E Estyn Evans

Emyr Estyn Evans has had a profound impact on historical thought in Ireland

Although born in Shrewsbury, Emyr Estyn Evans has had a profound impact on historical thought in Ireland.

Arriving in 1928 to assume a lectureship at Queen’s University, Evans was charged with the building of the new department of geography.

Later, Evans was to create the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and was the founding director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s.

A prolific publisher, his most renowned works are Irish Folk Ways (1957), The Irishness of the Irish (1967), and Ulster: The Common Ground (1984).

Evans was known for combining his discipline of geography with an historical sensibility, campaigning for a wider perspective and the realisation that archaeology can show us common bonds in our cultural make up.

This approach, influenced by the French annalles school, has yet to come to fruition. Physical environment and archaeological heritage is as important as the various political happenings of the last 300 years, but these factors have generally been ignored by the historical establishment.

Evans was keen to demonstrate how we have been shaped by the land in which we live, and to stress that the history that we see as important is merely a blip in the wider timeline of Irish history.

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