Difficult History, Difficult Women, Difficult Research

In one of the first posts on Writing the ‘Troubles’, Eli Davies wrote ‘the starting point for my research is an observation, and it’s by no means an original one: that women’s experiences of the conflict in Northern Ireland are excluded in mainstream discourse’. This observation is also the starting point of my own research... Continue Reading →

Researching the republican movement: inside and out.

By Daniel Finn The two major Irish conflicts of the last century led to very different outcomes in terms of legality and state formation. The War of Independence gave rise to a new state that established its own form of constitutional legitimacy. The IRA campaign of the 1970s and 80s, on the other hand, could... Continue Reading →


By Ian Cobain- Author Colm Tóibín once told his creative writing class at Manchester University that “you have to be a terrible monster to write”. You should be prepared to make use of the unguarded comments of others, he said, even if those who uttered them may be identifiable. All that matters, is whether those... Continue Reading →

Dr O’Brien will see you now: Conor Cruise O’Brien as doctor to the Irish body politic

By Hugh Hanley- During his lifetime, Conor Cruise O'Brien was one of the most significant and most controversial public intellectuals in Ireland. A diplomat, a historian, a literary critic, a university administrator, a tenured professor, a journalist, a politician, a playwright, O'Brien was also among the most vociferous critics of the Provisional IRA during the... Continue Reading →

“Bobby Sands, MP: Whose Idea Was It?”

By Robert W. White- Many people readily accept the view that it was Jim Gibney who first suggested putting hunger striker Bobby Sands forward as a candidate when Frank Maguire, the MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, passed away.  The story is consistent with the general notion that younger, Belfast-based activists,  led by Gerry Adams, were more... Continue Reading →

Unearthing histories: Women, hunger and agency

By Deirdre Canavan- Alternative narratives of the ‘Troubles’ are gaining increasing recognition, both in academic circles and in popular culture, particularly those that platform the gaps and absences in available histories. This denotes a broader desire to move away from the dominant accounts in order to gain a consciousness of the ‘Troubles’ that has hitherto... Continue Reading →

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