About Documents on Irish Foreign Policy
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) is a public history research programme for the study of modern Irish history through diplomacy. DIFP aims to make the history of Irish foreign policy accessible to all and promotes public engagement with the history of Ireland’s international relations. DIFP is a partnership programme of the Royal Irish Academy, the National Archives, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) was established as a partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Irish Academy and the National Archives. This followed on from a commitment in the 1996 White Paper on Irish foreign policy, Challenges and opportunities abroad, to publish 'a series of foreign policy documents of historic interest' in order to 'encourage and assist greater academic interest in the study of Irish foreign policy'.
Since its establishment in 1997 DIFP has published thirteen hard copy volumes of documents, covering discrete periods from 1919 to 1969. The published documents are primarily selected from the Department of Foreign Affairs collection retained in the National Archives, along with the archives of other government departments and the papers of relevant individuals retained in other repositories.
DIFP volumes are published on a biennial basis, with the most recent in the series, volume XIII (1965-69), published in December 2022.
In addition, the documents published in volumes I to IX (1919-51) are freely available online at www.difp.ie. Further volumes will be added as the series progresses.
DIFP maintains a strong public profile nationally and internationally. Alongside the series of documents that form the core of the programme, DIFP has developed a number of ancillary projects in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Archives, including exhibitions on Ireland's accession to the European Union and membership of the United Nations; an online exhibition on Ireland's international sovereignty from 1919 to 1949 (in partnership with UCD Archives); Ireland: A voice among the nations, an illustrated history of Irish foreign policy since 1919; and most recently the exhibition Into Europe: Ireland & the EU, 1973-2023, marking 50 years of Irish membership of the EEC/EU. DIFP also played a central role as a partner in developing and co-curating the National Archives' landmark centenary exhibition The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives.
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Reviews of the DIFP series:
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume I (1919-1922)
‘The excitement and the desperation of the crucial years at the beginning of the State , as well as the ingenuity and determination of her civil servants, have never been clearer…the handbook of all serious students of the period in the future…fascinating reading for the general public and contains many an eye-opener.’
Tom Garvin, Irish Times (17 October 1999)
‘A striking feature of this volume is the amount of Foreign Affairs documentation that has survived from the years before the foundation of the State.’
Garret FitzGerald, Irish Times (23 January 1999)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume II (1923 – 1926)
‘A marvelous compilation, compulsory reading for any student of Irish political development…the series is in itself a major Irish intellectual landmark.’
Tom Garvin, Irish Times (16 December 2000)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume III (1926-1933)
‘An invaluable record of Ireland’s developing foreign policy…[an] amazing range of documents from the…intensely political to the highly personal…Volume III maintains impeccable standards set by its predecessors.’
Stephen Collins, Sunday Tribune (12 January 2003)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume IV (1932 – 1936)
‘An eyewitness account of Hitler’s rise to power, contained in a series of dispatches sent back to Dublin by an Irish diplomat based in Berlin, is just one of the gems contained in the latest series of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy.’
Stephen Collins, Sunday Tribune (14 November 2004)
‘Compelling reading…[an] outstanding series…new documents shed valuable light on the official Irish attitude to Britain, and to Nazi Germany.’
John Bowman, Magill (March/April 2005)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume V (1937 – 1939)
‘Expertly edited and reader friendly (useful biographical notes, a good index and excellent layout of contents), this volume is a primary source which conveys a great sense of immediacy of events and people. It is indispensable for all students of the period.’
John A. Murphy, Sunday Independent (3 December 2006)
‘Every two years the Royal Irish Academy publishes the latest volume in the series Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. This piece of work is beyond praise. It gives an authentic flavour if the development of the Irish State's foreign policy from the beginning…The documents are admirable in style and compilation. They even show a literary sense and a sense of drama.’
James Downey, Irish Independent (31 March 2007)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume VI (1939 – 1941)
‘Reports from the diplomatic front line on a world turned upside down.’
Deirdre McMahon, Irish Times (2 December 2008)
‘A compelling narrative…a page-turner, leaving the reader eager for the sequel... one longs for Volume VII.’
Mary Kenny, Times Literary Supplement (26 June 2009)
‘The latest volume has taken us from 1939 to the cruel January of 1941, and what a cracker it is. Dry prose, maybe, but here are the secret reports of the only English-language country to have its diplomats based across Europe throughout the war, not only in Vichy France but in the very heart of Nazi Germany…there are nuggets in these records which capture the dangerous reality of war.’
Robert Fisk, Independent (4 December 2010)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume VII (1941 – 1945)
‘A volume packed with fascinating material... The reader's enjoyment of this volume is enhanced by the high professional level of editing, the enlightening introduction, potted biographies of the personalities involved, informative footnotes and a comprehensive index. The series is an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of the State's historical development.’
John A. Murphy, Irish Independent (9 January 2011)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume VIII (1945 – 1948)
‘Scrupulously edited, with clear, concise introductory essays, the series is an exemplary collaborative project between the Royal Irish Academy, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Archives of Ireland…[an] altogether admirable series.’
Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Irish Times (23 March 2013)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume X (1951 – 1957)
'Impeccably edited, [...] the texts are laced with the sort of details that constantly surprise and inform the reader'.
John Bowman, Irish Times (3 December 2016)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume XI (1957 – 1961)
'Volume eleven of the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series contains plenty of material that could have been written today. The files are from 1957-61, the period leading up to Ireland’s first tilt at joining the six-member European Economic Community in 1961. Anxiety on the island of Ireland over the implications of changing UK-Brussels relations are strikingly - some might say depressingly - familiar'.
Colm Ó Mongáin, RTE News Online (12 November 2018)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume XII (1961 – 1965)
'[A] triumph of Irish historical publishing...The series has a public and media impact greater than that of comparable publications elsewhere. Furthermore, in helping to illustrate the personalities and styles of leading figures in the history of the state, it makes a scholarly contribution beyond the field of foreign policy'.
Rory Montgomery, Dublin Review of Books (January 2021)
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Volume XIII (1965 – 1969)
'One of the pleasures of this volume, as of other recent volumes which have moved into the period of living memory, is to note the ways in which the Ireland of then was very different from that of today.'
Rory Montgomery, Dublin Review of Books (February 2023)