Pathfinders to the past

The antiquarian road to Irish historical writing, 1640–1960

Próinséas Ní Chatháin & Siobhán Fitzpatrick, editors, with Howard B. Clarke

Hardback €45.00
Catalogue Price: €50.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-345-9
October 2012. 200pp; ills.

‘This notable collection of fourteen erudite essays, well shod with footnotes, is a persuasive introduction to the studies it wishes to promote. This book is an encouragement to join the RSAI, as I hope many do', Rory Brennan, Books Ireland (May 2013).

‘This volume of essays about antiquaries in Ireland gives us the opportunity to consider how much this type of scholar and scholarship has pioneered and augmented cultural, historical, archaeological and linguistic studies not only in Ireland but across Europe and the Near East through the ages … Pathfinders to the Past gives us a roll-call of antiquaries and their connection with history and archaeology. We see a fine intellectual tradition being developed in Ireland … the essays illuminate how much the “pathfinders”, many of them members of the RSAI, contributed to both knowledge and methodology in uncovering the Irish past … This book shows that the RSAI is still active and productive intellectual and, in its tribute to past antiquaries, it also shows how important their contribution to the archaeological and historical record was and continues to be', Angélique Day, Ulster Journal of Archaeology (2011).

‘[This] is a wonderful collection of interdisciplinary essays compiled for the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. The essays cover the period from the turbulent seventeenth century – the Ireland of wars, destruction, plantation and dispossession – right through to the mid-twentieth century and the emergence of political and social modernity in Ireland', Michael Merrigan, Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (January 2013).

‘This book is a study of distinguished antiquarians and is important in taking them chronologically from Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh in the 17th century to J.J. Tierney in the 20th. This approach enables us to appreciate the development of the disciplines and to get an idea of the sweep of Irish history', Books Ireland (December 2012).

‘When read together, there is a pleasing coherence to the volume, and the progression from the eighteenth-century world of Walter Harris through to T.J. Westropp, H.S. Crwawford and R.A.S. Macalister in the early twentieth century is clear enough … an informative collection of essays, attractively presented', Bernadette Cunningham, GSIHS (2012-3).

‘It is a handsome production that will be referred to by scholars for years to come … it is a book that deserves a wide readership', Roddy Hegarty, Seanchas Ard Maca (2013).