Facing up to ugly truths and reflecting today’s Ireland

BOOK FOCUS: Thomas Bartlett, an editor of The Cambridge History of Ireland, gives us an insider’s view of this mammoth project.


When I began the serious study of Irish history, in the 1960s, relatively few scholarly monographs were available—perhaps no more than twenty—that met the key requirements for evidence-based research and scholarly rigour. Total publications—books and journal articles—would scarcely have reached 300 a year. Progress was slow: by the 1970s about 500 items a year were being published, but from then on there was an exponential rate of increase. By 2000 about 2,500 items were being published annually, and the current figure is around 3,000.

In the past four decades the number of publishers (and journals) that specialise in Irish history has grown dramatically. In Ireland,Four Courts Pressalone publishes about 50 works on Irish history each year, andCork University Press,UCD Press, theRoyal Irish Academy,Irish Academic Press,Lilliput Pressand theUlster Historical Foundationalso publish very significant works on Irish history on an annual basis. In Britain, the university presses at Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Liverpool, and in the United States, those at Princeton, Notre Dame and Wisconsin-Madison publish regularly on Irish topics.[…]

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July/August 2018(issue no.380)

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