Introduction: New Histories of the Irish Revolution

James McConnel, Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The centenary of the Irish Revolution has just concluded, with 2023 marking the hundredth anniversary of the ‘dump arms’ order which ended, albeit ambiguously, the civil war of 1922–3. European history has been accustomed to marking centenaries during the past ten years, from the First World War which overturned a global order, to the Russian Revolution which created a new one, to the post-war national reverberations which created revolutions of their own. The enthusiasm with which these have been marked across Europe has varied considerably, with the sombre ne plus jamais tones of the centenary of the First World War giving way rapidly to the muted if not entirely absent commemorations of the October Revolution in Russia. The island of Ireland has perhaps been more wedded than elsewhere in Europe to the relentless treadmill of centenaries, with the Irish state formally dating its existence to the vanguardist rebellion, popular mandates and political institutions that occurred between 1916 and 1922, and Northern Ireland being dated to 1920. The ‘Decade of Centenaries’, as it is known in Ireland, has been unfolding according to a carefully arranged schedule since 2012; the end, marking the ambiguous conclusion of the Irish Civil War, is finally upon us. The implications of the ‘Decade’ for public history, for the position of professional historians within and outside the academy, and for the broader understanding of the revolutionary decade are significant and have generated their own critical literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-519
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary European History
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

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