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Justin Dolan Stover Publishes First Book "Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution"

March 9, 2023

Dr. Justin Dolan Stover, Associate Professor in the Department of History, recently published his first book, Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution. In it, Stover reveals the story of the nature, scope and embodiment of destruction in Ireland during the revolutionary period.

It shows how Irish environments – rural, urban, natural and built-up – were understood, altered and damaged throughout this formative time. He explores the devastating effects of the 1916 Easter Rising, including sensory responses to war and destruction. 

Moreover, this book is about the widespread, often banal landscape manipulation from which the Irish Republican Army’s guerrilla war proceeded against British Crown forces. It observes the social displacement that resulted from the Crown forces’ destruction of homes and businesses, and how the Irish newspaper media and international bodies sympathetic to the Irish cause aligned this destruction to existing Great War atrocity narratives. 

A country-wide study, Enduring Ruin examines aspects of the political revolution and military conflict through an environmental lens and attempts to center the historical narrative on the landscapes that hosted violence. This book represents the first environmental history of the revolutionary period in Ireland and in doing so incorporates the roles animals, earth, water, trees, weather, and man-made infrastructure played in directing and absorbing revolutionary violence. Stover traces the militarization of private and public spaces, and how the destruction of monuments renegotiated Ireland’s civic spaces and colonial legacy. 

Furthermore, he considers Crown force reprisals, agrarian disputes, and sectarian division as amplifying Ireland’s contested spaces, where environmental damage occurred in the vacuum of public order. Ireland’s decade of commemoration (2013-2023) presents the opportunity to challenge traditional narratives and examine Ireland’s revolutionary experience afresh. As such, this book re-evaluates conventional interpretations and introduces new arguments; in doing so, it pioneers a new phase in the study of the Irish Revolution.

Enduring Ruin: Environmental Destruction during the Irish Revolution is published by University College Dublin Press, and available at https://www.ucdpress.ie/display.asp?isbn=9781910820834&


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