Historical role of newspapers in Irish revolution studied at UCC

The historical force of newspapers and how their role in the Irish revolution has been underlined by a researcher at University College Cork.

By Niall Murray, Irish Examiner


Alan McCarthy says the media dimension of the troubles from 1916 to 1923 has often been overlooked by academic historians.

“They tend to view these papers as historical sources as opposed to the historical forces that they were,” he writes in a journal of postgraduate research at UCC.

Mr McCarthy writes the key propaganda role played by papers in Cork made them central actors — and not just reporters — in the battle for hearts and minds during the turbulent period. According to their political allegiances, the nationalist Cork Examiner and Southern Star in the city and in West Cork, and their loyalist counterparts, the Cork Constitution and the Skibbereen Eagle, took different angles on what happened. But Mr McCarthy’s research, under the supervision of UCC historian Donal Ó Drisceoil, also focuses on how their various and evolving stances led to censorship and suppression by both Crown Forces and revolutionaries, and to the ultimate demise of some titles. Mr McCarthy is one of almost 40 UCC students to have their research published in The Boolean, a journal highlighting postgraduate work across a range of disciplines. Among them are studies of bridge technology, old and new, from students of UCC’s school of engineering. Paul Anthony Cahill is investigating the possibility of harvesting energy from traffic passing over rail bridges, using sensors that might also help detect structural maintenance requirements. Deirdre O’Donnell’s work examines just why the 1926-built pedestrian Daly’s Bridge across the River Lee in Cork City, known locally as the Shaky Bridge, is so shaky.

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