WHILE knowledge of history can explain our contemporary situation, an awareness of the myths and misuses of our history can bring a broader and more conciliatory approach to current political and social challenges. History or, more correctly, 'views of the past' or 'historical myths' have shaped politics in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These views served in part to cause and sustain the 'Troubles'. Eventually, many historical perceptions were challenged, which helped to promote the peace process. New ideas of revised and shared history were important. These changes are explored here. The public expression of history in Ireland through commemoration of important historical events and persons is investigated in a number of chapters. The impact of historical developments on identity is studied not just in Ireland, north and south, but also among the Irish diaspora, especially in America. In Irish History Matters, Brian M. Walker uses three decades of research to explore the effects historical events have had on Irish politics and society, and why they still have an important influence today.