|Owner(s)||Independent News & Media|
|Founded||26 November 1902|
|Political alignment||Family values|
Ireland's Own is a family magazine published weekly in Ireland. It specialises in lightweight content, traditional stories, and uncontroversial family content, including puzzles and recipes. It was launched in 26 November 1902 by John M. Walshe of People Newspapers, and originally cost just 1d.
For the first half of 2007, the magazine had an average circulation of 40,905, according to the Audited Bureau of Circulations. The People Newspaper Group (which also included the Wicklow People, the Wexford People and the Waterford People) is now owned by the Irish media giant Independent News and Media.
The magazine was designed to offer "wholesome Irish Catholic fare" to challenge the appearance of British newspapers in Ireland like the News of the World (which were denounced as "scandal-sheets" that lowered the moral tone of late 19th century/early 20th century Ireland. The magazine's appearance coincided with a broad stressing of Irish identity as a reaction to British imports. Among the other examples were the creation of the Gaelic Athletic Association to promote Gaelic games and to halt the growth of soccer and rugby (1880s), the appearance of the Gaelic League to promote the Irish language (1893), and the growth in the Irish-Ireland movement reflected in the creation of the Abbey Theatre to promote Irish arts (1904) and the creation by Arthur Griffith in 1904 of Cumann na nGaedheal to protest at the visit of King George V and his queen, Mary of Teck.
Ireland's Own saw its role as projecting an image of Ireland free from "alien" influence, hence a content free from anything perceived as "scandalous" or "anti-Catholic". A critic described such magazines as offering "a formula for 'healthy fireside reading' combining patriotism, pietism and national news with a minimum of foreign coverage or intellectual speculation." The concept of such a magazine is traced back to the series of pietistic family magazines launched by James Duffy in the mid 19th century.
Its current editor, Phil Murphy, on the occasion of its centenary, described it with the words
- 'Ireland's Own and contention are complete strangers to each other – and that would be a deliberate policy. It's not 'Dublin 4' and trendy 'liberalism' and that aspect of Ireland, which is pretty shallow and skin deep anyway. We're slightly old-fashioned in our ways, for which we make no apologies. We attract a lot of our readership from people who probably have a yearning for what they consider to be the 'good old days, when things were better' as they see them. We do not take a hard-faced attitude towards our journalism or our magazine. We accept the fact that people do have a yearning for the old days, and nostalgia is a significant part of the magazine.'
Criticised as old fashioned
In terms of overall design and content, Ireland's Own is regularly described by critics as "outdated" and "old-fashioned", with its reliance on nostalgia that rarely reflects present realities. Its look and content has barely changed since the 1950s. Its demise has long been predicted, given its disproportionate appeal to the two segments presumed weakest to guarantee its future: elderly readers in rural Ireland, and those who have low disposable incomes; however it remains a constant presence in the publishing market. One explanation for this is that the magazine taps into the younger nostalgia market who grew up with "Ireland's Own" and have a desire for familiarity and to rediscover a simpler Ireland in the face of monumental (and not always positive) changes in Ireland.
Examples of content
Published in Wexford
In contrast to most Irish magazines, Ireland's Own is not Dublin-based but is edited in Wexford.
Ireland's Own celebrated its centenary in 2002.
- ABC Certificate for Ireland's Own, Jan–Jun 2007
- Griffith's Cumann na nGaedheal was a different party to the later Cumann na nGaedheal formed by pro-Treaty Sinn Féin TDs under W. T. Cosgrave.
- Historical Irish Journals.
- "Dublin 4" is a trendy, upper-middle class liberal part of south Dublin. Dublin 4 is often used as a code word to describe "trendy liberals".
- Ireland's Own.
- Realtime video of RTÉ programme on Ireland's Own
- Background information and archive of past features on www.finnvalley.ie