Irish Civil War Insights: A Night to Remember

Pictured Above: Diarmaid Ferrite.r Photo Credit: Contributed.



Princeton, NJ – Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies opens its 2023-2024 series with “Faith, Reason and Betrayal: The Irish Civil War,” a lecture by Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin. Visiting Leonard L. Milberg ’52 Professor in Irish Letters Fintan O’Toole will introduce the lecture, which will take place September 15 at 4:30 p.m. at the James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

On the occasion of the centenary of the end of the Irish Civil War, Ferriter’s lecture will assess the nature, impact and legacy of the war, with a particular emphasis on the light shed by recently released archival material on the lives that were fractured as a result of the conflict. The talk draws from his 2021 publication, Between Two Hells: The Irish Civil War, which The Irish Times calls “Absorbing … A fascinating exploration of the Civil War and its impact on Ireland and Irish politics.”

Ferriter is one of Ireland’s best-known historians. He is full professor and chair of modern Irish history at University College Dublin and author of numerous books, including The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000 (2004), Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland (2009), Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s (2012), The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics (2019) and Between Two Hells: The Irish Civil War (2021). He is a regular television and radio broadcaster and a weekly columnist with The Irish Times. In 2019 he was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

O’Toole’s books on politics include the recent best sellers We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland and Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain. His books on theater include works on William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Thomas Murphy. He regularly contributes to The New York Review of BooksThe New Yorker, GrantaThe GuardianThe Observer, and other international publications. In 2011, The Observer named O’Toole one of “Britain’s top 300 intellectuals.” He has received the A.T. Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism, the Millennium Social Inclusion Award, Journalist of the Year in 2010, the Orwell Prize, and the European Press Prize. O’Toole’s History of Ireland in 100 Objects, which covers 100 highly charged artifacts from the last 10,000 years, is currently the basis for Ireland’s postage stampsHe has recently been appointed official biographer of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney. In 2023, O’Toole was named an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Fund for Irish Studies is chaired this year by O’Toole and affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.” The lecture series is co-produced by the Lewis Center for the Arts.

The Fund for Irish Studies website lists more information about the lecture series. Additional events scheduled for the fall include:


  • Barry McCrea (University of Notre Dame) gives a lecture on October 27
  • Louise Kennedy (author of the bestseller Trespasses) reads from her work on November 10
  • Caoilinn Hughes (author of The Wild Laughter) reads from her work on December 1


The Fund for Irish Studies is generously sponsored by the Durkin Family Trust and the James J. Kerrigan Jr. ’45 and Margaret M. Kerrigan Fund for Irish Studies.

The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. The theater is an accessible venue, and guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

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