Archive for October 8th, 2009

‘The Lost Souls of Ireland’ and the Historian’s Conscience

8 October 2009

Contributed by Gráinne McEvoy

StatueLast Thursday morning I tuned in to BBC Radio 4 to hear a report by Ruth McDonald on victims of Irish clerical and institutional abuse now living in Great Britain. ‘The Lost Souls of Ireland’ dealt with the response of an estimated 10,000 emigrant survivors to the release of the Ryan Report last May. Numerous voices in the national dialogue following the report have asserted its historical significance. Patsy McGarry, Irish Times religious affairs correspondent, has described it as ‘a milestone’ which casts a ‘complete new light on Irish history in the twentieth century’.

These assertions of the report’s historical importance have given me pause for thought, particularly in regards to my own field of interest – Irish migration history. The recent prominence of survivor action groups in Britain appears to confirm anecdotal evidence that many of the children who suffered neglect and abuse in Irish institutions left the country as soon as they were old enough and had the means to do so. In listening to McDonald’s interviews with survivors of clerical abuse and their English-born children, I also found that elements of their stories resonated with themes and problems familiar to those of us interested in the recent history of the Irish in Britain. Read More

Talking about history

8 October 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Miriam O'CallaghanIn spite of all of my best intentions in compiling this week’s guide to history on television and radio (it was my turn, sorry), I managed to miss the appearance of Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Irish History at UCD, and Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives, on the Miriam O’Callaghan meets… programme on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday morning (4 October). The two spoke about their friendship, their careers, what history means to them and what it gives to the wider community and ended with a rather interesting musical choice: Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly’s alternative history of the Famine, ‘The potatoes aren’t looking the best’. If you didn’t catch it, you can listen below, or head over to iTunes to download the programme on podcast.

Part I:

Part II: