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The War of Independence: Separating fact from folklore
history and heritage |
Wednesday March 27, 2013 13:52 by Turing Test - Donner Party
Revisionists given a hammering by John Borgonovo . They are searching for an ouija board to contact Peter Hart for advice. Full text at link.
UCC historian John Borgonovo casts doubt on some claims made in the TV3 series ‘In The Name Of The Republic’
TV3’s TWO-PART documentary series, In the Name of the Republic has created a stir among historians, though perhaps not in the way the filmmakers intended. The programme illustrates the danger of accepting local folklore as historical fact, especially during this much-heralded “decade of centenaries”.
In the first episode, viewers met an aged Co Laois man who related his boyhood encounter with a neighbouring farmer, who claimed he had dug up a body while ploughing his field, one of three corpses supposedly buried there by the IRA. Series host Prof Eunan O’Halpin (of Trinity College Dublin) told the audience hisresearch had uncovered two civilians abducted by the Tipperary IRA and “never seen again”. The rest of the episode attempted to prove his theory that they were interred in this Laois field. The episode concluded with O’Halpin opening the sealed files, only to learn that both had survived the conflict. They were never killed by the IRA, much less secretly buried in Laois. The obvious lesson here is: Finish your research before you rent the JCB.
Undeterred, in the second episode, O’Halpin moves to more fertile ground in Cork City and Knockraha, a village a few miles east of Cork. In recent years, the area has attracted considerable speculation about the killing of alleged informers, especially Protestants.
Much interest stems from Gerard Murphy’s 2011 book, The Year of Disappearances, which received overwhelmingly negative reviews from historians concerned by his over-reliance on folklore and supposition. Murphy’s unlikely theories of covert revolutionary activity in Cork included the IRA’s unrecorded killing of up to 30 Freemasons in the spring of 1922, and the drowning of Protestant schoolchildren by IRA intelligence agent Josephine Brown. ...
The absence of such dramatic events in contemporary and later records (civilian, military, governmental, and religious) leads me to conclude that they did not occur. I was surprised, therefore, by the sight of Murphy relating additional theories for In the Name of the Republic.