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HI968 Outcast Ireland

(Module not available 2013-14)


The purpose of this course is to investigate, through a study of primary documents, literary responses, and secondary reading, a range of institutions that dealt with the ‘outcast’ (the poor, the diseased, the ill, prostitutes and unwanted children) in nineteenth and twentieth-century Ireland. The institutions to be examined include workhouses, lunatic asylums, Magdalen asylums, and industrial and reformatory schools. Those participating in the course will discuss and analyse the history of these institutions and their literary and cultural representations. The course will also consider the process of memorialisation at work in Irish culture: how the memory of these asylums and schools is constructed and perpetuated, and its effects on present-day Ireland.

The focus of the course will be on the historical development of these institutions and the literary works created around and about these institutions will form a central analytical strand within the course. The course does not require the participants to have studied history before, but will utilise certain historical skills such as reading and analysing documents and sources, working with evidence, and becoming familiar with certain conceptual frameworks and methodologies. These skills will be developed on the course with the support of the module leader. Each session will begin with a short lecture on the theme noted in the course outline and will then proceed to discuss the documents, literary works and secondary reading.

And this the primary reading:

Suzanne Day, The Amazing Philanthropists (1916). A copy of this text will be made available to everyone.

(Lady) Augusta Gregory, The Workhouse Ward (1908)

Maura Laverty, Alone We Embark (1943)

Sean O'Faolain, 'The End of the Record' (1957)

Industrial Schools
The Ryan Report (excerpts will be made available)
P. Touher, Fear of the Collar (O'Brien Press, Dublin, 2001 [first edn. 1991])
Mannix Flynn, Nothing to Say (Lilliput Press, Dublin, revised edn. 2003 [first edn.1983])
Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy (1994)

3 committal warrants for lunatics 1904, 1911
Extract from First and Second Reports of the Committee Appointed by the Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland on Lunacy Administration (Ireland) (1891). (these will be made available)
Aidan Higgins, Scenes from a Receding Past (1977)
Sebastian Barry, The Steward of Christendom (1995)
Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture (2008)

Magdalen Asylums
Extract from register of Sisters of Charity Magdalen Asylum, Dublin
Halliday Sutherland, Irish Journey (New York, 1958), ch. 7
Patricia Burke Brogan, Eclipsed (1993)
The Magdalene Sisters (film), dir. Peter Mullan.