Irish Historiography

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Irish historiography, just as is Irish history, is an arena replete with debate, often contentious, regarding the validity of historical date, the objectivity of perspectives and the role that nationalistically-fuelled myths have played skewing the truth.' The stated is not intended as an argument for the invalidation of popular history but as a remark on that literary, cum mythological, treasure trove which Irish nationalistic history is comprised of and with which Irish historiography must contend.


The Irish Potato Famine and Revolution comprise the twin pillars of the Irish nationalism's post-1923 ideal of the Republic. The two disparate events were celebrated, recalled and made into mythology for very different reasons. The Great Hunger was seen, within nationalist circles, as a largely avoidable food crisis, precipitated and subsequently exacerbated by British ineptitude and an attitude that saw the Irish as expendable quasi-citizens. The Revolution, on the other hand, was portrayed as a glorious event which successfully liberated an oppressed people, while making heroes and martyrs of men such as Michael Collins who, "in a span of six short years brought a country from bondage to a position where she could win her freedom." (Conlon & Barter, 2003, p.20). Both events would likewise serve as the twin axis upon which revisionism was to flourish - the backlash against nationalism both from within and outside of Eire.
Fuelled by frustrated patriotism and the deep-rooted influence of the Irish Diaspora in the New World, post-Famine Irish Nationalism espoused an interpretive view o ...
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