Tim Patrick Coogan

1935- [fam. Tim Pat]; b. 22 April, 1935; son of Beatrice and Edward [“Ned”; var. Eamonn Ó Cuagain], a former Irish Volunteer from Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, member of the IRA during the War of Independence, and later the first Deputy Commissioner of the Gardaí, and a friend of Liam O’Flaherty; brought up in Monkstown, Co. Dublin; educ. Christian Brothers, Monkstown, Belvedere College, and Blackrock College; became an Irish journalist and commentator; acted as editor of The Irish Press, 1968-87 - where his enthusiasm was instrumental in setting up “Irish Writing” page in The Irish Press (ed. by David Marcus, q.v.); he was dismissed after 20 years service following his editorial attack on Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach; issued Ireland Since the Rising [London 1966], The IRA (1970), and On the Blanket: The H-Block Story (1980); formed relationship with Barbara Hayley, the English-born holder of the English chair at Maynooth, 1985, and suffered her death in a car accident, 1991;
issued Disillusioned Decades: Ireland 1966-87 (1987); an adulatory Michael Collins (1990), and a study of Eamon de Valera criticising his collusion with the Catholic hierarchy and his autocrat control (De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow, 1993); also The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal 1966-1995 (1995); he gave the inaugural lecture at Bloody Sunday Commemoration, Derry, 1997; his publisher was required to pay sum in excess of £20,000 for libellous remarks on the [so-called] ‘revisionist’ historian and biographer of Patrick Pearse Ruth Dudley Edwards in Wherever Green is Worn (2000), a study of the Irish worldwide, Feb. 2001; underwent a cataract operation, 2008; issued Memoir (2008); issued The Famine Plot, 2012) and was refused a US visa for planned publicity tour, Nov. 2012 - later granted after interventions by Hilary Clinton and others; he has six children with his [former] wife Cherry. DIW FDA

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  • Ireland Since the Rising (London: Pall Mall Press 1966), xii, 355 pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press 1976), xii, 355pp. [2]pp. pls + ports.;
  • The IRA (London 1970; Fontana 1971 [2nd edn.]), 447 p., 8 pls. + port.; Do. [rev. & expanded.] (1980, 1987); and Do. [rep. edns. 1987, 1995 [4th edn.]), and Do. [rev. edn.] (London: HarperCollins 2000), xxii, 808pp. + 32pp pls.;
  • The Irish: A Personal View (London: Phaidon Press 1975), 232pp.;
  • On the Blanket: The H-Block Story (London: Ward River 1980);
  • Disillusioned Decades: Ireland 1966-87 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan 1987), 256pp.;
  • Michael Collins (London: Hutchinson 1990), 480pp., ill.; another edn. as] Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland (Boulder, Col.: Roberts Rinehart, 1996);
  • De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow (London: Hutchinson 1993), 704pp. [in US as Eamon de Valera: The Man Who Was Ireland (NY: Harpercollins 1995, xii, 772pp.;
  • The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal 1966-1995 and the Search for Peace (London: Hutchinson 1995), 460pp.; Do. (NY: Rinehart 1996), 472pp.;
  • Introduction to Richard Brown, I am of Ireland [1st edn.1974] (London: Roberts Rinehart 1995);
  • ed., Ireland and the Arts [Literary Review Special Issue] (London: Namara Press 1984; 1986) [see contents];
  • with George Morrison, The Irish Civil War (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1998), 287pp.;
  • Wherever Green is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora (London: Hutchinson 2000), 746pp., and Do. [rev. edn.] (London: Arrow 2001), xxii, 746pp., [16]pp. pls., ills. & maps.;
  • The Easter Rising (London: Cassell 2001), 192pp., ill.;
  • Memoir (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2004, 2008), q.pp.
  • Ireland in the Twentieth Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2008), xv, 862pp.
  • The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy (NY: Palgrave Macmillan 2012), xi 276pp. [Nov.]

incls. foreword to Michael Collins, The Path to Freedom (Welsh Academic Press 1996), xx, 133pp.; review of Gerry Adams, The Irish Voice (1997), in The Irish Times (25 Nov. 1997).

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Bibliographical details

Ireland and the Arts, ed. T. P. Coogan [Special Issue of Literary Review] (London: Namara Press 1984; 1986) [another edn. Quartet Press]
General Introduction - Tim Pat Coogan
The Golden Ages of Ireland - Peter Harbison
Art - Máire de Paor
Religion in Ireland - T. P. O’Mahoney
A Glorious Manuscript - Dr. G. O. Simms
The Artist and the Troubles - Seamus Deane
“Francis Stuart and St Peter: A Dialogue” - Carlo Gebler
Extracts from a Sporadic Diary - Brian Friel
Place Names: The Place - John Banville
Ned McKeon’s Two Doors: A Prefatory Note on the Novel in Ireland - Benedict Kiely
The Ones that Got Away - Frank Delaney
The Irish Short Story’s Last Hurrah? - David Marcus
Women, Writing and Ireland Now - Nuala O’Failain [sic for O’Faolain]

A Ballad - John McGabern
The Break - Bernard MacLaverty
POETRY 114  
The Despair of Whales; When the Game Is Over; Folk; The field of Cries - Brendan Kennelly
Invocation to the Voodoo Queen; Lenten Love; Devotional; Black Mary; Complaint to the Goddess - Kevin T. McEneaney
Yesterday Christopher Fitz-Simon
Today: Contemporary Irish Theatre – The Illusion of Tradition - Fintan O’Toole
Irish Language - Tim Pat Coogan
A Repossession - Michael Davitt
Writing on an Island - Dara O’Conaola
Sweeney Astray - Seamus Heaney
The Mirror - Paul Muldoon
Hearts of Oak; Third Draft of a Dream - Michael Davitt
Childhood Portrait - Liam O’Muirthile
Diver - Gabriel Rosenstock
A Guide to Lesser Iliads - Sean Quinlan 164
The Traditional Music Scene in Ireland - Breandán Breathnach
Classical - John O’Donovan
The Irish Rock Scene - Gerry Stevenson
The Irish Renaissance and the Visual Arts - Bruce Arnold
A Matrix of Contemporary Irish Visual Art - Gordon Lambert
The National Gallery of Ireland - Holman Potterton
Irish Building - Maurice Craig
Georgian Dublin: A Future - Harold Clarke

Aspects of Irish Applied Art in the Eighteenth Century - Mairead Reynolds
Contemporary Crafts - Justin Keating
Publishing in Ireland Today - Liam Miller


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Euan O’Halpin writes a scathing review of Coogan’s celebration of republican heroics in The Troubles (Hutchinson 1995); Eileen Battersby, interview with T. P. Coogan, The Irish Times, 1 & 2 Jan. 1997, p.13; John Horgan, review of The Troubles, in The Irish Times, 23 Oct. 1995. See also Tim Pat Coogan, ‘The Diaspora - with the Heroics’, in Books Ireland (Oct. 2000), pp.261, 264.

Reports from Irish Independent    
[N. auth.,] ‘Historian and political commentator Dr Ruth Dudley Edwards has been awarded £25,000 and a public apology by the High Court in London against historian Tim Pat Coogan for references to her in his book Wherever Green is Worn: the Story of the Irish Diaspora.’, in Irish Independent (17 Dec. 2000).  
Jerome Reilly [interview], ‘I wanted to jump out the window, but wept on the floor until morning’: Tim Pat Coogan’s grief at the death of his lover’, Memoir reveals heartbreak and “dark night of the soul” after woman was snatched away in accident, writes in Irish Independent (21.09.2008)
Mary Kenny, ‘So much to argue with in Tim Pat's glorious memoir’, review of A Memoir, in The Independent, 4 Sept. 2008) [see extract]  

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Eileen Battersby, interview, Irish Times, 1 & 2 Jan. 1997, p.13 [‘News Feature’], largely deals with his time on the Irish Press, quoting: ‘It was like being part of a village, it was a community, and my colleagues were my society. Its end was like the death of a village.’

David Fitzpatrick, reviewing Tim Pat Coogan, Wherever Green is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora (Hutchinson 2001), in Times Literary Supplement [Irish issue], 29 June 2001, p.10, writes, ‘a trenchant biographer and retired newspaper editor with a sharp eye scarred by blind spots … though always readable, often perceptive and waywardly erudite, Coogan’s “story” is a rambling string of cameos and anecdotes rather than a historical synthesis.; profound ignorance of Protestant Ulster and unabashed repugnance for its culture and politics.’; quotes Coogan: “One day, demogprhapic forces, the sheer energy of the Celts, which we have observed in the preceeding pages, will subsume the present Unionist majority.” (TLS, p.20.)

The Irish Times (Report on the Humbert School): Tim Pat Coogan, former Irish Press editor criticised The Irish Times, which he described as ‘fat, self-opinionated and conscious of its own self-importance’; said Irish media were at the stage of working out two forms of colonialism, “Mother England and Mother Church”, and he believed the advent of the Irish Examiner on the national stage “breaks up the national consensus”; remarks on the tribunals: ‘the mills of God grind slowly but they do grind’; six of 10 newspapers in Ireland were printed in England; criticised soft-pedalling of its approach to the unionist community; Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act ‘let us down’ and the best coverage of N. Ireland was by English papers; asserts that a hidden Ireland of political activists is going on under the politicians noses. (Irish Times, 25 Aug. 2001, p.6.)

Mary Kenny, ‘[...] He taught the academics a thing or two (as he points out in this memoir) by showing them how to employ journalistic techniques in the furtherance of historical research: that is, where there are living veterans of turbulent times, don't just confine your research to the archives - go out and interview them. The living interviews become, in themselves, an archive. [...] Tim Pat is a world authority on Northern Ireland, and greatly respected for his intimate knowledge of, and involvement with, the Peace Process: more power to his elbow. But we have got to go forward respecting the tradition of the two cultures - even Gerry Adams admits that - and not dwell in this fairytale version of history that all would have been well if the Brits hadn’t egged on the Orangemen. [...] The whole ensemble is a rich and glorious pot-pourri of Irish life and experiences over the 20th century, with which you can identify, empathise, and argue in equal measure, evocatively illustrated by photographs -- of which the most exquisite and compelling is the adorable author himself, aged four, as a smiling and confident Little Lord Fauntleroy.’ (See full article at Irish Independent - online.)

[Shirley Kelly,] ‘Tim Pat Cultivates His Gardens’, interview-article in Books Ireland (Nov. 2008): son of Edward Coogan, a civil-war Republican [sic], instrumental in setting up Irish police force and later deputy Garda commissioner, afterwards dismissed for alcohol-related incidents; became a barrister and elected Fine Gael councillor on Dun Laoghaire Corporation; lived at Tudor Hall, Monkstown; with wife Beatrice, entertained lavishly; tipped for interparty cabinet; died of renal failure at 52, 1947; Tim Pat ed. at Blackrock College; worked as ed. asst. Evening Press, 1954 following a call from his history teacher to Vivion de Valera; editor at 32; resigned in 1987 over de Valera’s ‘near pathological obsession with retaining control of the group’; issued Ireland since the Rising (1966); On the Blanket: The H-Block Story (1980); Michael Collins (1990); Eamon de Valera (1993); Wherever Green is Worn (2000); he liaised with Alex Reid, Redemptorist priest in Nothern Ireland, and instrumental in bringing Gerry Adams to negotiations; worked with Jean Kennedy Smith (US Ambassador, 1993-98) to encourage US involvement; ‘unrepentent, unapologetic Irish nationalist’; ‘I believe the only solution to the troubles in the long run is a united Ireland. Having said that, if I were in Michael Collins’ boots I too would have signed the treaty. That was the only option at the time. [...]’; worried about the North: ‘the rhetoric is getting harder on both sides. But I don’t thing anyone wants to revisit the misery of the troubles’; m. Cherry, with whom six children; met Barbara Hayley in 1985, at launch of Ben Kiely’s Nothing Happens in Carmincross; her death in 1991, made known to him when he had just arrived in California for a speaking engagement; lives at Eventually, Dalkey; 12 grand-children; gardens.

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Moving the Goalposts’ [ interview article], in The Irish-Australian Newspaper (Nov. 1996), on Northern Ireland: ‘I would prefer not to see people being killed. Armed struggle is a euphemism for causing death, destruction and maiming people, obviously we don’t want that. But I think Ms. Doyle’s party has been one of the culpable ones in this position we have got into because her party have shown notable want of empathy with the situation. They have lost the confidence of the republicans, they have been publicly criticised by Gerry Adams as recently as last week. John Bruton is a very honourable man but he doesn’t seem to have any grasp of the northern situation. It is very easy to make Dublin 4 comments with a middle class background but I think it is utterly wrong, you must get involved. As Burke said so truly, for evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing, or good women. If that is the view of her party, I would fear for the peace process because they are the government in power at the moment.’ [Cont.]

Moving the Goalposts’ (1996) - cont.: ‘People in Dublin who have got their freedom, the people who were the forerunners of Ms Doyle’s party, which was Michael Collins party, they got their freedom by the same methods that the IRA is using today. The challenge is to get the results that Collins got without using those methods and you will not do that by not getting involved’; ‘Well, partition worked, the two states developed separately and the Republic got into the EEC and Paudeen did not fumble in a greasy till, as Yeats’s phrase has it, he rode in some luxury on a gravy train. He didn’t want to know about the noises off, threatening this prosperity and the same policy was adopted towards emigration, ignore it, it will solve itself. There was no will anyway, no fire in the belly.’

Moving the Goalposts’ (1996) - cont.: ‘There is no supremacy in the Irish Republic, there is no demand to take over, the supremacy in Ireland exists only in the Unionist psyche. The three components of unionism are British heritage, Protestantism and supremacy. British heritage and Protestantism they should have, a man is entitled to his heritage, but supremacy they cannot have, no more than the Boers can in South Africa. A new Ireland should evolve with some sort of parliament in the North, an over-arching council of Ireland or some such body to ensure that it works, so that Dublin can have an input, and you can have another council, an east-west one, between the North of Ireland and Westminster to give them their heritage but they have got to recognise the Irish dimension and they have got to recognise what statistics are telling them: 43.9 per cent of the population are now Catholic. The old balance of two thirds Protestant to one third Catholic does not apply.’

Moving the Goalposts’ (1996) - cont.: ‘There is a sort of colonial cringe, what we call the Pale mentality in Ireland, that you must not say anything bad about the imperialists. It is crazy, how can you learn from experience, how can you create a cure for disease if you pretend it doesn’t exist? I was chosen to give the centenary oration of Michael Collins’ birth at Béal na Bláth. I said then that some Irish revisionists would like to describe the famine, if they could get away with it, as not a famine but as an Irish 19th century precursor of the Scarsdale diet.’

Moving the Goalposts’ (1996) - cont.: ‘Academics, especially historians, also like to play the revisionist game. They are very into this revisionist thing because history is viewed not as history but a famine, when they are talking to their recruits, then the revisionists say we don’t remember the famine and that leads people to ludicrous positions like viewing the famine as just another part of our shared history with Britain. The other thing is the academics are in a world where the English are still very strong in the academic circuit and in publishing. The acceptable, airbrushed, sanitised view of history is propounded on both sides of the Atlantic.’

Moving the Goalposts’ (1996) - cont.: ‘The truth is at independence we took over a farm and Guinness’ brewery, the heavy duty industry was all in the north east. That has all changed now, with the collapse of shipbuilding and the smoke stack industries. The educational revolution too has a lot to do with the modern prosperity and modern attitudes. Today young Irish people are more educated than their British counterparts, although that is something the British have yet to accept. (forwarded to Irish Studies List, Virginia, by Suzanna Hicks.)

Humbert School: Tim Pat Coogan, former Irish Press editor, criticised The Irish Times, describing it as ‘fat, self-opinionated and conscious of its own self-importance’; said Irish media were at the stage of working out two forms of colonialism, “Mother England and Mother Church”, and he believed the advent of the Irish Examiner on the national stage “breaks up the national consensus”; on the tribunals: ‘the mills of God grind slowly but they do grind’; six of 10 newspapers in Ireland were printedin England; criticised soft-pedelling of its approach to the unionist community; Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act ‘let us down’ and the best coverage of N. Ireland was by English papers; asserts that a hidden Ireland of political activists is going on under the politicians noses. (Irish Times, summer school report, 25 Aug. 2001, p.6.)

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Casus belli
: see Coogan’s remarks about Ruth Dudley Edwards in Wherever Green is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora (2000): To the Nationalist, the journalist, and Unionist apologist, Ruth Dudley Edwards, is the archetypal Dublin Four type describes herself as British and Irish fall [174]; speaks of tensions in BAIS and alleges that Ruth Dudley Edwards vetoed Mary McAleese as a conference speaker [175], gives account of her support of Seán O’Callaghan and her opposition to IRA bona fides; ‘spectacularly wrong about the IRA’s commitment to a second ceasefire’ [pp.176-7]. The book also contains an account of the San Patricios [609].

See Irish Independent report of High Court case (17.12.2000): ‘The book alleged that she had “grovelled to and hypocritically ingratiated herself with the English establishment to further her writing career”, that she had abused the position of chairwoman of the British Association for Irish Studies (BAIS) by trying to impose her political views on it, and that as a result the association became financially unstable. It also alleged that Dr Dudley Edwards had been commissioned by the BBC to write a book, True Brits, because of political favouritism rather than her ability or impartiality.’. / In court last week, Mr Coogan and his publishers, Random House, withdrew all the allegations and issued a complete apology to Dr Dudley Edwards. / They also agreed to insert an erratum slip into all copies of the book to which they have access, stating that there are “factual errors in the references to historian and writer Dr Ruth Dudley Edwards on pages 174 to 178 of this book”, and withdrawing each one. It ends: “We apologise unreservedly to Dr Ruth Dudley Edwards for the errors in this edition ... all future imprints and editions of the book will exclude these pages. Likewise, we will provide a substitute copy of the revised book to any library that requests it.” / Dr Dudley Edwards was delighted with the judgment. “I put six years of my life into being chairman of the BAIS at great personal cost. I was a freelance writer but I did it because I was passionate about raising the profile of the Irish of Britain in a positive way,“ she said. “I am used to Tim Pat Coogan’s attacks on me in his journalism, which I take in good humour. This, however, I could not let go by.’ (Available online; accessed 05.01.2015.)

The Famine Plot (2102) - publisher’s notice: ‘The definitive book on the Great Famine from Ireland's greatest historian, combining the latest research and fresh insights. The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland. Between 1845 and 1852 the island’s population dropped by 2.5 million-a full quarter of its citizens - and its legacy continues to be felt. For both the native Irish and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory and became a rallying point for nationalist movements for decades. This is a fascinating and sobering look at a dark period of global history, as well as the ramifications of the “famine mentality” that continues to haunt Ireland to this day.’ (Available at COPAC - online.)