Press, politics and revolution: newspapers and journalism in Cork city and county, 1910-23

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McCarthy, Alan James
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University College Cork
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During the century-shaping years of 1910 to 1923 newspaper enterprises played a key role in shaping/reflecting public opinion. In Cork, the battle for ‘hearts and minds’ was waged by Skibbereen's Southern Star and Skibbereen Eagle, and Cork city institutions, the Cork Examiner and Cork Constitution, along with the Cork Free Press. Notable but fleeting contributions also came from Terence MacSwiney’s short-lived Fianna Fáil in 1914 and the southern edition of Poblacht na h-Éireann during the Irish Civil War. The papers chosen cover the broad spectrum of mainstream public opinion in Cork city and county, namely Redmondite, O’Brienite, republican, loyalist, pro- and anti-Treaty. The location of these papers in Skibbereen and Cork city provides a unique comparative framework to assess changing public opinion from both the nationalist and loyalist perspective, and the differences between the city and a small country town in one of the most violent parts of the country at this time. This research is not exclusively concerned with the journalistic output of these papers, but also their staff and production processes. This inverts typical historical approaches which traditionally use newspapers primarily as sources, whereas this study showcases them as historical forces and not just historical sources. This project examines the experience of these papers, and the consequential, and often devastating, censorship and suppression they experienced. It argues that the suppression carried out by the IRA outdid the British administration in terms of severity. Engaging with the leading issues of the day and acting as a microcosm of the conflicts and disputes that engulfed Ireland as a whole, the newspapers of Cork city and Skibbereen entered the revolutionary decade diametrically opposed. By the end of the decade only two of these papers were still in business, while the country itself would be changed irrevocably.
Newspapers , Journalism , Censorship , Irish revolution , Southern Irish loyalism
McCarthy, A. J. 2018. Press, politics and revolution: newspapers and journalism in Cork city and county, 1910-23. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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