Justin Dolan StoverDec 25, 2022
Environmental Destruction During the Irish Revolution
University College Dublin Press 2022
Justin Dolan Stover is Associate Professor of transnational European history at Idaho State University, where he teaches courses on war and violence, modern Irish history, and the world wars. He holds a doctorate in history from Trinity College Dublin and has held several research fellowships throughout Ireland. He is currently a research fellow with the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam.
In this interview, he discusses his new book, Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction During the Irish (U College Dublin Press, 2022), which uncovers the environmental and spatial history of the Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence.
The Irish Revolution inflicted unprecedented damage to built-up and natural landscapes between 1916 and 1923. Destruction transcended national and ideological divisions and remained a fixture within Irish urban and rural landscapes years after independence, presenting an Ireland politically transformed yet physically disfigured. Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution examines how and to what degree revolutionary activity degraded, damaged and destroyed Ireland's landscapes. This book represents the first environmental history of the revolutionary period and in doing so incorporates the roles animals, earth, water, trees, weather, and man-made infrastructure played in directing and absorbing revolutionary violence. It traces the militarisation of private and public spaces, and how the destruction of monuments renegotiated Ireland's civic spaces and colonial legacy. It considers Crown force reprisals, agrarian disputes, and sectarian division as amplifying Ireland's contested spaces, where environmental damage occurred in the vacuum of public order. The decade of commemoration presents the opportunity to challenge traditional narratives and examine Ireland's revolutionary experience afresh. As such, this book re-evaluates conventional interpretations and introduces new arguments; in doing so, it pioneers a new phase in the study of the Irish Revolution.
Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution is published with UCD Press.
Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Frederick Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh