Against the Tide

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It is the job of historians to revise earlier accounts of history. As new public records, for example, continually become available, it will be necessary to revise previous accounts of certain periods of history and actors in that history. But the dominant narratives of Irish history since the 1960s have been written by a group whose revisionism claims for itself the virtues of value free and objective empirical research as exclusively forming their accounts of Irish history. As Bertolt Brecht said, however, “Whenever there are great virtues, it’s a sure sign something’s wrong”. What is wrong in this case is that such revisionism masks a particular set of ideological beliefs that result in, for example, the displacement of the Famine as the central, immiserating event in nineteenth century Ireland. This collection of essays, some previously published and some new, revises the Revisionists on their general approach to Irish history, the early history of Ulster, the Famine, the Plantation, Ireland’s status as colony, and challenges their findings through advancing counter-arguments in the spirit of academic debate and research. It is the first such collection that challenges Revisionism in various intellectually thoughtful and stimulating ways, and establishes a dialectical counter-narrative to it. Terence Bradley

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It is the job of historians to revise earlier accounts of history. As new public records, for example, continually become available, it will be necessary to revise previous accounts of certain periods of history and actors in that history. But the dominant narratives of Irish history since the 1960s have been written by a group whose revisionism claims for itself the virtues of value free and objective empirical research as exclusively forming their accounts of Irish history. As Bertolt Brecht said, however, “Whenever there are great virtues, it’s a sure sign something’s wrong”. What is wrong in this case is that such revisionism masks a particular set of ideological beliefs that result in, for example, the displacement of the Famine as the central, immiserating event in nineteenth century Ireland. This collection of essays, some previously published and some new, revises the Revisionists on their general approach to Irish history, the early history of Ulster, the Famine, the Plantation, Ireland’s status as colony, and challenges their findings through advancing counter-arguments in the spirit of academic debate and research. It is the first such collection that challenges Revisionism in various intellectually thoughtful and stimulating ways, and establishes a dialectical counter-narrative to it. Terence Bradley

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