Irish Law Journals and the Emergence of the Irish State, 1916-1922

  • Thomas Mohr

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to assess the value of law journals as sources for a critical period of transition in modern Irish history. This is the years between 1916 and 1922 that witnessed the secession of most of the island of Ireland from the United Kingdom. The main source for this analysis is a journal known as the Irish Law Times which, in this period, was the only major law journal in existence on the island. A number of other publications, of lesser significance as historical sources, will also be included in this analysis such as the Irish Law Society Gazette, a minor publication that was exclusively aimed at Irish solicitors. The first purpose of this article is to introduce this useful source material for the years of upheaval in Ireland between 1916 and 1922 that has not previously come under close scholarly analysis. Historians and political scientists often overlook legal source material in analyses of particular historical periods. It is hoped that this interdisciplinary analysis will provide a general guide to these sources for scholars interested in particular aspects of this period of revolution. The second purpose of this analysis is to examine the response of the Irish legal professions to these important years of revolution and upheaval. This response is of wider historical interest because the Irish legal professions spanned traditional political divisions between Irish unionists, who wished to maintain links with the United Kingdom, and Irish nationalists, who wished for substantial autonomy or complete independence from the United Kingdom. Consequently, Irish law journals had to maintain a difficult balancing act between these viewpoints during a difficult period of bitter conflict. 

Published
2018-06-30
Section
Articles