Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh
2016 Studies in Arts and Humanities  
According to William Butler Yeats, Easter 1916 would leave the country of Ireland 'changed, changed utterly'. With this seminal aphorism, Yeats, Ireland's foremost modernist poet, apprehended that the Easter Rising of 1916 had altered, fundamentally, the dynamics of Irish politics. However, with this pithy line Yeats also anticipated that, on foot of the Rising, the very dimensions of Ireland itself would be re-wrought anew. Before the Easter Rising of April 1916, Ireland had been an integral
more » ... mponent of the United Kingdom. It had, therefore, been at the heart of an empire that had enveloped the four corners of the earth. In little over five years after the Rising, however, the greater part of the island of Ireland would decouple from the United Kingdom and the new Irish polity that this engendered would soon drive the British Empire's irreversible dissipation. This issue of Studies in Arts and Humanities (SAH) Journal is the journal's third iteration. SAH was conceived as, and will continue to be, an avowedly international academic digest. Like most everything else, though, SAH has a root and it happens to be in Ireland. This year in Ireland the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising has been dominating the intellectual, and informing the popular, discourse. Many of the people who have thus far contributed to the SAH initiative have been engaged, both as scholars and as citizens, in what has been a grand conversation about Irish history. Consequently, had SAH -simply because it is an international journal and, as such, keen to distance itself from anything parochialclosed its eyes to the centennial discourse, this, ironically, would have been very isolationist. Moreover, it would have been intellectually specious. Indeed, this special issue of SAH, which has as its general theme the 1916 Easter Rising, does not so much clip the wings of SAH just as it is getting off the ground but, rather, affords it an early opportunity to test the span of its interdisciplinary reach. In Ireland, the retrospective on the Rising has not been monochrome but it has, somewhat inevitably, been quite stratified. In this special issue of SAH we have, by contrast, woven together several disparate responses to the Rising, recognisingconsistent with our focus and scopethat to do so is to enhance our understanding of the Rising in exactly the same way as dissonance only distorts it. A background to the Rising Ireland first came under the jurisdiction of the English Crown in the twelfth century. However, it would be the 1500s before most of Ireland would succumb to conquest. Resistance to this was based in Ulster, the northern province, where the native, Catholic lords had remained powerful. During the 1600s, though, they were defeated and the native, Catholic population subjugated. From 1695, the Penal Laws institutionalised this oppression
doi:10.18193/sah.v2i1.66 fatcat:gxldcptypbedphkd7i3ab7eb3q