Irish history

  • Staging History to Make History: Theater and the Road to the Good Friday Agreement

    by Marilynn Richtarik

    Brian Friel's play "Making History" wasn't faithful to the facts of the life of Hugh O'Neill, a 16th century chieftain who had symbolized Irish resistance to colonization. But, as an influential artist, Friel purposefully substituted myths of cultural hybridity for myths of nationalism to make the negotiation of peace palatable to his friends in politics.

  • The Long Road to Redress in Ireland

    by Mark Holan

    James Smith, a scholar and advocate for the victims of Ireland's social service institutions including mother and child homes, reformatories, and the notorious Magdalen Laundries, warns that the government's attempts at compensation stifle openness and transparency. 

  • "Phantom Catholic Threats" Haunt Ireland's National Maternity Hospital

    by Máiréad Enright

    Secular Irish health advocates fear that a partnership between the state and religious charities to operate the national maternity hospital will impose limits on care, including abortion access. Is this justified or a case of finding "nuns under the bed"? 

  • The Irish Lesson: Abortion Bans Won't Stop Abortion

    by Fintan O'Toole

    The recently overturned Irish constitutional ban on abortion and the recent attack by conservative Americans on abortion rights have a common intellectual champion in Notre Dame's Charles E. Rice. The Irish learned the hard way what followed. 

  • Ireland, We Hardly Knew Ye: Fintan O'Toole's Story of Modernization

    by Jack Sheehan

    Fintan O'Toole's acclaimed popular history of modern Ireland delivers a sharp indictment of child abuse by Catholic priests and the operators of reform schools and institutions, but substitutes national-level psychoanalysis for research in other areas, a historian argues.

  • Fintan O'Toole on Ireland's Great Gamble

    O'Toole's "personal history" of Ireland shows that the Republic sought both modern prosperity and traditional values, but could secure only one. 

  • Why Does St. Brigid Get So Much Less Attention than Patrick?

    by Lisa Bitel

    "This year on March 17, when you’re wearing the green and singing “Dirty Ol’ Town,” take a moment to whisper thanks to St. Brigid, the compassionate, sensible, native-born patron saint of Ireland, and ask if Ireland’s premier patron saint should be a woman."

  • Beware Prophecies of Civil War

    by Fintan O'Toole

    Northern Ireland's history shows how "premonitions of civil war served not as portents to be heeded, but as a warrant for carnage," as a seemingly inevitable mass conflict justifies and normalizes smaller-scale political violence as an everyday phenomenon.

  • Memo From Irish History: Welcome to Your Future, American Women

    by Laura Weinstein

    After sustained public outcry, the Republic of Ireland looked to its history of horrific treatment and preventable death of girls and women under its draconian abortion laws and said "enough." Will this example change the course American states like Texas are poised to follow?