“Irish History Unidealised”: The Politics of Republican Memoir and Narratives of the Defeated and Defiant

  • Stephen Hopkins


This chapter examines some of the recent memoir-writing of Irish republican ‘dissenters’, and compares these accounts, their motivations and purposes, with memoirs from an earlier generation of ‘defeated’ republicans; namely, those who fought on the losing side in the Irish civil war of 1922–1923. Specifically, the focus will be upon the memoir-writing of Richard O’Rawe and Ernie O’Malley. The argument pursued here is not that the situation facing the contemporary divided Irish republican ‘family’ is precisely comparable with the civil war generation of the early 1920s. But, for the defeated in both cases, the bitter legacies of conflict and alienation from the ‘post-conflict’ political dispensation were long-lasting, and they have subsequently been transmitted from one generation to the next. The chapter argues that memoir-writing may be understood as a continuation of the ‘discursive war’ in a post-civil war environment.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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