Wednesday, January 11, 2012

History Ireland Hedge School

So the big difference between history and poetry is that history is just a matter of finding out what happened and recording it while poetry is much more uncertain, allusive, deals with the personal more often and uses language in a more careful exact way. Well not exactly.

History is far from the objective recording of facts and events. This may be the basis but the aim is to increase our understanding of the past and the present. Central to this is interpretation and this is usually coloured by current events and situations. Thus the post-1969 troubles in Northern Ireland coloured the way the history of the 1912-1923 period was understood.

Anyway there's a History Ireland Hedge School on today, Wednesday, 11 January at 7.00pm entitled The War of Independence in the South: "Four glorious years" or squalid sectarian conflict? in the National Library, Dublin.

The Four Glorious Years 1918-1921 was the title of Frank Gallagher’s (deputy director of the first Dáil’s Department of Publicity) account of the War of Independence. But how glorious were they? Recent scholarship, in particular the late Peter Hart’s on the war in West Cork, has cast it in a darker light with accusations of sectarianism and even ‘ethnic cleansing’ levelled against the IRA, which in turn has provoked a lively and sometimes vitriolic debate.

The list of speakers is impressive: David Fitzpatrick (TCD), John M. Regan (University of Dundee), Eve Morrison (TCD) and John Borgonovo (UCC). David Fitzpatrick was my supervisor of my doctoral thesis and I met John M. Regan at the Seán Mac Diarmada Summer School two year ago.

The promotional blurb claims that "the hedge schools run by History Ireland are slightly subversive in nature". I have no idea what they mean by this and the use of the qualifier "slightly" before "subversive" seems laughable.

Anyway it should be an interesting event and I hope to attend if I survive a day in the archives - another "final" visit.

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