Friday 22 September 2017

Now we'll find out who was really in the GPO in 1916

Dermot Keogh

The history that my generation was taught in school was mostly about the deeds of kings and generals, princes and presidents, prime ministers and cabinet ministers, senior civil servants and men of public affairs. Besides analysing mainly the world of high politics, such a narrow top-down approach made the further mistake of being about the stirring or dastardly deeds of men, 'his-tory' -- or patriarchy, in other words.

That kind of history has come to be known in the trade as 'history from above'.

The release of the first tranche (3,000 out of 300,000) of the Military Service Pensions Collection, held in Military Archives, Dublin, is an important development. These applications of those who claimed a pension for their active service during the period 1916-1923 may mistakenly appear to be a somewhat routine or mundane source, mere run-of-the-mill files.

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