Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Ireland 1848-1972: A Political and Social History (HI283) - Seminar Programme

Seminar 1: Irish Historians and the Famine
Essential Reading:
Donnelly, James, (1993), ‘The Great Famine its interpreters, old and new’, History Ireland, pp.27-33.
O’Grada, C. (1995) The Great Irish Famine, pp. 9-64.
Jackson, Alvin, (1999) Ireland, pp. 69-86.
Extracts from Noel Kissane (ed.), The Irish Famine: A Documentary History (Dublin, 1995).
Areas for discussion:
Why was there a Famine?
Identify the attempts made by the state to deal with the disaster.
Assess the different interpretations of who was to blame for the Famine.
How has the Great Famine been written in Irish History?
Seminar 2: Militant Separatism
Essential Reading:
Boyce, D.G., (1990) Nineteenth-century Ireland: The Search for Stability, chapter 5.
(1985), The Fenians in Context, Dublin, chapters 5 and 6.
Foster, R.F., (1989) Modern Ireland, 373-95.
Jackson, A., (1999) Ireland, 86-109.
Kelly, M., 'Dublin fenianism in the 1880s: "the Irish culture of the future"? Historical Journal, 43, 3 (2000), JSTOR.
Newsinger, John, (1992) ‘Comment, Fenianism revisited: pastime or revolutionary movement?’, with
Comerford, R. V., reply in Saothar, 17, 46-56. This journal is in the library.
Cardinal Cullen’s Pastoral Letter 1865.
Areas for discussion:
What was ‘Fenianism’? What were its aims and methods, and how did these change after the failure of
the intended rebellion?
How serious a threat did the Fenians pose to government?
How did British governments respond to the Fenians?
What links can be made between the various movements for separatism throughout the period
Constitutional nationalists quickly accepted the Fenian rebels as heroes. Why?

What was the ‘appeal’ of these revolutionary organisations?
Nationalsm among Irish emigrants.
What sustained the Fenian movement?
Seminar 3: Religion and Irish Society
Essential Reading
Connolly, S. J., (1985), Religion and Society in Nineteenth century Ireland (pamphlet).
D.W. Miller, ‘Mass Attendance in Ireland in 1834’ in S.J. Brown and D. Miller (eds), (2000), Piety and Power in Ireland, 1760-1960; Essays in Honour of Emmet Larkin, pp. 158-180.
Fahey, T., (1987), ‘Nuns in the Catholic Church in Ireland in the nineteenth century’, in Mary
Cullen (ed.), Girls Don't Do Honours.
Magray, Mary Peckham, The Transforming Power of the Nuns: Women, Religion, and Cultural Change in Ireland, 1750-1900, chapter 6.
Areas for Discussion:
What were the main social attitudes fostered among the Irish catholic clergy in the post-famine period?
What was the devotional revolution?
Were Irish Catholics ‘more religious’ by the end of the nineteenth century?
What part did religious communities play in Irish society?

Seminar 4: Land War 

Essential Reading
Jackson, A. (1999) Ireland, pp. 109-32.
Foster, (1989) Modern Ireland, chapter 16.

Report on a demonstration, Freeman's Journal, 20 June 1881.
Areas for Discussion:
What were the aims of the Land League?
What social and political groups collaborated in the land agitation and why?
How effectively did the government deal with the Land League and the land issue?
Who lost the Land War?
Parnell and 'advanced nationalism'.
Gladstonian Home Rule: opportunism or enlightenment?
Parnell's political tactics.
Seminar 5: Unionism and Home Rule
Essential Reading:
Foster, R.F., (1989) Modern Ireland, pp. 400-21.
Jackson, Alvin, (1994), ‘Irish Unionism 1905-21’, in Peter Collins (ed.) Nationalism and Unionism: Conflict in Ireland 1885-1921, Belfast.
Travers, Pauric (1988) Settlements and Divisions: Ireland 1870-1922 Dublin, pp.115-143.
Jackson, Alvin, (1999) Ireland, pp 215-44.
Parnell’s ‘March of a Nation Speech’, 21 January 1885.
Gladstone’s speech in favour of Home Rule, 1886
Extract from an Anti-Home Rule pamphlet, Union of Separate, 1886.
Irish Hierarchy pronouncement against Home Rule, 1891
Areas for discussion:
What is Unionism?
What was the basis for the Unionist case?
How did Unionists oppose Home Rule?
How did southern Unionists differ from northern Unionists?
The 'Ulsterisation' of Irish Unionism.
Seminar 6: Rebellion and Revolution
Essential Reading:
Boyce, D. G., (1996) ‘1916: interpreting the Rising’, in Boyce and O'Day (eds.) The Making of Modern Irish History pp.163-187.
Foster, R.F., (1989) Modern Ireland, pp. 471-484.
Ferriter, D. (2004), Transformation of Ireland, chapter 2.
Garvin, Tom, (1991), ‘The Rising and Irish democracy’, in M. Ni Dhonnchada & T. Dorgan, Revising
the Rising, pp.21-8, Derry.
Jeffrey, K., (2000) Ireland and the Great War Cambridge. chapter 1.
Lee, J.J., (1989) Ireland 1912-1985 Cambridge. Lee has a very interesting chapter on the Rising.
The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic
Extract from Irish Independent on conscription, 16 April 1918.
Shooting at Soloheadbeg, Freeman's Journal, 22 January 1919.
Areas for Discussion:
Examine the Proclamation of the Irish Republic of 1916 from a historical perspective.
What effect did the Rising have on the course of Irish history and politics?
What expectations did those who participated in the Rising have for its outcome?
Was there any great need for a ‘Rising’?
Was there an Irish revolution?
Why did some republicans reject the treaty?
Was the civil war inevitable?
Seminar 7: The Age of de Valera
Essential Reading:
Ferriter, D. (2004), Transformation of Ireland, chapters 4 and 5.
Jackson, A. (1999) Ireland, chapter 6.
O’Halpin, E. (1999) Defending Ireland: Irish State and Its Enemies Since 1922, pp112-29. Electronic Book (Athens password needed)
Cronin, M. (Autumn 1994), ‘Blueshirts, spirits and socials’, History Ireland, 2/3 pp 43-7.
Documents: Extracts from M.Moynihan, Speeches and Staements by Eamon de Valera, 1917-1973.
Areas for Discussion:
What factors influenced the government’s policies towards economic development, constitutional change
and internal security?
Evaluate the government’s handling of the problems posed by the ‘Emergency’.
Why were Fianna Fail’s political rivals so weak in this period?
Seminar 8: Women in Irish Political Life
Essential Reading:
Knirck, J., (1998), ‘“Ghosts and realities”: female T.D.s and the treaty debate’, Eire-Ireland, pp. 170-94.
Luddy, M., (1995). Women in Ireland, 1800-1918: A Documentary History, pp 239-250.
Urquhart, D., (2000), Women in Ulster Politics, chapter one.
Extracts from Kathleen Clarke, Revolutionary Woman p.127.
Areas for Discussion:
How significant was women’s contribution to the nationalist movement?
What problems faced the Irish suffrage campaign in the twentieth century?
What was the role of women in Unionism and Nationalism?
How and why did women TDs oppose the treaty?
Seminar 9: Emigration and Irish History
Essential Reading:
Delaney, E., (2002) Irish Emigration Since 1921 (pamphlet)
Fitzpatrick, David, (1990) Irish Emigration 1801-1921, Dundalk (pamphlet).
Documents: Census of Population of Ireland, 1946, 1951, 1981.
Areas for Discussion:
Examine the various motivations for emigration and the relative importance of ‘push-pull’ factors.
What was the social and economic background of emigrants?
Assess the impact of emigration on the development of Irish society?
Explain the links between emigration and the development of Irish identity abroad.
Seminar 10: Consolidating the Northern State
Essential Reading:
Harkness, David (1983) Northern Ireland Since 1920, Dublin, chapters 1 and 2.
O’Dochartaigh, Niall (1997), From Civil Rights to Armalites: Derry and the Birth of the Irish Troubles. Cork, introduction, chapter 1 and 2.
Documents: Londonderry: One Man, No Vote, Campaign for Social Justice in Northern Ireland (February 1965).
Areas for Discussion:
Outline the evolution of the policies developed by the Northern Ireland government in the areas of
security, electoral arrangements, the education system and economic development.
How can we account for the emergence of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s?