This introduction considers the ‘environmental turn’ taken in the humanities, and particularly in historical study, suggesting ways in which these developments might animate the future study of nineteenth-century Ireland. Question of agency and the relationship between human and non-human nature are addressed. Also considered is how current environmental concerns, and climate change in particular, should lead us to think anew about the past, rendering familiar subjects unfamiliar. Particular attention is paid to how Ireland’s past might be located within larger global processes, attracting the interest of scholars from throughout the world. It then introduces the individual contributions in the volume, tracing a narrative thread through them in order to demonstrate how a change in optic can significantly change how we think about Ireland’s recent past.
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