Twenty-four years ago, Terence Brown raised very few eyebrows when he portrayed the Irish Free State in the 1930s as an insular society obsessed with self-sufficiency. The theme of insularity has dominated most narratives of the period, with emphasis on the Anglo-Irish Economic War, the Censorship Board and the 1937 Constitution. The de Valera government’s intention in the Economic War, after all, was to create native industries behind high-tariff barriers and to favour agricultural labourers by shifting the tillage/pasture ratio in Ireland in favour of crop production. This protectionist programme was insularity writ large. Likewise, the government’s censorship of domestic and imported literature ‘concelebrated’, according to J. J. Lee, ‘the intellectual poverty of the period’.