Speaker: Terence Dooley. Synopsis: First established in 1881, the Irish Land Commission began as a regulator of fair rents, but soon evolved into the great facilitator of land transfer. However, over emphasis on these aspects of its work can sometimes camouflage its equal significance as the main instigator and architect of rural reform. Dissolved for thirty years, its archives have not yet been opened to the research public. The denial of full access to the Land Commission archives prevents the writing of the definitive history of modern Ireland in all its dimensions - social, economic, political, and cultural - as the country evolved from British colony to statehood and beyond. This paper examines what the Land Commission archive contains, and makes an argument for the opening of its records to the research public.
Biography: Prof Terence Dooley lectures in history at Maynooth University, where he is also Director of the Centre for theStudy of Historic Irish Houses and Estates.In 2022 he published a book on the Irish country house in war and revolution.