ATQ Stewart

One of the most distinguished historians of the last 30 years.

Born into a long line of Belfast bakers, ATQ Stewart is one of the most distinguished historians to emerge in the last 30 years.

Stewart is known primarily for his work on the first incarnation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, published in 1969 as The Ulster Crisis.  

A lecturer at Queen’s, Stewart has been responsible for reclaiming the role of the Presbyterians in Irish history. His major works, A Deeper Silence (1993) and The Narrow Ground (1977), were important factors in guiding Irish historical study towards a wider understanding of the rich cultural map of Northern Ireland.

By looking in detail at the roots of eighteenth century republicanism, Stewart was able to show that northern Presbyterians played a substantial role in creating the political template that we experience today.

Influenced by international historians including JC Beckett, Stewart has championed the return of an artistic sense to historical writing alongside the removal of the quasi-scientific movements of the last 150 years.

Stewart’s writing has been dogged by controversy, even at one time being lauded by the Rev Ian Paisley. His writing is, however, infused with a passion for Ireland that demands attention and close reading. His latest book, the valedictory The Shape of Irish History (2001), admits that many holes exist in Irish historical studies, and contains a call for Irish historians to throw off the blanket of parochialism and allow new, refreshing analyses to shape their work in the future.