Editorial

Published in Issue 1 (Spring 1993), Volume 1

They have stolen our history’. Thus has the work of professional historians of Ireland been decried in recent years. This statement is true: the labours of historians have wholly revised popular perceptions of the past in Ireland. The catharsis thus engendered would not have been so tempestuous had the historians themselves been better communicators. All too often, they write solely for their peer group. Yet the professional study of Irish history has been a significant contributing factor in the modernisation of contemporary Ireland. A society is emerging confident enough to do without the rhetoric of Faith and Fatherland. The dilemma is that people still need a history. In the late twentieth century there are two elements above all else which constitute identity in Ireland – the historical experience and the sense of place which we inherit and share. In such circumstances, to deconstruct the past completely would be to render ourselves cultural zeroes. Having been rescued from the crude reductionism of political propagandists, are we to resign ourselves to the trite commercialism of heritage entrepreneurs?

The object of this magazine is to bring Irish history out of the ivory tower and to make the latest research accessible to the widest possible audience. At the same time History Ireland will provide a forum for the local historian. Our contributors appreciate the need for clarity and their efforts are accompanied by illustrations, maps and pictures. We intend to encompass all schools of thought in a lively, polemical magazine which does not eschew controversy. A special section is devoted to the history curriculum in the schools, both North and South, to inform students and teachers alike of the latest developments in the syllabus and to keep them abreast of publications on their subject. There will also be interviews with leading historians, information on sources and archives, a diary of events, book reviews and a letters page. This magazine is being established without any grants from government, public institutions or private benefactors. Its success depends on your support and subscriptions.  This first issue is produced in the belief that it will attract sufficient public interest to set it on a secure and permanent foundation.

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