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Welcome to Studies

Welcome to this newly re-launched website of Studies, now in its 104th year. Studies is a publication of the Irish Jesuits, which has appeared without a break since spring 1912, when Ireland and the world were very different places. Throughout the past hundred years we have sought to examine a wide range of Irish issues, social, political, cultural, and economic, in the light of Christian values, and to explore the Irish dimension in literature, history, philosophy and religion. This continues to be our purpose in the twenty-first century.

A brief survey of topics taken up in recent issues may give a sense of the wide range of our interests and concerns: ‘What would happen if the EU broke up?’ (Spring 2013); ‘Asylum seekers in our Republic: why have we gone wrong?’ (Summer 2013); ‘The heart of a Jesuit Pope: Francis in dialogue’ (Autumn 2013); ‘Revisiting the Murphy Report’ (Winter 2013); ‘Changing Ireland’ (Spring 2014); ‘Imagined community: Irish identities’ (Summer 2014); ‘Religious freedom in the 21st century’ (Autumn 2014); ‘The Jesuits in Ireland before and after the Suppression’ (Winter 2014).

The Spring 2015 issue contained a personal memoir of the late Seamus Heaney by Richard Ryan. The Summer issue will focus on the First World War, with essays on transgressive violence in the war and on the part played by Fr Willie Doyle and other Irish Jesuit chaplains, essays on Francis Ledwidge and Thomas Kettle, and an account of the opera Silent Night, based on the Christmas truce of December 1914 and given its European premiere at the Wexford Festival last autumn. 

Future issues will include topics such as the upcoming Synod on the Family in Rome and assessments of Ireland a hundred years after the 1916 Rising.

On this website you will find further information about past issues and how to subscribe to the journal. There is also information for prospective contributors. Contact can be made with us through the website address. We warmly welcome your comments and your continuing interest in Studies

Editorial Summer 2015

We are in a season of momentous commemorations. The present issue of Studies is focused on the First World War, which broke out a century ago. By the summer of 1915, hopes of a short conflict were rapidly fading. The brief 1914 Christmas truce on the Western Front, the inspiration behind Kevin Puts's new opera Silent Night, which had its European première at the Wexford Festival in the autumn and about which Tom Mooney writes in these pages, soon became only a bitter-sweet memory. The war, all further such eirenic interludes strictly forbidden from on high, lasted more than four horrific years and, by the time it finally ended in November 1918, four empires had collapsed and some 8,600,000 soldiers had died on the battle-field, many thousands of Irishmen, serving in the British army, among them.

Like the present writer, many of those reading these lines had family members who fought and possibly died in the war. But Ireland has been slow to honour their sacrifice. John Redmond's call to the Irish Volunteers at Woodenbridge in September 1914, to enlist 'in defence of right and freedom and religion', but also as an indirect aid to promoting the cause of Home Rule, led to controversy and a split in the ranks of the Volunteers. The upheaval of Easter 1916 and the disastrously ill-judged execution of the leaders meant that, almost overnight, the dominant political narrative in Ireland was irrevocably altered. Honouring the patriots and honouring the soldiers who had served in the armies of the empire against which the patriots had rebelled became almost impossible to reconcile.

In a number of the contributions to this issue of Studies, we hear echoes of this painful clash of loyalties as experienced at the time by individuals such as Francis Ledwidge and Tom Kettle and in whole communities such as Wexford, John Redmond's home town. In due course, following the annihilation of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the General Election of 1918 and the transformation of politics it produced, official policy and propaganda and the national mood clearly indicated which allegiance was now, alone, acceptable.

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