‘They want to tell lies about our history’
in The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland, 1968–79
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Debates about Irish history were not confined to academia. Some of the most damning criticism of republican ideas was published by the Kerryman newspaper in the weekly columns of schoolteacher Con Houlihan. Much of Houlihan's critique was based on seeing Irish history through the prism of class. Some accounts suggest the term 'revisionism' itself was introduced 'into Irish debate by Desmond Fennell'. Fennell was a Catholic intellectual, living in the Connemara Gaeltacht when the northern crisis began. The northern crisis shaped much of the debate in southern Ireland during the 1970s. It was far more than an academic discussion and driven as much by confusion as by a desire to refute old mythologies. People could agree with aspects of the revisionist argument but recoil from others, while many retained a basic republicanism but were disillusioned by the ongoing war.

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