Review: Writing Historical Fiction

© Vivienne Kearns

If you are writing historical fiction, you may be interested in taking Dr. Séamus Ó Maitiú’s Dublin-based Lord Mayor’s Certificate in Local Studies course which runs from September to April on Tuesday evenings at Pearse Street Library. The course will give you a clear overview of the Irish resources and reference materials available to historical researchers. I completed the course in April 2014 and found it extremely useful for my own historical novel research. 

My classmates and I were given private tours of the National Archives of Ireland in Bishop Street, the National Library of Ireland in Kildare Street, and the Dublin City Archives based in Pearse Street Library. We were also given direction on the many online sites available to us, including Irish newspaper archives, Irish state papers and parliamentary eBooks and historic Irish census details. I particularly found a very useful resource that gives you access to thousands of historic and literary journal articles worldwide, and can be accessed for free from your local library.

The requirement to write a short dissertation in a subject of my own choosing also helped me focus on the completion of my own novel research. I now find that I am equipped with the historical details required to get my novel polished and ready for submission to agents and publishers later this year. I would highly recommend the course to any new budding historical novelists out there.