Archive for February 5th, 2010

History in times gone by

5 February 2010

By Kevin O’Sullivan

I’m not really one for an old adage, but sometimes you have to admit when coincidence throws one your way. An example from this week: in my spare time I’ve been reading Michael Kennedy and Deirdre McMahon’s Reconstructing Ireland’s Past: A History of the Irish Manuscripts Commission (2009); while doing some research on famine memory I came across Cormac Ó Gráda’s brilliant article (published here and later reprinted here) on the commissioning of Robert Dudley Edwards and T. D. Williams (eds), The Great Famine (1956); and, in the midst of all the talk about the end of the National University structure and Batt O’Keeffe’s continuing hints about rationalisation in the university sector, into my path fell a copy of the University College Galway calendar from the middle of the 1970s. All a reminder that what we do, as historians, has changed so much in the last one hundred years. Things come in threes, etc.

As historians, we spend a large amount of time procrastinating about institutional memory – or lack thereof in the financial institution that’s now literally your local bank – so no harm for us to know a little about our own profession, where we come from and the spirits that guide us. In that vein, I’ve reproduced below a list of instructions and history courses from UCG in 1974-75. There is a lot that is familiar, some surprisingly so (the emphasis on local history, for example), some courses that are intriguing, and quite a few that hint openly at their convenors. To over-use a phrase, plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.


First Year

Pass and Honours

(1)  The history of Ireland from the twelfth to the end of the nineteenth century.

(2)  The history of Europe from the twelfth to the end of the nineteenth century.

Lists of textbooks which are recommended for study Read More