Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby Jd66 on Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:18 pm

Premier, he didn't quite do that but he was very critical. I got sent an audio recording of the talk. O'Halpin did indeed get a bit upset. Harsh words were exchanged on both sides.

I reckon sparks will fly at that history Ireland gig alright. Will probably pop along myself.

THe one thing that bothers me about Regan's approach on this is not that he criticises Hart, which is fair enough, it's that that seems to be the point of his current project. Shouldn't a historian be more concerned with establishing and interpreting what happened than focusing on criticising other historians?

Hart-bashing is no substitue for history, basically.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby DrNightdub on Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:42 am

Jd66 wrote:Shouldn't a historian be more concerned with establishing and interpreting what happened than focusing on criticising other historians?


I get the feeling - admittedly, only based on a couple of articles - that since "The Irish Counter-Revolution", Regan has been more focussed on the history of history, rather than on history itself - in other words, what shaped the writing about the events, rather than what shaped the actual events. But to commentate on history, you've got to know your stuff in the first place.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby thepremier on Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:17 pm

Sorry I misquoted, I got that particular quote from Phoenix Magazine of last October, I thnk, so they must be wrong.

Jd66 wrote:Hart-bashing is no substitue for history, basically.


No, and maybe my memory is at fault, but I don't remember such public criticism before Hart's death - when it would have been most productive. Because most historians of the period were either silent or skirted around the issue when it was most relevant, those who criticised Hart's conclusions could be marginalised, and the debate has now become more emotive and represents a clash of ideologies. (Mind you, Hart himself often seemed strangely isolated too.)

I get the feeling - admittedly, only based on a couple of articles - that since "The Irish Counter-Revolution", Regan has been more focussed on the history of history, rather than on history itself - in other words, what shaped the writing about the events, rather than what shaped the actual events. But to commentate on history, you've got to know your stuff in the first place.


That's also my impression. It's a pity he hasn't produced more work; still, The Irish Counter-Revolution remains one of the most substantial contributions to the literature of the period.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby Jd66 on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:13 pm

thepremier wrote:That's also my impression. It's a pity he hasn't produced more work; still, The Irish Counter-Revolution remains one of the most substantial contributions to the literature of the period.


That's true, fine book it is.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby bannerman on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:16 pm

Hello Premier & John. Sorry ive been away from this debate for a while, ive been extremely busy of late. To be fair a number of academics did criticise Hart whilst he was alive namley Brian Murphy, Borgonovo and Ruan O Donnell. Ph D student Niall Meehan was also a critic and i had a piece criticising Hart & Cottrells work published in a local newspaper before Harts death.

My main difficulties with using Harts work are 1 his use of anonymous sources and 2 his truncation and distortion of quotes to suit his thesis (ie - the quote about protestants not providing information to the British EXCEPT IN THE BANDON AREA.)

Its interesting to note Gerrard Murphys book has these same two flaws and there are still some academics who are prepared to defend and endorse it.

To be fair Hart refused to engage fully with his critics, and made a number of "honest mistakes". He remained evasive when questioned as we saw in the Tom Barry documentry made by Gerry O Callaghan.
I dont think Harts work has been discredited completely. He did after all do some very good work on the thompson gun and the IRA in Britain. However people are being cautious about Harts work where it has been shown to be the most unreliable Kilmichael and the issue of Sectarianism.

The event in Dublin on the 11th promises to be very good. I hope ill see ye both there
http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
Jim Larkin 1913
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby thepremier on Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:53 pm

bannerman wrote:I dont think Harts work has been discredited completely. He did after all do some very good work on the thompson gun and the IRA in Britain. However people are being cautious about Harts work where it has been shown to be the most unreliable Kilmichael and the issue of Sectarianism.


No, not completely. I should have mentioned The IRA at War and The IRA and its Enemies in particular, because those were two books I was told to use as a reference, and I couldn't because I found by checking certain facts that there was no way I could rely on them for accuracy. Yet I have a particular memory of being at a talk that he gave on the treaty when he was researching the Michael Collins biography and I was very impressed by his analysis. He's like the Tim Pat Coogan of Irish academia - the work he's best known for is his worst.

The event in Dublin on the 11th promises to be very good. I hope ill see ye both there


I hope so indeed, assuming that this wretched cold has left me by then. Nollaig shona!

P.S. Talking about Tim Pat Coogan reminds me of a comment someone made in the thread saying that Peter Hart's work had at least provoked debate. I would agree, except that he didn't make any new arguments, he simply rehashed old British war propaganda. (Again, he's not alone in that, but he argued that there was a scientific basis to this.) It's a similar thing with Coogan - he provoked debate alright, but it was simply along pro-treaty/anti-treaty propaganda lines. Maybe the debate has a value, but with so much attractive (as in, supposedly subversive) propaganda involved, the facts have an uphill battle to fight.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby DrNightdub on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:51 pm

The "house full" sign was up when I got to the NLI for the HI hedge school at about 6:50 this evening - would really appreciate it if some kind soul could post the gist of what was said. Gutted I couldn't get in.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby michaelcarragher on Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:14 pm

Same story here, Kieran.

I was there with an hour to spare and was persuaded by a friend I'd persuaded to come with me that we were far too early--that 20 minutes was lashings of time. Back at the NLI at twenty to seven the queue was all the way to the foot of the stairs--damn!

Yes, please, let some luckier or less hubristic soul enlighten us less fortunate ones on what we missed.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby thepremier on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:39 pm

DrNightdub wrote:The "house full" sign was up when I got to the NLI for the HI hedge school at about 6:50 this evening - would really appreciate it if some kind soul could post the gist of what was said. Gutted I couldn't get in.


I arrived at the same time, also missed it. Raging, I tell you.

I don't understand why they didn't do the advance booking that they had with the 1916 one at the same time last year.
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Re: Historical Revisionism and the Irish War of Independence.

Postby bannerman on Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:04 am

Hello lads and lassies.
I arrived at 6.20 to ensure I got a seat. Fitzpatrick spoke briefly on Clare but almost 90% of the conversation seemed to focus on Hart's work on Cork. The question of sectarianisim in other counties in particular Limerick, Tipperay and Kerry wasnt discussed. Overall the discussion was lively at times with out denegrating into personal issues. Although Regan and Fitzpatrick crossed swords on certain points - enough to send the odd spark flying but not enough to ignite the room. It didnt seem to me that Morrison contributed much to the debate. I got the first question in from the audience asking "Well even if it could be proved that the IRA used the issue of spies as a pretext to kill Protestants as Hart alleges (and I dont believe sectarianisim in Cork has been proved conclusively ) it dosent account for the fact that all those executed by the IRAin Clare (3) , Galway (3) & Limerick (7) were all Catholic. So even if Harts theory that the IRA in Cork used this issue to further a sectarian agenda can't be applied accurately to other counties."


My understanding is that the hedge school was recorded on film and will be made available as a podcast or video on the History Ireland website in the near future. The next hedge school on this topic will be held in Mayo conerning the WOI in the west on March 16th. See ye there - bright and early.
Last edited by bannerman on Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.warofindependence.net/

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