Sir, - it is interesting that Mr Suilleabhain (May 9th) should speak in one breath of "national spirit" and "heroes", and in the next of "the weighty layers of revisionist garbage". The current importance of history, in fact, owes much to revisionism as we are at a time when we all need to have a more balanced view of the past, and the nationalist mythology which has been presented as history for so long couldn't be more dangerous. To have pride in our past, we must understand that past as it was, not as we wish it to have been.

That revisionism as a movement can cause such a knee jerk reaction in some, says more about those who react than it does about revisionists. Why should people be so afraid of questioning received beliefs, when such questioning has already thrown valuable light on our history? Perhaps it is because having constructed a version of the past to validate their own beliefs they are upset when their sacred cows turn out to be nothing more than white elephants. Yours, etc., Wind rush, Shanakiel, Co Cork.