100 Years of Studies

Studies was launched in March 1912. It was, and still is, published by the Jesuits. A catholic intent was signalled by its subtitle: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy and Science.  

The stated object of Studies, set out in a foreword to the first issue, was to ‘give publicity to work of a scholarly type, extending over many important branches of study, and appealing to a wider circle of cultured readers than strictly specialist journals could be expected to reach’. Specifically, it sought to address: general modern literature, comprising both critical and original work; Celtic, classical and oriental subjects; historical questions that have some bearing on modern issues affecting religious and social interests; philosophy, sociology and education; and the experimental and observational sciences.

Studies was initially conceived of as a review for University College Dublin, control of which was handed over by the Society of Jesus to the National University of Ireland in 1909. The Jesuits stayed on in academic posts and remained influential. Timothy Corcoran S.J., the first short-lived editor, was Professor of Education at UCD. Corcoran was unofficial leader of the Sinn Fein caucus at the university. He was close to de Valera, he was a mentor to the future Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and, later, he was also involved in the Catholic Bulletin. Corcoran was described in a 1943 obituary as ‘the master-builder after independence of the Primary and Secondary curricula’. He was quickly succeeded by Thomas Finlay S.J. Finlay went on to become UCD Professor of Political Economy.

The third editor, Patrick Connolly S.J., remained in post from 1914 to 1950.  Finlay’s protégé and successor at UCD, George O’Brien, published 26 articles in Studies from 1923. O’Brien literally and metaphorically brought John Maynard Keynes to Ireland. In 1932 he invited Keynes to give the first memorial lecture at UCD in the presence of de Valera and his Cabinet.

A further member of the original editorial board, Alfred O’Rahilly, Professor of Mathematics and later President of University College Cork, left the Jesuits but contributed 37 articles between 1912 and 1961. The most prolific contributor to Studies, Michael Tierney, Professor of Greek, TD, Senator, and later President of University College Dublin, published 55 articles between 1922 and 1953.

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