortably established in his new quarters, his adversaries in Galway were not. Coote’s opposite number in the beleaguered town was a battle hardened soldier, Thomas Preston. With a garrison of about 2,000 men and limited provisions for a population of approximately 10,000, Preston was under no illusions as to the reality of what was upon the town. Galway’s walls had been refortified years prior to the Cromwellian siege and there were more than

twelve large cannon protecting the town from the east. With the sea and river to its back, Galway was well defended for a siege, so long as it could receive supplies. Unfortunately, as the siege wore on, Galway became a virtual prison for the inhabitants. Coote’s land cordon along with a naval blockade made life inside the walls unbearable. Conditions in Galway Parliamentary ships prowled Galway Bay and the river Corrib hunting for prey. Their presence made it difficult to bring supplies in by water. Instead plague entered Galway, spreading quickly through the starving Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

Left: Henry Ireton, Lord Deputy of Ireland. (Courtesy Trustees of the British Museum). Below: Browne Doorway, now in Eyre Square, Galway. (

population, killing many and lowering their morale. A plague in 1649 had already killed over 3,700 people. An exceptionally harsh winter along with the arrival of thousands of refugees from Limerick created more misery for the town. Sir Charles Coote permitted the refugees to enter Galway, fully aware of the problems that they presented to the town. There were, after all, other ways to force surrender than through direct military assault which would cost many Parliamentarian lives.

ously with Burke. For his part, Burke hoped to prolong Irish resistance as a kind of rearguard action to keep Parliamentarian troops in Ireland, while Charles II launched a counter offensive against Cromwell in England. After Charles II was defeated in England he escaped to France, where he remained in exile for years. The Civil War in England was over but the Irish Royalists they an uncertain future.

With thousands of people crammed into a walled area of 11 hectares (27 acres), Galway simply could not cope. Over the course of the siege, several proposals for surrender were conveyed from the Parliamentarians but none were acceptable to the defenders. The town’s commander, Thomas Preston, fled to the Continent as did many other important Royalist figures. Galway became increasingly isolated.

Discord Apathy

Ulick Burke, Earl of Clanricarde. By late 1651, the main Royalist commander for Ireland was the Catholic Ulick Burke, Earl of Clanricarde, whose main seat was at Portumna castle. For centuries the Clanricardes had been disliked by Galway’s leading families. Burke wished to send his own army of over 5,000 men into Galway to strengthen its defences. The town refused, preferring to control its own destiny and to perhaps seek good terms from the Parliamentarians. Rather than working together in harmony against a common enemy, the leading figures of Galway argued continuScoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

Burke, the King’s Lord Deputy, who by now had retreated with his men to one of his castles at Aughnanure, Oughterard. Through his spies inside Galway, Sir Charles Coote was pleased that there was discord amongst the enemy. In the meantime Coote rested his men and replenished his supplies. His army was sick and worn out


Inside Galway there were uncertainties as to what the best course of action should be. Some leading citizens urged immediate surrender while other more defiant souls wanted to hold out for as long as possible so as to force the enemy into offering good terms. Fear of atrocity such as those at Drogheda, Wexford and Limerick were fresh in people’s minds. Years before the siege, one Galway Mayor wrote that the treatment of other parts of Ireland by the Parliamentarians “did put us in mind of what we were to expect” Certain notables, including the Catholic clergy, invited foreign mercenaries to help their cause. These debates undermined Ulick

from years of hard fighting. War fatigue was everywhere. One homesick Parliamentarian officer wrote home that he hoped for “the war to be nearly over by summer and that Galway could not hold out for much longer”. It was not only the Irish who desired the end of a war which by now had entered its eleventh year.


Possibly Oliver Cromwell. His image appears to have been engraved onto a European Monarch’s body. The town in the background is Dresden. (Courtesy Trustees of the British Museum).


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Ulick Burke, Clanricarde. (Courtesy Trustees of the British Museum).

Amidst the despair, there were individual acts of heroism. Some citizens, acting on their own initiative, left the town to try to find food. Most were killed by the besiegers. Another effort to bring supplies into Galway, by two ships, failed when one was captured and the other sunk off the Aran Islands. The city awaited its fate… Galway’s Surrender On 5 April 1652 ‘the town, despairing of any relief by sea or land...much impoverished and exhausted…surrendered itself up on very good and honourable terms’. A delegation from the Mayor, Richard Kirwan Fitz Thomas, signed Articles of Surrender with Coote, probably at Claregalway castle. Coote sent the articles to the Commissioners of Parliament in Dublin for ratification. For Parliamentarians travel in Ireland was dangerous for although the chief towns and cities were theirs, the countryside was full of Irish guerrilla bands. This, accompanied by bad road and weather conditions ensured the document arrived at Dublin Castle late on the night of 11 April. A meeting was convened to discuss the articles, which the commissioners found too lenient. They dispatched a changed set of harsher terms for Coote to impose upon Galway. This new set, however, did not reach Coote in time before he sent Colonel Peter Stubbers with his regiment into the town on the morning of 12 April. Stubbers’ men marched through the town gates, where Brown Thomas and the Galway Camera Shop stand today. They jubilantly beat their Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

drums and blew their trumpets as they paraded down the streets of Galway. Galway’s part in the war was over. Galway’s hope for fair treatment was misplaced and, as the 19th century Galway historian James Hardiman asserted, ‘… from the moment the articles were signed, it was resolved to violate them’. If, as Hardiman maintained, the siege was ‘an indelible memorial of the perseverance and bravery of the inhabitants’ then the mistreatment of the town after capitulation should be a damning indictment of the victors. A new cruel era had begun in Galway’s history. Colonel Stubbers became the first English mayor of Galway and resided at No. 15, High Street, now occupied by the King’s Head Pub. Utilising connections he had with sugar plantation owners in the West Indies, Stubbers seized thousands of dispossessed people from around the town and county, mostly women and children and priests. Galway was not unique in this practice and nor was Ireland. This policy of white slavery was applied in England and Scotland also. In what has been termed the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Ireland, an enormous part of the population was shipped to Barbados as slaves. The original articles of surrender which Galway signed advocated leniency and toleration. Subsequent laws of Parliament reversed this. By 1654 the for-

mer leading families had been expelled and the ‘once opulent, populous and respectable town’ was reduced to a shadow of its former self. Further Reading P. O’Dowd, Old and new Galway (Galway, 1985). W. Henry, Hidden Galway: Gallows, Garrisons and Guttersnipes (Cork, 2011). J. Hardiman, The history of the town and county of the town of Galway. From the earliest period to the present time (Dublin, 1820). Chris Doyle is in the final stages of a PhD at NUI Galway. He teaches history for the NUI Galway Access Programme. He is also involved with the Claregalway Castle Restoration Project and will be delivering lectures there in the coming weeks. The first lecture concerns Cromwell’s 1651/2 Siege of Galway. 21

Department of History Roinn na Staire


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This exciting and challenging course provides postgraduate education in the history of art and architecture. Students are taught in a supportive environment and develop professional competence and the capacity to conduct supervised research in an aspect of the history of art and architecture. For further information, please visit


This module provides student with an understanding of the key events and themes which have shaped international history in the twentieth century. It offers students guidance on sources and methodologies for researching and writing. For further information, please visit


This course provides an ideal opportunity for those who want to research local history for its own sake and is suitable for those who wish to develop research skills prior to undertaking the PhD degree For further information, please visit


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PhD Diary


I recently listened to the great Maura O’Connell’s version of Trouble in the Fields on local radio and immediately wanted to hear it again, struck by the relevance of the lyrics to events in modern Ireland. A tale of agricultural depression in the American mid-west of the 1950s, it describes how ‘the bankers swarm like locusts’ and laments the sight of ‘the folks in line downtown at the station’. Perhaps more striking than this, however, is the way the song seems to speak about the invigorating lessons to be gained from knowing one’s history. What is happening now has happened before, and we can learn so much from it. As a character in the song points out, ‘there’s a book upon the shelf about the dust bowl days, and there’s a little bit of me, and a little bit of you, in the photos on every page’. With such allusions, the song retains its relevance for successive generations because it speaks of the essential longing for security at the heart of the human condition, and crucially, points to the solace to be drawn from the knowledge that ‘our parents had their hard times fifty years ago’. It made we wonder if this is at the core of all historical writing. I wondered whether, beyond the specific details of my subject, my thesis would ultimately be seen as an attempt to chart the triumphs and defeats of a group of people, in their plight to eliminate trouble in their fields? And whether this work could help a modern reader to better plough their own way? *** When I read back over my last Diary entry, I am indeed reminded of troubled times. There was fire in my belly which I needed to express after my miniViva exam, and the Diary was a handy confidant. With three month’s hindsight, I now value the experience as an historical exercise (in both a scholarly and temporal sense), which I have learned from. My jitters were calmed by solid advice, encouragement to persevere and a niggling determination of my own to cop on, and not be so sensitive. It was followed by a summer of back-to-basic research. Having written the guts of two chapters (‘only two chapters?’ my inner voice questions relentlessly), I knew I would have to spend some weeks chasing up the sources outside Dublin which would be crucial to the next stage of the work. It was a lovely experience Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

to get back to the nuts and bolts business of primary source analysis. It had been some time since I had had my historian’s fix, - being rewarded with a new fact to add to the story. We all know the feeling and have seen it in the Archives – that secret smile, often not all that secret, when the researcher hits the jackpot and has a hunch confirmed, or is surprised by a personal insight, or greedily relishes a witty or eminently quotable turn of phrase that gets to the very core of the argument. In Belfast, for me, this was caused by my discovery of an original Irish placename for the locality I am studying, which I have never heard of before. The Alexanders of Carlow had conferred the name ‘Milford’ on a rural townland in Co. Carlow. To find evidence of the original, colloquial placename adds a new dimension to the story, giving an identity to the land before the entrepreneurs arrived, and consequently making the conferred nomenclature an effective symbol of the planter family’s entire story: an imposed authority which has managed to survive. In truth, I stumbled across the document by complete accident. It reminded me of my very first tutorial with Dr William Vaughan back in 1999 during my undergraduate degree. Dr Vaughan presented his small group of students with the word serendipity and asked us to welcome it as a key factor in our research, as valuable as the most assiduous study and concentrated effort. It is only now that I really appreciate his honesty – the great professor admitting to the novices that luck and chance had as much a role to play in their historiographical output as sheer hard work. My Summer proved this fact. Tomorrow, I go to pay my fees for my second year. I have now gained the status of a proper PhD student and face into another session of writing and editing over the coming weeks. My supervisor has probably forgotten my name, given that I have neglected to forward any work for the last couple of months. However, the enthusiasm remains and promises to smooth so many of the challenges ahead. Maura O’ Connell helps too: ‘Come harvest time, we’ll work it out. There’s still a lot of love, here in these troubled fields’. You can comment on Shay’s thoughts: click HERE 23

How to Deal with the ‘Digital Dark Age’ (part 2) Kieran Fitzpatrick follows up his article in our January edition with some reflections on attempts being made to equip young historians with computer science skills. In the January edition of Scoláire Staire, I established what I perceive to be the challenges and possibilities that professional historians face, both presently and in the future, as a result of the rise to prominence of the Internet and digital communications technologies. The original ‘How to Deal with the “Digital Dark Age”’, and the ensuing round table discussion that took place as part of the Irish History Students Association (IHSA) Conference in March, was designed to draw attention to issues such as finding durable storage media and the possibilities that social 24

networking presents for social historians of the future. Scoláire Staire has since contributed to the debate surrounding the digitization of historical research by focusing on Open Access in the last issue. However, over recent months and as part of my search for a PhD topic, I have come to the realization that merely to identify these issues, whilst important, is only the start of a process that all historians will need to engage with. The next step is to begin a dialogue about implementation: how do we sufficiently train young historians to master the fundamental tools

and skills of historical research and writing but, at the same time, provide them with the computing knowledge to operate successfully in an increasingly computerized world? There are already programs in existence that try to bridge the gap. In Ireland, the most notable of these programs is the Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) PhD, a course jointly administered by Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Queens University, Belfast, the University of Ulster and the Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

Technology Royal Irish Academy. Regardless of which university candidates decide to base their studies at, they take part in the same fouryear, structured PhD program. The course of study consists of a variety of taught core modules relating to melding new media and computer science with the arts and humanities, as well as a more traditional research component that uses these methodologies to further the student’s research. Beyond these shores, there are also a number of institutes and university departments attempting to create a dialogue between the arts and humanities and new media and computer science. In the UK, the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), an affiliate of Oxford University, is an example of this symbiosis, as are the Digital Humanities programs offered at King’s College London (KCL) and University College London (UCL). In the United States, the most concentrated proponent of Digital Humanities is the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, established at George Mason University, Virginia. However, other universities, such as Stanford, are also investing resources in digital humanities. Specifically, Stanford has created the Spatial History Project and Mapping the Republic of Letters, which seek to create visualizations of large data sets from the early modern world.

tal methods, and indeed their colleagues in cognate arts and humanities disciplines, when they have a myriad of competing concerns on their mental capacity? As well as learning these new skills in computer science, prospective doctoral candidates have to weigh up the expectations that rest on those who are fortunate enough to gain a place on a PhD program. Beyond digitizing their humanities PhD, they will also have to concern themselves with the actual content of their doctoral research (‘what am I actually contributing to historical knowledge?’) and, depending on their funding stream, the pressures induced by teaching and grading undergraduate modules, exams and coursework. Even from the remove of being in the early stages of defining a research agenda and submitting an initial application, the prospect of committing to a program such as the DAH PhD appears daunting. Not only does the program itself look to test

your propensity to become a truly inter-disciplinary scholar, making that decision induces a reflection on whether doctoral research is the correct path to take. Presented with the opinions of current PhD students and historians working in university history departments across the UK and Ireland, pursuing a doctoral qualification in history is made to seem like a bleak prospect if you are not going to commit that research to the latest fashionable trend in the field. Therefore, people in my current position are, it seems, left with two options: become immersed in transnational or comparative history and commit to learning another language, or enroll on programs like the DAH PhD and learn a whole new set of complex skills in a previously unrelated area. The former option is more closely associated with traditional notions of history (it uses new historical methodologies relative to source material in a foreign language), but the digital option is an intimidating one.

So the budding digital historian is not short of options, at least at postgraduate level. But within that last clause lies an area that is potentially problematic: are the current programs available at postgraduate level too late to sufficiently train historians in digiScoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


These comments are not intended to suggest that the programs on offer are not a viable prospect; indeed, they are some of the most important and relevant programs on offer today. However, what needs to be examined is the viability of implementing the symbiosis present in these postgraduate degrees at an earlier stage and inserting their structure into undergraduate history curricula. Certainly, the curriculum I have been a part of during the first two stages of my third-level history education has not provided me with the knowledge or the potential skills to be in a position to make either of the options outlined above more favorable than the other. True, my choice of undergraduate degree (BA English and History) might have been quite narrow. Viewed relative to the choices I now have to make, at least in relation to the comparative history path, I might have been better served undertaking a general arts degree. But a career as a professional historian did not really

present itself in full until the second, or even third, year of my undergraduate studies. Thus, an awareness of the profession’s political economy was far from my considerations when choosing my primary degree subjects. In short, nobody has a crystal ball. As an aside, the lack of formal training as part computer scientist and part historian should not be taken as a disparaging comment to the majority of those currently working in the field. Those historians have taught me the skill required to write what I would like to think is a reasonably good historical narrative. Like the book, the spoon and the wheel, the ability of historians to write good history is not changed by technological developments in society. The writing of history is still a psychological, neurological and biological interaction between historical material, the human mind, the hand, and the page. Although we face challenges as a community in this new Digital Age, that does not alter the fact that the fundamentals of our discipline are important, vital

Video of ‘History & Technology’ roundtable discussion event held in the King’s Head, Galway.


and, at their best, awe-inspiring. However, thus far the implementation of curricula designed to accommodate the changes ushered in by digital technologies has been introduced at a late stage in young people’s development as historians. I think it is sensible to argue that we need to incorporate the fundamental skills needed to be a digital historian into undergraduate curricula. From a philosophical perspective, if those intent on becoming historians always view themselves as inter-disciplinary humanities scholars (equipped with the skills to write history as well as C++) their ability to work on traditional doctoral programs, without the need for taught components, should be furthered and the rather gloomy ontological debates I have had with myself over the previous few months might be avoided. That sounds glib, but the process of feeling under equipped for the field that you have convinced yourself you will spend the rest of your life working in is a particularly unpleasant one. In addition, by providing undergraduate history students with at least a basic understanding of how to write code or how to create software tools and databases, they are made increasingly employable beyond the boundaries of academia. In an age when humanities is threatened with being left behind in terms of sourcing funding to invest in research this would be no bad thing. In summary, the issues presented here are ones of great importance for both historians and those who engineer the curricula that we teach. Although there is an obvious and imporScoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

frontier technologies.

tant need to retain the core of our discipline and not lose sight of what we are (historians, first and foremost), to appropriately safeguard and promote that discipline in a world that has been changed by computers must become a cornerstone of curriculum design. On that note, these digital approaches must form the foundation of how we educate our undergraduates. Although due deference has been paid to the sterling work of those currently in the field, an oversight has occurred in only aiming digital skills at history

postgraduates. Such an oversight denotes a train of thought that digital skills are something to specialize in rather than to be used as a fundamental tool in the production of history. There has been much mention in recent years that Ireland is growing to be the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’, a pan-continental hub for the development of cutting edge technologies of the present and the future. The historical community needs to ensure that undergraduates who choose to study history as their primary degree harness some of those

Kieran Fitzpatrick is a young historian who has recently completed the MA history program at NUI Galway and will graduate with a first class degree. Previously he attended the University of Limerick, where he studied English and History, and was awarded a first class BA honours degree. He has, thus far, specialised on British colonialism in South Africa at the turn of the nineteenth century and looks to continue studying imperial and colonial history for doctoral research, a process that he hopes to start in the 2013-14 academic year. Other interests include historiography and the changing nature of the historical profession in the 21st century. He can be contacted on Twitter (@FitzHistory), by email (, or through his blog-site (

Editorial & Proofreading Services Need help with essays, dissertations or other academic papers? Scoláire Staire offers a range of editoral services including proofreading indexing copy-editing reference formatting To find out more or get a quote contact: Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland Twenty-First Annual Conference, Wednesday 26 – Thursday 27 June 2013 Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century Call for Papers The Society invites proposals for its twenty-first annual conference which will address the theme of crime and violence in nineteenth-century Ireland and amongst Irish communities abroad. Crime, social protest, violence, insurgency, and responses to them, have long been fruitful topics of investigation for Irish historians yet they remain as relevant today as ever. Nineteenth-century Ireland experienced widespread social and political upheaval. Outbreaks of agrarian unrest, sectarian violence, increasing urbanisation, the growth of popular nationalism all presented challenges to the social order and were met with an official response which included centrally-controlled policing, recurrent coercive legislation and the expansion of the criminal justice system. We welcome individual twenty-minute papers or proposals for themed panels from scholars in all relevant disciplines. Postgraduates and early-career researchers are particularly welcome. Topics which might usefully be explored, but are by no means limited to, include:        

Secret societies: membership, aims, methods Urban crime: combinations and work-related violence Policing: challenges and responses The churches: clerical reactions to crime and violence Criminal justice system: efficacy and criticisms Cultural responses: crime and violence in literature, music, theatre. Historiography: new approaches to crime and violence The Irish abroad: the transported and disaffected revolutionaries

Keynote Speakers: Professor David Fitzpatrick (Trinity College Dublin) and Professor Virginia Crossman (Oxford Brookes) Convenors: Professor Don MacRaild (Northumbria University) and Dr Kyle Hughes (Northumbria University). Please send proposals (200 word abstract) for twenty-minute papers or themed panels to by 28 February 2013. See for further details.


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Decolonizing the ‘stereotype’: Parallel objectives of the Irish Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance Geraldine Connolly looks at the links between the Irish and Harlem cases. ‘The Irishman is a creature manifestly between the Gorilla and the Negro. It … may sometimes be seen ascending a ladder with a hod of bricks.’ ‘Stereotyping was but one of their [the Irish] problems that runs parallel to one of our own, and their solution deserves our deep attention.’


he Irish and Harlem Renaissances are characterized by their aims to formulate their own racial and cultural identities. These literary movements were roughly contiguous; the Irish Renaissance began in the late 1890s and lasted until the mid-1920s, while the Harlem Renaissance

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extended from 1920 until the mid-1930s. They were never homogenous cultural movements. Rather, both movements were compounds of diverse ideologies in which emergent anti-colonial forces, conservative middleclass bourgeois nationalism and radical militant nationalism engaged in a protracted contest for

dominance within their respective movements. However, the cultural aims of the competing forces within each movement shared a determination to project a ‘collective’ group identity that would articulate new values reflecting a ‘New Irishman’ and a ‘New Negro’. (Note: the term ‘Negro’ is used as a contempo29

Caption from Harper’s Weekly (1899). It points out the alleged similarities between the ‘Irish Iberian’ and ‘African Negro’ skull type and contrasts this with the ‘Anglo-Teutonic’.

rary term of the Harlem movement, which was also known as the ‘New Negro’ movement). The many similarities that existed in the caricaturing and stereotyping of the native Irish and the American Negro were fundamentally the result of their common experience as colonized peoples. Both groups were targets of racist stereotyping that usually drew on a debased Darwinism in which both the Negro and Irish were simianized near the bottom of a table of classification, the upper echelons of which were presided over by the Teutonic races. Such simianization was a deliberate attempt by the colonial power to portray the subject race as subhuman, and, therefore, a candidate for oppression. The references to ‘race’ in both the Harlem and Irish movements are based on the concept of ‘race’ as a positive expression of a unique collective identity. W.E.B. Du Bois’s definition of race can be applied in both cases. ‘Race is a family of human beings, generally of common blood and language, always of 30

common history, traditions and impulses, who are both voluntarily and involuntarily striving together for the accomplishment of certain more or less vividly conceived ideals of life.’ (Du Bois in Zuckerman, 2004). In an 1899 issue of Harper’s Weekly, an illustration (above) showed an alleged similarity between ‘Irish Iberian’ and ‘African Negro’ prognathic type skulls in contrast to the ‘Anglo-Teutonic.’ The accompanying caption indicates that: Iberians are believed to have been originally an African race… They came to Ireland and mixed with the natives … who themselves are supposed to have been…descendants of savages of the Stone Age, who, in consequence of isolation from the rest of the world… made way, according to the laws of nature, for superior races. During a visit to Ireland in 1860, Charles Kingsley recorded his observations, which demonstrate colonial attitudes. In his belief, the native Irish, ‘white

chimpanzees,’ were ‘happier, better, more comfortably fed and lodged under our rule than they ever were.’ Ironically, in the same decade, John Mitchel was claiming that the American Negro was ‘better off ’ under colonial rule and maintained that ‘the South and its people,’ should be ‘proud and fond of it [slavery] as a national institution.’ Even before the enslaved blacks arrived in the New World, a set of negative stereotypes about African character and behaviour was deeply rooted in European culture and psychology with Africa being perceived as a place of savagery, cannibalism, sexual promiscuity and pagan ritual. Ethnocentric and xenophobic Anglo-Americans had already placed Africans at the bottom of their hierarchical social structure. While this form of pseudo-scientific rationalization and social grading was applicable to all colonized people, Africans were more vulnerable than most. Arriving as slaves in the New World from the early seventeenth cenScoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

tury, ‘the sincere and passionate belief ’ of Anglo-Americans was, as WEB Du Bois summed up, ‘that somewhere between men and cattle, God created a tertium quid, and called it a Negro.’ The stereotype of the ‘subhuman’ Irishman was also well established. In Hurrish, Emily Lawless makes full use of the physiognomic make-up of her villain, Mat Brady, who, ‘as a perversion of humanity,’ is ‘unwieldy, red-faced, heavy jawed, brutal – a sort of human orangoutang or Caliban.’ This literary device not only illuminates the fierce and ferocious temper of Brady, but also further still entrenches the stereotype of the brutal and savage Irishman. Moreover, such negative representation led to further disempowerment. It was as Kiberd, in the Irish case, maintains, ‘If their [Irish] demands seemed too extreme, then they could be put down to Irish folly rather than to English malpractice. The Paddies could be patted on the head with an affectionate and condescending sigh, as if they were being whimsical and feckless again.’ The imposed image of the Negro was strikingly similar. As a legacy from the plantation days, the ‘Sambo’ and ‘Mammie’ myth of the happy-go-lucky ‘darky’ ‘protected’ by the patriarchal figure of the ‘Massa’ completed an idyllic image of Southern life. ‘Sambo’ was ‘naively charming with his banjo and his songs in the moonlight’ and ‘a faithful… genuflecting old servitor to the white folks of quality.’ While ‘Sambo’ functioned as the racial bedrock of white culture in the South, in the North, his counterpart, the minstrel man, was Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

The Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance, like the Irish movement, was a significant literary, cultural and political movement. In the 1920s, there was a ‘Great Migration’ of blacks from the south. ‘Pulled’ by the need for labour to meet the demands of World War 1, they moved to industrialized areas in the north and west. Harlem became the largest concentration of blacks in the world, known as the Mecca of America’s black culture; it was home to some of the greatest black intellectuals, artists and civil rights activists. Many of them were closely watching events in Ireland and saw the Irish movement as one that best suited the cultural and political aspirations of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the ‘New Negro movement’.

The Abbey Theatre tour of the United States left a great impression on the black artists. They saw how ‘real’ representation was driving off the artificial stage Irishman. Likewise, they hoped that black drama would rewrite the denigrating images of the black race. Apart from the ‘minimalistic’ acting style pioneered by the Abbey players, it was their use of dialect that most influenced black writers. In order to convey the ‘raciness’ of the black vernacular , black writers adopted J M Synge, in particular, as their model . And it was not only black drama. James Weldon Johnson, among many black poets, explicitly invoked the Irish forerunners as models. He stressed that: ‘The colored poet in the United States needs to do something like what Synge did for the Irish…’ One of the parallel aims of the movements was to produce a literature that would release them, as ‘the other’, from the stereotype construct. It seemed that this was one of the most potent ways in which to prove they were entitled to their right as an independent nation, in the Irish case and their right to full integration, in the black American case. becoming a genre stereotype. He was a more pervasive character as he appeared in all genres: drama, song, poetry and prose. By the early 1900s, American popular culture had entered the ‘Coon Age’. And ‘these coons were – the-

atrical!’ L.M. Hussey, a white commentator, noted. The mask of blackface allowed the black entertainer to say and do things that criticized white control. As an old Negro song demonstrates, the Negro had learned valuable lessons in slavery, 31

Got one mind for white folks to see, ‘Nother for what I know is me… However, behind this ‘organized deception’, the Negro was ‘a wounded clown’ and ‘few saw him crying.’ There was the ‘within’ and the ‘without’ of ‘Uncle Tom’. Within – The beaten pride. WithoutThe sly and servile grace Of one the white folks Long ago Taught well To know his Place. It was a performance similar to and characterized by what Kiberd calls, in the case of the ‘Stage Irishman’, ‘the art of fawning duplicity.’ With great amusement, Synge noted that many who ‘professed to know no English could make themselves understood without difficulty when it pleased them.’ ‘It shows,’ he remarked, that in spite of relief works…and patronizing philanthropy – that sickly thing – the Irish peasant, in his own mind, is neither abject nor servile.’ However, this ‘performance’ assisted greatly in reinforcing the stereotype of colonial construction. The mastery of self-concealment or self-veiling further entrenched the myth of the harmless ‘Paddy’ and happy ‘Sambo’ and, at times, authenticated it as a realistic truism. Likewise, in his ‘performance’, the self-imposed ‘Paddy,’ as D.P. Moran noted, ‘has lost so much of his self-respect that he is only too glad to make a buffoon of 32

himself for a few English coppers.’ However, the Irish peasantry had also learned ‘valuable lessons’. They, like the black race, could also see ‘that stealth and guile, not to mention silence and cunning, were useful to a people who lacked physical and financial power.’ The mask both concealed and protected. While ‘wearing the mask’, it enabled ‘Negroes to move in and out of the white world with safety and profit.’ Ironically, the Irish immigrants also saw ‘the mask’ as a way in which they could move in to the ‘white world’ with ‘safety’ and ‘profit’. While anti-black violence by Irish immigrants may have gained the approval of white nativist racists, such violence also confirmed stereotyped notions of the ‘fighting’ Irish, whereas participation in minstrelsy brought them closer to ‘white’ status. Since white American racism often presented the Irish with dark skin, through minstrelsy, the Irish ‘were able to wipe off the burnt cork from their pale faces’ and ‘metaphorically wipe off their racial Otherness.’ There were other more complex reasons for the donning of ‘the mask’. In the ‘Great Migration,’ American blacks had come straight from the rural plantations of the South to an urbanized industrialized environment. They had no ready-made urban identity. Similarly, the Irish in their own ‘great migration’ from rural Ireland to industrialized cities abroad encountered what Kiberd describes as ‘the living antithesis of all that they had known.’ Their previous exist-

ence had been one of ‘living… on windswept seashores’ and they were now plunged into ‘the secular anonymity of life in the factories and the mines.’ Therefore, it was easier for the Negro and the Irish to don the mask of their surrogate character than to create a complex urban identity. Despite emigrating from denigrating misrepresentation, Irish-Americans found themselves in an Anglophone culture where the image of the violent, simian and bestial Irishman, adopted by English caricatures, was caught up in the popular iconography of Anglo-American racism. Demand for reform in Ireland provoked an upsurge in racist propaganda. ‘Fenianism’ had given ‘full rein to the image of the bestial and violent Irishman’ and the ‘simile’ of the ‘simian Celt crossed the Atlantic, gaining a higher facial angle and a bigger, squarer jaw en route…’ Paddy’s’ curriculum vita was now complete. Likewise, threatened by the few political gains made by the black race new means were used to portray the Negro as a ‘brute’. Southern white supremacists had felt safe with ‘Sambo’ and ‘Mammie.’ After Reconstruction Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

W.E.B. Du Bois was a renowned black American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor.

they saw ‘the wretched freedman’ as a ‘brute, swaggering about, insulting, and assaulting, and it must be added, wanting to vote.’ (See image below for a depiction of this attitude). While a fear of oversexed ‘brute Negroes’ had been a constant and deeply rooted feature of the white racist imagination, it reached spectacular proportion at the turn of the century. One such Negrophobe, Thomas Dixon, in his introductory note to The Clansman warned that ‘four million negroes had been suddenly freed...the task of controlling these millions of ignorant and superstitious negroes was one to appal the stoutest hearts.’ Such propaganda provided ‘evidence’ that the black race were not capable of any political responsibility. As the Irish ‘peasants’ image was becoming more bestial in their demand for political and agrarian reform, in a similar way ‘the closer a Negro got to the ballot box, the more he looked like a rapist.’ He was either ‘a vicious rapist…or a faithful but doddering idiot,’ as Du Bois, in his protest against The Clansman, concluded. The Negro’s curriculum vita was also now complete. Both Renaissances expressed the need to remove the ‘mask’. Augusta Gregory believed ‘that truth is best, that we have worn the mask thrust upon us too long, and that we are more likely to win at least respect when we appear in our own form.’ Likewise, the time had come, Jean Wagner announced, ‘for him [the Negro] to snatch off the mask so that he might show his real face.’ And, Alain Locke, Father of the Harlem Renaissance’, in his belief that ‘ must discover and reveal the beauty Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

which prejudice and caricature have overlaid,’ held the same hopes that Gregory expressed earlier when she claimed, Irish theatre would prove ‘that Ireland was not the home of buffoonery and of easy sentiment.’ Prior to the Irish Renaissance, Irish drama presented the ‘Stage Irishman’ as the English imagined them to be: servile, drunken peasants or/and violent Fenians. Therefore, ‘the Irish nation remained as it had been for centuries, with no theatre of its own and no voice to tell its story.’ It was time to make the Irish voice tell its own story through the richness of its accent and idiom and express the whole of the Irish character on the stage. Like the Irish, black Americans had a rich quality of voice and a dialect well suited to dramatic expression. Subsequently, like their Irish counterparts, the Harlem Revivalists shared the

in literary styles, techniques, themes and dramatization used by the Harmelites were to a great extent influenced by the Irish writers. Many references to the Irish movement can also be found in autobiographies, political and historical speeches, newspaper and journal entries. In order to convince black culturalists that theatre, the most visual of all literary arts, was the most effective way to challenge stereotyping, Sterling Brown, black poet and folklorist, reminded them of how the ‘comic Paddy existed for the delectation of an English audience. His brogue, a mere phonetic distortion, not the true dialect, flattered their sense of grammatical superiority.’ As encouragement to the black dramatists, Brown pointed out how Yeats, Gregory and Synge succeeded in driving the Stage Irishman ‘off the boards’. He recognized, in particular, how Gregory stored up the folk-lore, saw the raciness and beauty of the folk-speech, and realized that instead of its being a thing for the culturally parvenue to ridicule, it could be fashioned into an instrument of marvellous literary effects.

same linguistic goal in their attempts to sophisticate their dialects of English. While historic-political sameness explains why the ideologists, culturalists and artists in both movements responded to stereotyping, the similarities

According to Willis Richardson, a black dramatist, ‘the Irish Dramatic Movement,’ in particular, was ‘an excellent model.’ In his ‘hopes for a Negro drama,’ he claimed: We ought to profit from the case of the Irish National Theater. With no richer material, and among a population of less than five millions, the Irish have built a national drama, encouraged and sustained playwrights, who are respect33

D.P. Moran (Wikimedia Commons)

ed the same as are the other members of their profession in larger countries, and trained a company of actors who have made a decent living by their work on the stage. However, while black theorists and artists have made many references to the Irish Renaissance and while many similarities in their style, technique and ap34

proach can be established, the Harlem Renaissance developed its own unique form of expression. They possessed and used a distinctive black aesthetic that forced both white and black America to look behind the ‘masks’ of ‘Sambo’, ‘Mammie’ and the ‘Minstrel Man’. Both races were well rehearsed as they emerged from their own pre-literate societies where

history and legend survived mostly through the spoken word. The lack of a literate mass is, in itself, a manifestation of the great and distinctive oral traditions that these races had in common. Charles Gavan Duffy remembered how old legends and traditions were kept alive through ‘the harpers and pipers, the itinerant schoolmaster, the tinker and the peddler.’ They were ‘always ready with the tales of the wars and the persecution.’ Huston remembered when ‘Men sat around the store on boxes and benches and passed this world and the next one through their mouths … and nobody doubted the conclusions.’ Both races were, therefore, more receptive to the spoken than the written word. They were both ‘hungry listeners,’ as Zora Neale Hurston, black novelist, remarked of the black race. The writers of both movements, Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012

as literary or political activists, often both, were representing and speaking for a people during a period of strong anti-imperialist and revolutionary energy and of great conservative backlash. In their classic post-colonial situations, emerging Irish nationalists and black race leaders felt obliged to refute the imperial conception of their races by idealizing them and exaggerating their inherent morality. Such a need to configure idealistic cultural forms undoubtedly owed a lot to post-colonial insecurity, however, in constructing these cultural forms, they proved to be almost as ‘imagined’ as the portrayals presented by the colonial powers. In Ireland, stereotyping and the suspicion of stereotyping had become so built into a highly political, theological and cultural context that Irish-Irelanders displayed a doctrinaire narrowness and objection to anything detrimental to their ‘image’ of Irishness. Unlike the Irish artist, the black artist had to deal with a double audience. He found, as James Weldon Johnson, author and politician, noticed, that if he chose ‘to address white America, he faces a whole row of hard-set stereotypes which are not easily broken up’ and if he chose to address black America, he has ‘no more absolute freedom to speak as he pleases than he has in addressing white America.’ Du Bois explained that the Negro audience has ‘sore toes, nerve filled teeth, delicate eyes and quivering ears. And it has these because during its whole conscious life it has been maligned and caricatured … to an extent inconceivable to those who do not know.’

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Subsequently, the leaders of both movements had to contend with a form of censorship imposed by the ‘antistereotypers’. Black cultural leaders were well aware of the similar difficulties faced by the Irish theatre. Rather than stress the ‘weakness’ of the Irish audience, Brown, as an encouragement to black artists, stressed the ‘strength’ of the Irish movement in facing the oppositions. He explained: Their works were misunderstood by the people whose true character they wanted to show, and whose latent geniuses they wished to arouse and sustain. Riots were frequent when in contradistinction to the stereotype of the vaudeville stage they refused to set up plasterof-paris saints. In order to challenge the damaging effects of stereotyping effectively, it was an imperative of both cultural movements to reveal the ‘real’ character that existed in, what Fanon terms, a ‘zone of nonbeing.’ Their common literary goal can be summarized through Fanon’s theory: ‘Since the other hesitated to recognize me, there remained only one solution: to make myself known.’ This was the ‘only’ solution to what Albert Memmi describes as ‘depersonalization’ of the oppressed. ‘The colonized,’ he maintains, ‘is never characterized in an individual manner; he is entitled only to drown in an anonymous collectivity.’ Subsequently, the common primary aims of both literary movements were to dismantle the ‘anonymous collectivity,’ to de-stereotype by ‘individualization’ and to present a nation or

race of individuals, so diverse that it could not conform to stereotyping. Further Reading J. Boskin, Sambo: The Rise and Demise of an American Jester (New York, 1986). D.J. Casey & R.E. Rhodes (eds), Views of the Irish Peasantry 1800-1916 (Hamden, Connecticut, 1977). W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (New York, 1994). F. Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York, 1967). R.F. Foster, Paddy & Mr. Punch (London, 1995). J.C. Furnas, Goodbye to Uncle Tom (New York, 1956). N.I. Huggins, Harlem Renaissance (New York, 1971). D. Kiberd, Inventing Ireland (Massachusetts, 1995). A. Locke (ed.), The New Negro (New York, 1992). A. Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Boston, 1991). Geraldine Connolly graduated with a First Class Honours in Modern Studies in the Humanities at University of Ulster in 2006. In June 2011, she graduated with a PhD in English Literature at University of Ulster. This article is based on a section from her PhD, which examined the comparative perspectives of the Irish and Harlem Renaissances. She is presently editing this thesis to be published as a monograph. 35

Ann Matthews Dissidents: Irish Republican Women, 1923-41. (Mercier, 2012, 310pps, â‚Ź18.99 PB)

Ann Matthews takes an original look at the active role played by women during Ireland’s struggle for independence against Britain. These women acted as important couriers, writers, intelligence-gatherers and nurses during the conflict yet for decades female involvement in the Irish Republican cause was forgotten and overlooked by dramatists, historians, politicians and society at large in spite of the participation of over 10,000 women in that struggle. In her examination of this topic, Matthews exposes many of the myths and fallacies that have prevailed for decades in Irish historiography on this period. The author draws on extensive primary sources and secondary research material to challenge the boasted contribution of Maud Gonne MacBride and Countess de Markievicz to Cumann na mBan and the independence struggle. These two leaders rose to prominence in the female organisation not by their activism but largely due to their social status. Both women were frequently absent from important meetings and Markievicz, in particular, liked to act independently and rather erratically in public making statements without consultation with her fellow colleagues in the organisation. The author details how both women proved poor leaders during the independence struggle and points out that many lesser-known individuals, like Jennie Wyse Power, provided the real backbone to the female movement 36

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Review that kept the organisation alive during the war. The volume also explores the gradual split in the female Republican ranks as a result of the AngloIrish Treaty signed on 6 December 1921. Like the general population, the majority of Cumann na mBan supported the treaty during the Dáil debates yet many radicals within the movement, especially, Mary MacSwiney, spoke publicly against the treaty and accused pro-Treatyites of a gross betrayal. The treaty split the organisation as it split the Sinn Féin movement with pro-Treaty members and anti-Treaty members canvassing for their respective Sinn Féin candidates in the general election held on 16 June 1922. When the Irish people voted in the general election the majority voted in favour of accepting the AngloIrish Treaty and its provisions, which included an oath of allegiance to the British monarchy. Some members of Cumann na mBan, most notably Countess de Markievicz and Mary MacSwiney, responded to the result by imitating Éamon de Valera and consequently, they refused to recognise the legitimate authority of the Irish Free State. The book’s final section explores how these antiTreaty members of Cumann na mBan continued to believe in the “romantic ideal” and refused to accept the cause as lost in spite of the economic, military and political reality. By March 1923 over 271 Republican women were interned in prison and the author describes the tensions not only between the political prisoners and the prison authorities, but also between the women themselves who split into factions like the wider Republican movement. The leaders refused to clean their prisons because it was below their social status to engage in such menial work. In another incident, the women were transferred from Kilmainham Gaol to the all-female prison at North Dublin Union. The prison had been opened after inspection by the International Red Cross who found its facilities to be comfortable and modern. Despite this, the leadership issued orders that no prisoner was to clean any cells which caused more friction amongst the prisoners themselves than with the authorities.

1921. Moreover, although it was never near the centre of decision-making in the Republican movement, it was now relegated to a purely ceremonial role in public acting as a guard of honour at funeral processions. The organisation was increasingly removed from any prospect of engagement in national politics and some members welcomed the opportunity to leave the organisation and join the new Fianna Fáil party in 1926. Ironically, these women supported Éamon de Valera in the hope of keeping the desires of an Irish Republic alive yet during his time in power their contribution to the cause was erased as de Valera created an entirely male-dominated and malecentred Republican edifice. At times the book focuses attention too much on the anti-Treaty side. There is certainly scope for Matthews to research the role of pro-Treaty Republican women which would be a welcome perspective and would turn the volume collection into a trilogy. This study is strongly recommended for students of twentieth century Irish history who want to understand the Irish Republican cause, the rise of Éamon de Valera and the disappearance of women from the general historical narrative. With the centenary of the 1916 Rising approaching this highly readable account of that era may accord those women the public recognition they deserve. Barry Whelan completed his undergraduate studies in History & Spanish at UCD before proceeding to complete his PhD in History at NUI Maynooth in March 2012. He is currently editing his thesis, which examined Irish-Spanish relations during the Second World War and post-war period, to be published as a monograph. He is also working on a biography of the Irish diplomat Leopold Kerney. Barry works as a lecturer at Maynooth teaching contemporary Spanish history.

By November 1926 Cumann na mBan had lost its dynamic. Successive splits meant that the organisation could only fund forty branches across the country, a decline from 839 branches in July Scoláire Staire OCTOBER 2012


Interview With another season of championship football and hurling gone, and Ireland getting into the swing of the soccer World Cup qualifiers, we talked to Cormac Moore about his new book, The GAA v Douglas Hyde, and the rise of sports history in Ireland.

Hi Cormac, congratulations on the publication of the book. How did it come about? I have always been passionate about history and sport and have a keen interest in marrying the two interests. I completed a Masters in UCD in 2010 with the removal of Hyde as GAA patron the topic for my thesis. Looking at the rich primary sources available and the astonishment of the GAA’s decision to remove a man such as Hyde, I felt there was a really good idea in a

book on the topic. Can you outline briefly what the book is about? For the first time, arguably the most controversial episode in the GAA’s colorful history is recalled in full detail, the removal of Ireland’s first President, Dr Douglas Hyde, as patron of the GAA for his attendance at a soccer match in 1938 just months after his inauguration as President. De Valera, Hyde & Traynor at match


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Interview The book places Hyde’s life and the Ban’s history into context before covering the incident itself in great detail. It looks at the GAA’s somewhat dubious pursuit of an Irish-Ireland. It examines the relationship between the GAA and politics and how this and other incidents led to a severe straining of relations between the GAA and the government. How did Hyde react publically/privately to the move? He has not left a record in public or in private on the matter. He demonstrated his belief that he had done the right thing in going to the soccer match by subsequently going to a rugby match in 1940. Did the incident have any effect on the GAA’s eventual decision to remove the ban in 1971? Although it took some 33 years for the Ban to be removed after the Hyde incident, this episode was time and time again brought up as a reason to remove the Ban, particularly by Tom Woulfe, the man who led the successful campaign to remove the Ban.

Sports history is a growing genre in Ireland at the minute. Given the Irish love of sports do you think it has the potential to attract more people to take an interest in social history or history in general? Considering the love Irish people have for sports, it is somewhat disappointing that Ireland is behind other countires in its body of work on sports history. With such bodies as Sports History Ireland this is changing. There has been a strong body of work on the GAA particularly since 2009, other sports still need to be covered in a much more comprehensive fashion than they have been. The greater the body of work out there, the better the chance of getting more people interested. I think we are close to an explosion in people producing works in and studying sports history. Any plans for the future? Further research, another book perhaps? I am currently pursuing a PhD on the history of soccer in Ireland from 1880 to 1932 and I would hope there would be a book resulting from that study.

Who do you think the book will be useful for? The book is written in a style that should appeal to the general public by giving a good context to all events that transpire. It’s academic merit lies in the richness of the primary sources used and recalling of events not covered in detail before. It would particularly appeal to sports and Irish history enthusiasts.

Who would you like to see interviewed in Scoláire Staire? Send your suggestions to

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Scolรกire Staire OCTOBER 2012

Scolaire Staire, Vol 2 Issue 4  

The free online Irish history magazine. Read or download a copy here.

Scolaire Staire, Vol 2 Issue 4  

The free online Irish history magazine. Read or download a copy here.