Sparky debate

Published in Issue 4 (Jul/Aug 2005), Letters, Letters, Volume 13

Sir,

—Thank you for such an interesting magazine. I am delighted that itis being produced more often and am looking forward to some good andchallenging reading. I particularly like the letters pages. There issome real sparky debate there, much more so than the usual bland toneof similar magazines. It has the effect of making me do more researchfor myself.
As an English reader I must comment on the letter from Anthony Drummondin the March/April 2005 issue (HI 13.2). He clearly had a poorexperience at school with regard to learning about Irish history. Myown experience was entirely different. From about the age of 14 until Ileft school at 18 our period of history study was nineteenth-centuryBritish history—and there was a great deal of Irish history involved!In fact there was more emphasis on that than on many other aspects,ranging from the United Irishmen, through Daniel O’Connell and CatholicEmancipation, the Famine, Land League and land reform and all thephases of the move towards Home Rule and independence. This was notbecause of either a good or interested teacher (he was neither) butbecause it was on the examination curriculum. It was alsosurprisingly—and appropriately—fairly balanced. Certainly it gave me amajor interest not only in Irish history but also in the history of myown country from another perspective. Growing up at the end of empire,it would still have been easy to have thought of it as a ‘good thing’.Instead I had the opportunity at an early age to reconsider theworld-view that I had been given, which has influenced my beliefsthroughout my adult life. So, for once, thanks is due to the educationsystem. As for Anthony Drummond’s experience, this may reflect thediminution of history at many levels in education systems.
JENNY GOODHAND
Ripon

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