Ireland: a voice among the nations

by  John GibneyMichael KennedyKate O'Malley
€ 30.00

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

October 2019


Number of pages: 381

ISBN: 9781908997968


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Ireland had a foreign policy and a diplomatic service before there was an internationally recognised independent Irish state. The origins of the modern Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lie in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established as one of the first four government departments of the first Dáil in January 1919. This richly illustrated book is a history of Irish foreign policy, rather than an institutional history of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade itself (though the two obviously go hand in hand). It explores how a small state such as Ireland has related to the wider world, by examining how Irish diplomats and politicians responded to the challenges presented by the upheavals of the twentieth century and how this small European state engaged with the world, from the Versailles peace conference of 1919 to the globalisation of the twenty-first century.

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Listen back to the authors of Ireland: A voice among the nations on Newstalk's 'Talking History' here.

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This is a centenary project of the Royal Irish Academy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the National Archives.


'a useful, succinct and well-written narrative overview of the milestones of foreign policy since 1919. Most strikingly it is a lavish photographic history of the subject. Many of the photographs here have not been published before, and they are evocative, textured and multilayered. Much credit is due to those who foraged for them, collated and captioned them'. Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times, 01/12/2019. Read the full review here.

'Ireland's foreign policy over the past 100 years may seem secondary to how the country has evolved politically, economicaly and culturally, but this book shows how closely they are intertwined... The authors, from the Royal Irish Academy, are not diplomats so they can take a critical approach at times to official decisions, which is welcome... the images add greatly to its value'. Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic, 14/11/2019.

About the authors

John Gibney

John Gibney is assistant editor with the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series. His books include The shadow of a year: the 1641 rebellion in Irish history and memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) and A short history of Ireland, 1500–2000 (Yale University Press, 2017). He is the co-author, with Michael Kennedy and Kate O’Malley, of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019), and, with Kate O’Malley, of The Handover: Dublin Castle and the British withdrawal from Ireland, 1922 (Royal Irish Academy, 2022).


Michael Kennedy

Dr Michael Kennedy has for almost three decades written and published widely on modern Irish history, in particular on Irish military and diplomatic history and on Irish foreign policy. He has been the executive editor of the RIA's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series and head of the DIFP series since 1997. Previously he lectured in Irish and European history at Queen's University, Belfast and received his doctorate from the NUI in 1994 on the early history of Ireland’s relationship with the League of Nations.  Michael appears regularly on television and radio discussing aspects of Irish history ranging from lighthouses to embassies to the history of curry houses in Dublin. Michael is a former member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, a Research Associate of the Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College, Dublin and was a Visiting Professor at Liverpool Hope University from 2009 to 2018. He was also formerly an adjunct Professor of History at University College Dublin. He is the co-author (with John Gibney and Kate O'Malley) of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019), and (with Daniel Ayiotis and John Gibney) of The Emergency: A visual history of the Irish Defence Forces during the Second World War, 1939-1945 (Eastwood, 2019).

Kate O'Malley

Dr Kate O’Malley is Managing Editor of the Royal Irish Academy's Dictionary of Irish Biography (DIB). She was Assistant Editor with the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series from 2005 to 2019. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin (BA, PhD). She has written extensively on Indo-Irish relations and her book Ireland, India and Empire was published by Manchester University Press in 2008. She is co-author (with Michael Kennedy and John Gibney) of Ireland: a voice among the nations (Royal Irish Academy, 2019). Her research interests encompass Irish diplomatic and political history, twentieth century Indian history, British imperial and Commonwealth history and British decolonisation. She is an occasional lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin as well as an Associate of the Centre for Contemporary Irish History. She has also taught at University College Dublin and at Queen's University, Belfast.