2 minutes with… Dermot Meleady


Happy Dublin Book Festival Week! For our final 2 Minutes with Interview of the #DBF23 series we are excited to talk with Dermot Meleady about the relationship between history and media, and how that has changed since 1914. Dermot will be participating in the Shifting Sentiment: Media Influence on Public Opinion event on Sunday 12th of November at 3pm in the RDS Library.

What sparked your love of history?

The awareness that it is impossible to understand events of the present without a study of the past. Understanding where we have come from is key to understanding our present state.

Your book focuses on the period between the Home Rule crisis of 1914 to the years of the Civil War in 1922-23. What made you choose this particular period of time to explore?

I had previously written a two-part biography of the important Home Rule leader John Redmond, successor to Charles Stewart Parnell as leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party in Ireland and at Westminster. The period 1914-23 contained the climactic events that overthrew Redmond’s leadership and ended his career both politically and personally. I therefore already had a fairly detailed knowledge of the period.

What kind of effects from the media coverage of then still resonate and can be seen in our modern day?

The tradition of fair reporting, in my opinion the essence of good journalism based on the separation of fact from opinion, was a feature of most Irish newspapers in the early twentieth century. It has struggled to survive in recent decades as journalists have increasingly turned into activists, intruding their own (often unconscious) biases into their writing.

What other Dublin Book Festival events are you looking forward to? 

I’m looking forward to Pat Liddy’s talk ‘A History of Ireland in Maps’ – sounds very interesting! I’m also attracted to Pat’s Literary Walking Tour on Saturday.


Be sure to book your tickets HERE to hear more of Dermot Meleady’s thoughts on the effects of media on public opinion throughout history, where he will be in conversation with Eileen Culloty, Jade Wilson and Donal Fallon.