National symbols have long been highly contentious in Ireland, and they remain so today. While there have been a number of studies which have examined the role of symbols in the contemporary conflict in Northern Ireland, as yet there has been no detailed study of debates about national symbols in twentieth-century Ireland. This book fills that gap, outlining the historical background to the continuing controversy about national symbols in Ireland and shedding new light on the deep political divisions which have marked Irish society throughout that century.
Our Own Devices focuses on the crucial period from 1922 to 1939 which saw the creation and consolidation of new governments in the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. It also examines in detail the selection of official symbols of state by governments in both parts of Ireland, and public responses to those symbols. Having discussed the conflicts over symbols which took place in the early decades of the two states, the book concludes by bringing the story up-to-date and relating earlier controversies about national symbols to current debates about the role of symbols in conflict and peacemaking in Northern Ireland.
This study is a pioneering work in this relatively new area of Irish history, and is based on extensive original research, using many sources which have not previously been cited in published works.
Table of Contents
- ‘The wolf-dog lying down and the harp without the crown'” Irish national symbols to 1922
- From symbols of party to symbols of state: the flag and anthem of the Irish Free State
- ‘Silent ambassadors of national taste’: seals, stamps, banknotes and coins of the Irish Free State
- True to the red, white and blue: official symbols of Northern Ireland
- Disloyal Displays?: minority national symbols in Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State
- Pillarboxes and partition: symbols, sovereignty and Irish unity
- Symbols, conflict and conciliation: 1940-2000
About the Author
Ewan Morris completed a PhD in Irish History at the University of Sydney in 1997. He now works as a Research and Policy Officer for the Council for International Development in Wellington, New Zealand.