Paul Bew

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Paul Anthony Elliott Bew, Baron Bew (born 22 Jan. 1950,[1] in Belfast)[2] is a Northern Irish historian. He has worked at Queen's University Belfast since 1979, and is currently Professor of Irish Politics, a position he has held since 1991.[2]

Academic career[edit]

Bew attended Campbell College, Belfast as a youth, before studying for his BA and PhD at Pembroke College, Cambridge. His first book, Land and the National Question in Ireland, 1858–82 was a revisionist study that challenged nationalist historiography by examining not only the clash between landowners and tenants, but the conflict between large and small tenants as well. His third book, a short study of Charles Stewart Parnell, challenged some of the arguments of the award-winning biography of Parnell by F. S. L. Lyons, though Lyons, one of the "doyens" of modern Irish history, acknowledged the young historian's arguments by stating that "Nothing Dr Bew writes is without interest."[3] Bew's central thesis is that Parnell was a fundamentally conservative figure whose ultimate aim was to secure a continuing position of leadership for the Protestant gentry in a Home Rule Ireland.

In 2007, Oxford University Press published Bew's Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789–2006, which forms part of the Oxford History of Modern Europe series. The book has received positive reviews.[3][4][5]

Bew also acted as a historical advisor to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry between 1998 and 2001.[6]

Political involvement[edit]

Bew's political stance has changed somewhat over the years. In a 2004 interview for The Guardian, he stated that "While my language was more obviously leftwing in the 1970s than today, that sympathy has always been there".[2] As a young man, Bew participated in the People's Democracy marches. Bew was briefly a member of a group called the Workers' Association, which advocated the Two Nations Theory of Northern Ireland .[7] Bew was also a members of the Workers Party of Ireland.[8] Later, Bew served as an adviser to David Trimble.[2] Trimble and Bew are both signatories to the statement of principles of the Henry Jackson Society,[9] which has been characterised as a neoconservative organisation.[10]

Professor Bew's contributions to the Good Friday Agreement process were acknowledged with an appointment to the House of Lords as a life peer in February 2007.[11] He was gazetted as Baron Bew, of Donegore in the County of Antrim on 26 March 2007, and sits as a crossbencher.


Bew is married to Greta Jones, a history professor at the University of Ulster, by whom he has one son.[2]



  • Land and the National Question in Ireland, 1858–82. Gill & Macmillan. 1979. 
  • The State in Northern Ireland, 1921–72: Political Forces and Social Class. Manchester University Press. 1979. 
  • C.S. Parnell. Gill & Macmillan. 1980. 
  • Sean Lemass and the Making of Modern Ireland, 1945–66. Gill & Macmillan. 1982.  (with Henry Patterson)
  • The British State and the Ulster Crisis: From Wilson to Thatcher. Verso Books. 1985.  (with Henry Patterson)
  • Conflict and Conciliation in Ireland, 1890–1910: Parnellites and Radical Agrarians. Clarendon Press. 1987. 
  • The Dynamics of Irish Politics. Lawrence & Wishart. 1989.  (with Henry Patterson and Ellen Hazelkorn)
  • Between War and Peace: The Political Future of Northern Ireland. Lawrence & Wishart. 1997. 
  • Northern Ireland 1921–2001: Political Power and Social Classes. Serif. 2002. 
  • Ideology and the Irish Question: Ulster Unionism and Irish Nationalism, 1912–1916. Clarendon Press. 1994. 
  • John Redmond. Dundalgan Press. 1996. 
  • Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles, 1968–99. Gill & Macmillan. 1999.  (with Gordon Gillespie)
  • The Making and Remaking of the Good Friday Agreement. The Liffey Press. 2007. 
  • Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789–2006. Oxford University Press. 2007. 
  • Enigma: A New Life of Charles Stewart Parnell. Gill & Macmillan. 2011. 


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian (London: Guardian News & Media): 33. 22 Jan 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Richards, Huw (9 March 2004). "Paul Bew: Belfast's history man". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Roy Foster (13 December 2007). "Partnership of loss". London Review of Books. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Eoghan Harris (21 October 2007). "Badly needed corrective to vilification of Long Fellow". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  5. ^ Michael Burleigh (18 November 2007). "Not all stout and oysters". London: The Times. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  6. ^ Bew, Paul (2005). "The role of the historical adviser and the Bloody Sunday Tribunal". Historical Research 78 (199): 113–127. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2281.2005.00240.x. 
  7. ^ Godson, Dean. Himself alone: David Trimble and the ordeal of Unionism HarperCollins, 2004 (pg. 30).
  8. ^ Brian Hanley & Scott Millar, The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party Penguin, 2010.
  9. ^ "Signatories to the Statement of Principles". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  10. ^ David Clark (21 November 2005). "The neoconservative temptation beckoning Britain's bitter liberals". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  11. ^ "Belfast academic becomes lord". The Irish Times. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 

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