Events Calendar
Oct 9 - Oct 30
10:30 - 12:30
Ireland since Partition: 1922 to the Present
Short courses

4 weeks: 9, 16, 23, 30 October

Wednesday: 10.30 – 12.30

Course code: 19TON396

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This course considers the dramatic changes in the two parts of Ireland from 1922, and how the two parts reacted differently to the Second World War.  Other areas to be discussed include the post-1968 "Troubles" in the North, the deployment of British troops and "Bloody Sunday" in January 1972, and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This course considers the differences between the two parts of Ireland, and how differently they reacted to the Second World War.  After 1968 attention was focused on the North – the "Troubles" – until 1998. British Troops were deployed (most notoriously in "Bloody Sunday" in January 1972), until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. 

Week 1.  After partition the south (the "Irish Free State") remained a largely agricultural country, heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church.  The North, by contrast, entrenched Protestant domination.  And both parts took different roles in the Second World War.  So how stable did partition look from the perspective of 1945? 

Week 2.  1968 saw increasing demands from the North's Catholic minority for redress of grievances, leading to some reforms.  But British troops were sent in 1969, welcomed at first in Catholic areas, but thereafter challenged by a resurgent IRA.   "Bloody Sunday" in January 1972 marked a low point, when British paratroopers killed 14 unarmed civilians.  Was there an obvious solution to the crisis? 

Week 3.  A "Power-Sharing Executive" seemed one solution, reinforced by the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973.  However the new coalition foundered as a Loyalist strike took effect.  Meanwhile the violence continued:  the murders of Airey Neave and Lord Mountbatten, the hunger strikes and much more.  So what were the precise obstacles to an agreement? 

Week 4.  The 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement offered some hope, but it was controversial and paramilitary violence persisted.  The Downing Street Declaration of 1993 marked a further step forward, crowned by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.  This deal was facilitated by the leadership of Nobel Laureates David Trimble and John Hume, President Clinton, Senator Mitchell, Prime Minister Blair and the Taoiseach Bertie Aherne.  We look back over the past 20 years, and discuss what has been achieved, and what more needs to be done.

Suggested reading

D.G. Boyce, The Irish Question and British Politics, 1868-1996 (Macmillan 1996).

R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600-1972 (Penguin 1989).  

F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine (Fontana 1985).  

John O'Beirne Ranelagh, A Short History of Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Additional information 

This course is suitable for all: some prior knowledge would be useful but is not essential. The course allows you to spend time exploring a subject for interest, among like-minded people, without formal assessment. There will be discussion opportunities during the course.

Intended learning outcomes

(a) An understanding of the various interest groups throughout Ireland:  Unionists, Nationalists, Republicans, etc.

(b)  A grasp of the deficiencies of the Northern Irish state from 1922.

(c)  A knowledge of the various attempts to resolve issues, especially in the North from 1968.

(d)  The ability to account for the apparent success of the 1998 agreement, when so many previous attempts had failed.

About the tutor

Edward Towne graduated in European Studies from the University of East Anglia, and later achieved a PGCE from Cambridge, an MA in Early Modern English History from the University of London, and MSt in Twentieth Century British History from the University of Oxford. His professional career was spent teaching History in state and independent Secondary Schools, finally as Head of the History Department. Currently, Edward lectures independently to adults in a variety of organisations, and acts as a reviewer and tour leader on historical topics.


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