The main task of DIFP is to research and publish volumes in the DIFP series, but the project also plays its part in promoting interest in the history of Ireland and its international relations. The DIFP news pages highlight the publication of new volumes in the DIFP series and show some of the project’s outreach involvements.
The project began to wind up its research for DIFP IX through September 2013, working through a list of headquarters DFAT files on the general political issues for any subjects that we might have missed. We also finalised with our DRI colleagues our simulation game ‘Journalist for a night’ for Researcher’s Night. Researcher’s Night was held very successfully at Academy House of the evening of 27 September. There are pictures of our ‘Journalist for a Night’ Researchers’ Night game here:http://discoverresearchdublin.com/gallery/.
Michael spoke at Thurles Library on 14 September as part of the ‘Tipperary Reads’ festival critiquing interpretations of Ireland as a haven for fugitives after the Second World War. This paper was based on research the project undertook through August. A revised version of the paper was delivered at the TCD Contemporary Irish History Seminar on 25 September.
Michael Kennedy with Tommy Graham of History Ireland at the History Ireland Hedge School at Electric Picnic, 1 Sept. 2013
Through August DIFP continued its work through the DFAT embassies series - paying particular attention to Bonn. We also investigated the Second World War fugitives, in particular Nazis and Nazi supporters, who tried to flee to Ireland. We did not discover any new ‘high profile’ names, but did find new material on the sojourns in Ireland of Croatian Ustaše Minister for the Interior Andrija Artukovic and of ‘Hitler’s favourite commando’ Otto Skorzeny. Here our contacts with DIFP’s international colleagues, in particular our Swiss colleagues at www.dodis.ch were particularly helpful.
Michael was interviewed for a forthcoming television documentary on the history of aviation in Ireland and by BBC Ulster on Seán Lester for a radio documentary to be broadcast in October. Further details are available here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03d5cnv. In conjunction with our RIA colleagues in the Digital Repository of Ireland we developed plans for RIA involvement in ‘Researchers’ Night’.
As August turned to September Michael participated in the History Ireland Hedge School held at the Electric Picnic music festival at Stradbally, County Laois on the impact of President Kennedy’s 1963 visit to Ireland on modern Ireland - the panel concluding that the visit did much to mark the beginning of celebrity-driven consumer culture in Ireland. A podcast of the Hedge School is available here: http://www.historyireland.com/podcasts-channel/jfk-in-ireland-style-or-substance/. The Hedge School got a specific mention on the front page of the special Irish Times ‘The Ticket’ supplement on Electric Picnic.
Through July we continued working on Embassies Series files, looking at The Hague, Ottawa, Stockholm, Canberra and Berne amongst others for DIFP IX. The search has located a great deal of material showing how Irish diplomats promoted and protected Ireland’s national interests and the interests of Irish citizens overseas.
An article on DIFP VI and VII appeared in thejournal.ie on 21 July and is available here.
Diagram showing President Kennedy's route from Air Force One via the Guard of Honour to the Presidential motorcade bringing him via Dublin city centre to the American Ambassador's residence, Phoenix Park, Dublin, 26 June 1963 (Courtesy of National Archives of Ireland (NAI DT S17401C/63)).
The project's research on the visit of President Kennedy to Ireland became part of the Irish Independent's two-part special supplement which was published on 15 and 17 June. Read Michael's article on the preparations behind the visit here. We also live-tweeted the visit by picking the key moments and some lesser known events of the President's trip to Ireland and tweeted them in real time from 26 to 29 June.
Michael appeared on the Today with Pat Kenny show talking about the diplomacy surrounding the visit which was broadcast live from New Ross on 21 June with Myles Dungan hosting to mark the Kennedy visit anniversary.
As usual June saw the project taking part in a number of academic conferences, including the RIA's own annual international affairs conference, EFACIS (at NUIG) and later in the month at the 1st Delia Murphy Festival held in Claremorris where Michael spoke about folk singer Delia Murphy's husband, Ambassador Thomas J, Kiernan. It was particularly apposite as it was Kiernan who was a key figure in arranging the 1963 Kennedy visit to Ireland. Michael's article on Kiernan, which appeared in the Irish Independent's JFK supplement, is available here.
As Ireland's EU Presidency drew into its final weeks we completed work on the 'Becoming European' exhibition which was launched by Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD on 18 June.
View the exhibition here.
Dr Michael Kennedy (DIFP), Dr Eoin Kinsella (UCD), Minister for the Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD and Ms Catriona Crowe MRIA at the launch of the 'Becoming European' Exhibition, National Museum Collins Barracks, 18 June 2013.
Researching deep into the 50th anniversary of President John F Kennedy's visit to Ireland was a major task for the project through May and June. Despite the wide knowledge of the basic details of the President's June 1963 visit there had been very little examination of the intricate details of protocol, organisation and on the ground security. Through May in addition to the ongoing work on DIFP IX through the archives of various embassies from the 1950s (which is the mainstay of project work through summer 2013) we delved deep into the Kennedy visit in preparation for the June anniversary.
Michael contributed a paper entitled 'Ireland: the Neutral Dominion' to a day workshop on 'The Dominions and the Second World War' (programme available here) held at Kellogg College, Oxford on 4 April by the British Empire at War Research Group. It was a valuable opportunity to bring the work of DIFP to the attention of a specialised British audience researching in areas that are covered in detail in DIFP volumes.
Through March research continued to bring together existing and new research for DIFP IX. Kate undertook a detailed study of the located material dealing with the 1948 repeal of the 1936 External Relations Act and the 1949 Declaration of the republic of Ireland. It is already clear that DIFP IX will be heavily centred around British-Irish relations and partition, two key concerns of Seán MacBride, Minister for External Affairs in the inter-party government of 1948 to 1951.
Through February and March we helped the Embassy of the United States of America by providing background information on the history of the yearly ‘Shamrock Ceremony’ at the White House on St Patrick’s Day. The Embassy were making a video history of the ceremony which features Michael talking about the origins of the ceremony. View the video below.
The project has been heavily involved in a joint venture between the RIA and the National Archives of Ireland to research and produce an exhibition on Ireland's accession to the EEC in 1973 that focuses on European integration as an aspect of Irish foreign policy since 1961. The exhibition will be ready for display at events connected with Ireland's ongoing EU Presidency by April.
On the morning of 6 February Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD visited DIFP as part of coverage for the launch of DIFP VIII was arranged by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with RTE. We were delighted to be able to show the Tánaiste the new DIFP volume, the source material that goes into DIFP volumes and how the project operates. The 6.01 news item on DIFP VIII can be found here.
6 February turned out to be an eventful day and that evening Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Joe Costello hosted a very well attended launch reception for DIFP VIII at Iveagh House. Minister Costello welcomed the publication of the volume, explaining what it revealed about Ireland’s post-1945 foreign policy. PRIA Professor Luke Drury thanked the editors and spoke about the significance of the strong partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the National Archives of Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy which underpins DIFP. On behalf of the editors Michael thanked all involved in the production and publication of DIFP VIII.
PRIA Professor Luke Drury presents Minister of State Joe Costello TD with a copy of DIFP VIII. (l-r) Mr Tim Mawe (DFAT), Minister Costello, Dr Kennedy, Professor Drury
The DIFP editorial team at the launch of DIFP VIII. (l-r) Dr Kate O’Malley, Professor Ronan Fanning, Ms Catriona Crowe, Dr Michael Kennedy, Professor Dermot Keogh, Professor Eunan O’Halpin.
DIFP started off the New Year reviewing the material we had already accumulated for DIFP IX which will cover the intriguing foreign polices of the inter-party government of 1948 to 1951. Kate has undertaken a specific ‘module’ of research on the repeal of the External Relations Act in 1948 and the declaration of the Republic of Ireland in 1949 – actions which saw Ireland leaving the Commonwealth. Michael got together the material on the Marshall Plan and Ireland’s involvement with the Council of Europe – of which Ireland was a founder member in 1949.
Michael was on the RTE Radio One ‘History Show’ on 13 Jan with Myles Dungan talking about post-war Ireland and its narrow refugee policy as well as doing a short interview on the Pat Kenny Show on 16 January about the activities in Ireland from the late-1940s of a number of ex-Nazis including the infamous Otto Skorzeny. Kate and Michael appeared on Newstalk 106’s ‘Talking History’ on 27 January to discuss with Patrick Geoghegan DIFP VIII and to highlight the use DIFP is making of Twitter through its @DIFP_RIA feed.