Posts Tagged ‘Diarmaid Ferriter’

Review: Part two of The Limits of Liberty, RTÉ1

11 June 2010

Contributed by Adrian Grant

(Review of part two of The Limits of Liberty, broadcast on RTÉ 1, Tuesday 8 June, 10.15pm.)

The second instalment of The Limits of Liberty started off by looking at the massive project that was the construction of the Ardnacrusha hydro-electric dam in County Clare. Here, Ferriter rightly commended Cumann na nGaedheal for what was a great achievement. There was no mention of the striking workers on the scheme though. However, it appears that this second part of the programme had another axe to grind and Ardnacrusha was an excellent way to begin the programme. This was a symbol of a new Ireland, a self-governing Ireland that could compete on the world stage. Ardnacrusha provided the electricity for 87% of the national grid. Ferriter then gave the information that allowed the viewer a glimpse of where the film was going next. The national grid only covered 10% of the population. In 1945, only 2% of rural Ireland had electricity, at a time when Denmark had 85% coverage and the Netherlands 98%. Read More

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Review: The Limits of Liberty on RTE 1

8 June 2010

Contributed by Adrian Grant

(Review of Part 1, broadcast Tuesday, 1 June, 10.15pm)

In a post on this website back in April I questioned the ability of RTE to make a decent historical documentary. However, I held out some hope that The Limits of Liberty would prove me wrong. The prospects for the series were good. Its subject matter is something that will stir the public consciousness at this time and it is co-written and presented by a competent historian. It sets out to show how successive Irish governments in the first decades of independence were preoccupied with the pursuit of centralised power. The first part of the series does not disappoint in this regard. There was no moralistic back slapping of the Cumann na nGaedheal government for its defence of democracy. Instead, Ferriter showed what is often lacking in mainstream historiography. Read more

Interview: Dr Peter Crooks, Irish Chancery Project and organiser of the ‘Archives in Crisis’ public meeting

12 April 2010

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Fintan O’Toole showered praise on those foregoing the Grand National. Nuns sat on stairs. Historians peered over shoulders at the back. It was, Diarmaid Ferriter told the audience, highly commendable that so many had given up the first rays of summer to sit in a dark windowless room and listen to historians rambling on about the travails of history and ‘forgotten’ archives. But dark, windowless rooms are the historian’s natural habitat, and the 250 or so packed into Trinity College’s Emmet Theatre on Saturday afternoon exuded an energy born of their collective concern at the state of Ireland’s archives.

Immediately after the event, Pue’s cornered its chief organiser, Dr Peter Crooks of the Irish Chancery Project, allowed him a brief respite to gather a box laden with pens, notepads and flyers in one hand, a bunch of fresh daffodils in the other, and began an impromptu interview by asking if he felt the event had been a success. Crooks’s response was characteristically understated; he was happy, he ventured, that it turned into something more than a ‘professional whinge’. But even his natural reticence could do little to hide his enthusiasm at the levels of awareness the meeting had raised, far beyond even the positive indications they had been receiving since posters and flyers for the event had begun to circulate in the last month or so. Read More

Archives in Crisis

6 April 2010

Contributed by Peter Crooks

In 1922 the bulk of the nation’s documentary heritage was destroyed in the cataclysm at the Four Courts. What will be the state of Irish archives in 2022, on the centenary of the Four Courts blaze? This is the stark question posed by Archives in Crisis’, a symposium that takes place this Saturday in the Robert Emmet Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin (10 April 2010 @ 3 pm). The meeting opens with three short papers representing different viewpoints on the current crisis. Catriona Crowe (chairperson of the archivist’s branch of IMPACT) will outline the straitened circumstances under which Irish archivists currently operate. Eunan O’Halpin (Bank of Ireland Professor of Contemporary Irish History at TCD) will offer the scholar’s perspective on the crisis, while Fintan O’Toole will address the cultural significance of archives for Irish society at large. The symposium is intended to facilitate public debate, and the majority of the session will be taken up by an open forum moderated by Diarmaid Ferriter (Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD), during which the audience will be invited to pose questions, respond to the speakers and make their own views known. (chairperson of the archivist’s branch of IMPACT) will outline the straitened circumstances under which Irish archivists currently operate.

The immediate context for the ‘Archives in Crisis’ symposium is the present government’s proposal to merge the National Archives of Ireland into the National Library. But this proposed merger is, in fact, merely a symptom of a wilful neglect of archives that has deep roots in Irish political culture. Read more

When history on Wikipedia leaves you snookered

23 February 2010

By Kevin O’Sullivan

For those of you wracking your brains for a quick answer to some vital issue this Tuesday morning, here’s a friendly reminder that Wikipedia, while a useful way of pooling knowledge, getting a potted history of the latest cretin to get their big break through reality tv, or of putting yourself in the frame on some obscure issue, is a coloured research tool. My cue for saying so? Read on….

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:

Book Rally

11 September 2009

Lost Revolution 2

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Last night as I left the launch of Brian Hanley and Scott Millar’s The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party at the Teachers’ Club on Parnell Square in Dublin, making my way past the queue of autograph hunters and photographers, I caught the eye of an academic colleague near the door. ‘There’s a smell of revolution in that room’, she said. The speeches had ended, the free bar had run its course (no, that’s not why I left), and South Dublin Union was gearing up to provide the heart-rousing tunes. ‘A typical academic book launch’, another colleague remarked, tongue firmly in cheek, as he pointed to the backs of former party activists and ‘lost’ revolutionaries. ‘You see that bald man in the blue jumper in the second row? He was…’

I recognised a handful of faces, half-remembered the names of others. The rest passed me by, but they all knew each other. ‘I can see a number of left wing groups represented here’, Millar told the audience, ‘my family, my friends…’ Tomás Mac Giolla was plagued for photos and autographs beside the door, Mick Ryan’s face was hidden somewhere in the crowd, and Roy Johnston sat in the front row. In his opening remarks, Diarmaid Ferriter described the atmosphere in the packed hall as something akin to an election rally. Read More

Pull up a pew at the picnic for the history session: Diarmaid Ferriter at the Electric Picnic

8 September 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

CIMG0916I have to admit I was a little surprised to see Diarmaid Ferriter listed as one of the speakers at the Literary Tent at the Electric Picnic  festival this weekend.  Ferriter, there to promote his new book, Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Irelandspoke alongside a weekend line-up that included Roddy Doyle, John Banville and Florence (of Florence and the Machine). My curiosity got the better of me and so I took some time out from the music to go along.

I posted a blog about the historian Simon Schama speaking with world renowned literary giants at the Dublin Writers Festival so why was I surprised? Well it’s a music festival- a place where people convene to see bands and engage in more popular pursuits like music. There is something about the Irish literary figures, stereotypically drunk, broke (or both) and with destructive personalities, that seems to fit with the idea of a rock stars and their lifestyle so I suppose I have always seen the addition of such a popular subject area as literature to a Music and Arts festival like Electric Picnic as natural. But does a historian really belong at a boutique arts and music festival like ‘The Picnic’?

Pue’s has in a number of posts raised the issue in one guise or another: ‘how popular is it acceptable for a historian and history to be while remaining academically true?’ Read more