From the Editor…

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Issue 5 (Sep/Oct 2006), Letters, Letters, Volume 14

Cúchulainn at the K Club?

For those of us who are parents, this time of year is forever associated with that bitter-sweet experience of seeing our offspring head off to a new year in school, college or university (especially if it is for the first time). A vague feeling of melancholy is tempered by the relief that a more regular family routine will reassert itself. This issue of History Ireland evokes a similar sensation. After sampling the particular delights of last issue’s ‘special’ on Africa (and the earlier 1916 issue), this one reverts to a more familiar format.
There is inevitably the latest round in Ireland’s ongoing ‘heritage war’. On the opposite page Maolsheachlainn Ó Caollaí makes the case for the preservation and suitable development of the site of the Battle of Aughrim. Are we ever going to get the balance right between the needs of heritage and development? It is truly depressing that so little consideration is being given to the fate of a site central to the history of both traditions on this island (and where so many thousands were killed). The much-more-celebrated Battle of the Boyne a year earlier was a mere warm-up compared to what was the crunch match of that particular conflict.
This year also sees the ninetieth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which has been duly marked by commemorations, meetings and newspaper supplements. We have decided to take a more elliptical approach and explore some less well-known aspects of the period: Tom Burke (pp 8–9) tells us something about ‘the other women of 1916’, the Irish female voluntary aid detachments (VADs) during the First World War, while Siobhán Pierce sheds light on a hitherto little-used source (especially for the rank and file)—the wills of Irish soldiers killed in World War I.
Finally, on the occasion of Ireland’s first hosting of the Ryder Cup, Daniel Mulhall looks at the early history of golf in Ireland in the ‘golfing [18]’90s’. Such was the desire of even the most ardent ‘Irish Irelanders’ not to stigmatise this ‘gift from Scotland’ as a ‘foreign game’ that it was even suggested that the legendary Cúchulainn might have played golf rather than hurling!

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