Elements of Irish Poor Law Repealed

Option 36.2 Ireland and the Union, c1774–1923 – introduction

This topic booklet has been written to support teachers delivering Paper 3 Option 36.2 Ireland and the Union, c1774–1923 of the 2015 A level History specification. We’re providing it in Word so that it’s easy for you to take extracts or sections from it and adapt them or give them to students.

We’ve provided an overview of the topic which helps to provide contextual background and explain why we think this is a fascinating topic to study. The overview could be used, for example, in open evening materials or be given to students at the start of the course.

You’ll also find some content guidance; a student timeline, which can be given to students for them to add to and adapt; a list of resources for students and for teachers; and information about overlap between this topic and the 2008 specification.

For more detail about planning, look out for the Getting Started guide, Course planner and schemes of work.



Ireland and the Union, c1774–1923                                       3

Introduction                                                                                3

Content guidance                                                                        4

Themes                                                                                          4

Aspects in depth                                                                           5

Student timeline                                                                           6

Mapping to 2008 specification                                                   9

Resources and references                                                            12



Ireland and the Union, c1774–1923


This option gives students the opportunity to explore the troubled relationship between Ireland and Britain from the last decades of the eighteenth century to partition in 1923, focusing on the political aspects of the relationship and the changing Irish society and economy.

The relationship between Britain and Ireland was rarely harmonious: it rocked governments and destroyed reputations. It contained elements of bitterness and betrayal, with a deep sense of mutual misunderstanding and mistrust. This arose partly because Britain and Ireland were separated by a huge cultural and religious divide.

In 1774, at the start of this option, England, Scotland and Wales were predominantly Protestant in religion. Ireland was 80 per cent Catholic, and yet the Anglican ‘Church of Ireland’ was Ireland’s official church, not the dominant Catholic one. Catholic Ireland resented domination by Protestant Britain. Before the Act of Union in 1800, many Catholic peasants and labourers were involved in small-scale acts of violence against their generally absentee Protestant landlords, protesting against high rents and the requirement to pay tithes to what they considered to be an alien church. This Catholic-Protestant antagonism was to continue throughout the period and beyond.

Protestants in Ireland had huge political advantages, arising largely from the franchise: no Catholic, no matter how wealthy could, at the beginning of the period, vote in national or local elections. Thus Catholic Ireland was run by Protestants in Dublin and by Protestants at Westminster. Unsurprisingly, Grattan’s parliament, in the years it was in existence, showed little interest in serving the Catholic majority. Indeed, whatever vision Grattan and his allies had had of a separate Ireland, it was of an Ireland dominated by the Protestant Ascendency. The concessions in the years to 1800 were imposed by Britain, not initiated in Ireland, and educated Catholics began looking to Westminster for redress of their grievances.

A rising population was the one thing Britain and Ireland had in common at this time. However, the consequences of this were vastly different. By 1774 Britain was on the brink of an industrial revolution, and the expanding industries and developing towns readily absorbed the growing population. Apart from cosmopolitan Dublin and a Belfast dominated by the linen industry, Ireland was a predominantly rural country. Wealthy landowners turned increasingly to grain production for the British market. Most Irish peasants eked out a living on plots of land that were divided and sub-divided, driving down their already poor standards of living and making them increasingly dependent on one crop: the potato. Even before the Famine, many young Irishmen found work in Britain, sending money home to support their impoverished families. Ireland did not really industrialise until after the second decade of the nineteenth century and then it was piecemeal and never had the impact the industrial revolution had in Britain.

This whole option gives students the opportunity to study a period of great turbulence in the relationship between Ireland and Britain, where political ‘solutions’ were tried, tested and found wanting. These ‘solutions’ were played out against a constantly changing and developing Irish society.

This option comprises two parts: the Aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the Aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes and give students the opportunity to develop skills in analysing and evaluating source material.

Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the Irish struggle for constitutional change, and the ways in which the Irish economy and society changed and their impact on mainland Britain. This was a difficult period in the development of Irish society and for Anglo-Irish relations, involving passion, tensions and commitment to different causes that were in many ways irreconcilable, and an outcome that, by 1923, left many dissatisfied and eager for further change.


Aspects in breadth: the struggle for constitutional change, c1774–1923

1 Irish nationalism: from agitation to civil war

2 British reaction: from resistance to acceptance

Aspects in depth: societies in change

1 Towards emancipation, 1774–1830

2 Industrialisation in Ulster, 1825–55

3 The Irish Famine, 1843–51

4 The Irish land issue, 1870–82

5 Improving working and living conditions: trades union militancy in Ireland, 1907–14


Content guidance

This section provides additional guidance on the specification content. It should be remembered that the official specification is the only authoritative source of information and should always be referred to for definitive guidance.


The main focus of the ‘Aspects in breadth’ is on pressure for constitutional change in the political relationship between Britain and Ireland, and on the outcomes of that pressure.

Within this, the themes focus on the ways in which pressure for change from within Ireland moved from sporadic outbursts of agitation to an organised movement for Home Rule. Students will need to understand the changing approaches of British governments responding with concessions, for example increasing the Maynooth Grant in 1845, as well as with attempts at repression. They should understand the impact of the revival of the Orange Order in response to the Home Rule bills of 1886 and 1893. They should understand why legislation eventually granted Home Rule, only to be confounded by the outbreak of war in 1914. Students should understand why civil war and partition in Ireland followed the settlement agreed in 1922. Students will need to understand the ways in which the situation in Ireland related to the changes shown in the approaches and shifting of attitudes by the party leaders in the Commons and the Lords.

The focus of the themes is on the process of change over a long period of time, rather than concentrating exclusively on one particular act or event. Students should, however, be able to explore key turning points in the pressure for constitutional change, understand the reasons why key changes took place, why they were important and what their main effects were. These should include the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Tithe Wars, the execution of Fenian leaders in 1867, the first Home Rule bill of 1886, the 1916 Easter Rising and the Anglo-Irish war 1919–21.

Aspects in depth

The focus of the ‘Aspects in depth’ is on changes in Irish society through the study of five depth topics which together range over the chronology.

Although the topics are clarified separately below, students should appreciate the linkages between them since questions, including document questions, may be set which target the content of more than one topic, for example one of the results of the Famine was migration from rural to urban areas which impacted on working conditions and consequent attempts at unionisation in Ireland’s main industries.

Students will be required to interpret and evaluate a documentary extract in its historical context, but the knowledge they will need to have will be central to that specified in the topics.

Topic 1: Towards emancipation, 1774–1830

The focus of the topic is on the reasons why, and the ways in which, Catholic emancipation in Ireland took place. Students need to have knowledge of the pressure from within Ireland as exemplified by the Catholic Board and Catholic Association, and of the role played by the County Clare elections in focusing politicians in Westminster on the need for reform. The impact of emancipation on politics in Britain is not required.

Topic 2: Industrialisation in Ulster, 1825–55

The focus of the topic is on the two main industries in Ulster, textiles and shipbuilding, and on the impact the development of these had on Belfast. Students should understand why the cotton and woollen industries declined, and why the linen industry prospered. Students need to have an understanding of the importance of the work of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners enabling the port and yards to prosper. The impact of industrialisation on living and working conditions must be addressed. Coverage of other industries is not required.

Topic 3: The Irish Famine, 1843–51

The focus of the topic is on the reasons why the Famine was able to take such a hold in Ireland, its impact in Ireland and reaction by the Westminster government. Students need to understand how the agrarian system in Ireland enabled blight to lead to famine. They must have knowledge of the response of Peel’s and Russell’s governments including Peel’s programmes of public works and ‘Peel’s brimstone’ and the impact of Russell’s policy of relief through the Poor Laws and soup kitchens, the Irish Poor Law Extension Act (1847) and the ‘Gregory clause’. Students should be aware of what the differing approaches of Peel and Russell hoped to achieve. The immediate aftermath of the Famine needs to be addressed insofar as Ireland is concerned. Coverage of the process and political impact in England of the repeal of the Corn Laws is not required.

Topic 4: The Irish land issue, 1870–82

The focus of the topic is on the problem of land ownership and tenants’ rights towards the end of the nineteenth century, during the early part of the period known as the ‘Land Wars’, and of the government’s attempts to solve the problem. They should also understand the impact of the ‘long depression’ on agriculture in Ireland, including the availability of cheap wheat from the USA and refrigerated meat from the USA. Candidates need to have knowledge of the two Land Acts and of their impact in Ireland against a constantly changing agrarian situation. Candidates need to understand the impact of the Irish Land League on the Irish land issue, including the ‘No Rent Manifesto’ and the effectiveness of boycotts. They should understand why the Irish dissidents acted as they did, what their aims were and why their success was limited. Coverage of the involvement of the named individuals in affairs unconnected with the land issue is not required.

Topic 5: Improving working and living conditions: trades union militancy in Ireland, 1907–14

The focus of the topic is on attempts to unionise trades and industry in Ireland and the militancy of the relatively newly formed trades unions in Ireland. Students need to have knowledge of the roles of Jim Larkin and James Connolly in this, and of William Martin Murphy in opposing them on behalf of the employers. Students should understand how their activities culminated in the Dublin general strike, why it was significant for the future of industrial relationships in Ireland, and the extent to which militancy succeeded in improving living and working conditions. The input of the British trade unions in supporting unionisation and union activity in Ireland should be addressed. Coverage of other British trades union activity is not required.


Student timeline

The timeline below could be given to students (and could be further edited and added to by them). Dates relating to the ‘Aspects in breadth’ are given on the left; dates relating to the ‘Aspects in depth’ are given on the right. Students may find it useful to colour-code events or themes.

Inclusion of dates and events in this timeline should not be taken as an indication that these are prescribed or that students must know them all: the official specification and associated assessment guidance materials are the only authoritative source of information and should always be referred to for definitive guidance.


Aspects in breadth   Aspects in depth
1778 Catholic Relief Act, beginning the process of removing the penal laws
1779–82 Restrictions on Irish trade gradually removed
Grattan’s parliament and new constitution 1782 Catholic Relief Act
Society of United Irishmen founded by Wolfe Tone 1791
1793 Catholic Relief Act
Orange Order founded in Ulster 1795
United Irishmen’s rebellion, suicide of Wolfe Tone 1798
Act of Union: Pitt the Younger tried and failed to insert clause enabling Catholic emancipation 1800
1811 Catholic Board set up by Daniel O’Connell
1820 Charles Connell and Sons, shipbuilders, opened yard in Belfast
1823 Catholic Association founded by O’Connell in May
1828 O’Connell won County Clare election

Andrew Mulholland opened flax-spinning factory in Belfast

1829 O’Connell won second County Clare election

Roman Catholic Relief Act

Tithe Wars began 1830 Mulhollands opened linen mill in York Street, Belfast
1838 Final report of Railway Commission
O’Connell founded Repeal Association 1840
Young Ireland group became active 1842
Maynooth Grant increased 1845 Beginning of potato blight

John Mitchel joined staff of The Nation

Repeal of the Corn Laws

Peel replaced as prime minister by Lord John Russell

1846 Charles Edward Trevelyan took control of Famine policy under new Liberal government
1847 Irish Poor Law Extension Act

Outbreak of typhus in Belfast

Formation of Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Young Irelander Rebellion 1848 Outbreak of cholera in Belfast
1849 The Encumbered Estates Act, facilitating sale of estates
1850 Irish Tenant League founded
1851 Thompson and Kirwan open ship building yard on Queen’s Island, Belfast
1853 Robert Hickson opened shipyard on Queen’s Island, Belfast
Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians) founded in Dublin by James Stephens 1858
  1861 Harland and Wolff formed
Fenian Rising and executions 1867
Irish Church Act 1869
Isaac Butt formed pressure group Home Government Association 1870 Dublin Land Conference

Land Act

Home Government Association reconstituted as political party Home Rule League 1873
General election: Home Rule League won 59 seats 1874
Successful ‘obstructionism’ in the House of Commons 1877
1879 Irish Land League founded, with Parnell as president and John Davitt as secretary

Beginning of Land Wars

Charles Stewart Parnell elected leader of the Home Rule League 1880
1881 Irish Coercion Act introduced by William Edward Forster

Land Act

Phoenix Park murders

Parnell renames Home Rule League the Irish Parliamentary Party

1882 Kilmainham Treaty
Gladstone’s ‘conversion’ to Home Rule

Revival of Orange Order in opposition to Home Rule

Gladstone’s first Home Rule bill defeated in the House of Commons 1886
O’Shea divorce case opened 1889
Parnell is rejected as leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party 1890
Gladstone’s second Home Rule bill defeated in the House of Lords 1893 Gaelic Athletic Association founded


1896 James Connolly founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party
1907 National Union of Dock Labourers founded
1909 Irish Transport and General Workers Union founded by Jim Larkin
Edward Carson elected as leader of the Ulster Unionists 1910
Parliament Act 1911  
Asquith attempts to introduce Home Rule in Ireland

Solemn League and Covenant signed in September

1913 Anti-Union actions by William Martin Murphy led to the Dublin general strike/lockout began in September
Curragh incident occurred in May

Home Rule Bill passed

Britain entered First World War in January

1914 Dublin strike officially ended
The Easter Rising in Dublin, rebels executed

David Lloyd George initiates the Irish Convention

General election: victorious Sinn Féin forms the Dáil Éireann 1918
Beginning of the Anglo-Irish war 1919
David Lloyd George presides over the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Truce in Anglo-Irish war, followed by signing of Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921
Irish Free State Constitution Act; partition of Ireland, beginning of civil war 1922


Mapping to 2008 specification

There is some content overlap between this option and the following topic from the 2008 specification: Unit 2, Option D, Topic D1: Britain and Ireland, 1867–1922.

There is also overlap with the following coursework programmes from the 2008 specification:

  • CW16: Ireland and the Union, 1815–1922
  • CW29: Ireland and the Union, 1815–1998

The table below shows where the content overlaps with the Unit 2 Britain and Ireland option.

2015 specification 2008 specification
Theme 1: Irish nationalism: from agitation to civil war


Agitation and rebellion, c1774–c1870: the demands of the Irish Volunteers and the United Irishmen (key development: the constitution of 1782 and the rebellion of 1798); the role of Daniel O’Connell and the Repeal Association; the Tithe Wars; the impact of Young Ireland and of the Irish Republican brotherhood (key developments: the 1848 rebellion and the 1867 Fenian Rising and executions). New content, though the period from 1867 overlaps with bullet point 1: The challenge of nationalism 1867–85.
The campaign for Home Rule, c1870–1910: the role of Isaac Butt and the Home Rule League; the role of Charles Stewart Parnell and the Irish Parliamentary Party; the revival of the Orange Order to challenge Home Rule.




Towards civil war, 1910–23: Edward Carson and the UVF (key developments: the Ulster Covenant, the Curragh incident); changing attitudes and nationalist responses (key developments: the Easter Rising, the War of Independence/Anglo-Irish war, civil war and partition).

Bullet point 1: The challenge of nationalism, 1867–85.

Bullet point 2: Home Rule objectives and unionist responses in Britain, 1886–1914.



Bullet point 3: Divisions within Ireland on Home Rule and independence.

Bullet point 4: The parting of the ways, 1916–22.

Theme 2: British reaction: from resistance to acceptance


Evolving government policies c1774–1922: reasons for changing approaches to the government of Ireland (key developments: the Act of Union 1801, increasing the Maynooth Grant 1845, the Irish Coercion Act 1881, Gladstone’s conversion to Home Rule 1885; the Home Rule bill of 1914, the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922). New content c1774–c1867.


Bullet point 2: Home Rule objectives and unionist responses in Britain, 1886–1914.

Bullet point 4: The parting of the ways, 1916–22.

Changing attitudes of British politicians to agitation and rebellion in Ireland c1774–1922; the significance of Pitt the Younger, Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George. New content until c1867.

Bullet point 2: Home Rule objectives and unionist responses in Britain, 1886–1914.

Bullet point 4: The parting of the ways, 1916–22.

Key topic 1: Towards emancipation, 1774–1830


The significance of the Penal Laws and reasons why they were amended in Catholic Relief Acts, 1774–93. New content
Daniel O’Connell and impact of the Catholic Board 1811 and the Catholic Association 1823; the County Clare elections, 1828 and 1829; the passage of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 through parliament and its impact. New content
The significance of the campaign in the Irish parliament to remove restrictions on Irish trade, 1778–82; the impact of the removal of the restrictions on the Irish economy. New content
Key topic 2: Industrialisation in Ulster,
The importance of the textile industry in Ulster; the decline of the woollen and cotton industries; the impact of railways and mechanisation on the linen industry. New content
The development of shipbuilding; the importance of the Charles Connell and Sons and the Thompson and Kirwan yards; the work of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. New content
The roles of Robert Hickson and Andrew Mulholland in the industrialisation of Ulster; its impact on working and living conditions; the Belfast cholera epidemic, 1848; discrepancies between Catholics and Protestants in employment. New content
Key topic 3: The Irish Famine, 1843–51 The role of absentee landlords, middlemen, landholdings, monoculture and blight; impact of famine on populace. New content
The impact of government response to the Famine; Peel’s response; Russell’s response; the Irish Poor Law Extension Act 1847; the problem of export of food from Ireland; the roles of Charles Edward Trevelyan and John Mitchel. New content
Social and economic impacts of depopulation; migration and emigration; consolidation of land holdings and importance of the Encumbered Estates Act 1849. New content
Key topic 4: The Irish land issue,
The significance of the Dublin Land Conference 1870; the reasons for the Land Act 1870 and its significance. Bullet point 1: The challenge of nationalism, 1867–85.
The impact of the ‘long depression’ on Irish agriculture, the problem of tenancies, evictions and rent strikes. Bullet point 1: The challenge of nationalism, 1867–85.
The roles of Michael Davitt, William Edward Forster and Charles Stewart Parnell during the Land Wars; the impact of the Irish Land League; the Land Act 1881, reaction in Ireland and the Kilmainham Treaty 1882. Bullet point 1: The challenge of nationalism, 1867–85.


Key topic 5: Improving working and living conditions: trades union militancy in Ireland, 1907–14


Working and living conditions for unskilled urban workers; the significance of the founding of the National Union of Dock Labourers 1907, and the ITGWU 1909; the roles of Jim Larkin, James Connolly and William Martin Murphy. New content
Events and significance of the Dublin general strike 1913–14; the lock-out and implications for workers and employers. New content
The role of British trade unions in the attempts to unionise workers in Ireland and in the Dublin general strike. New content



Resources and references

The table below lists a range of resources that could be used by teachers and/or students for this topic. This list will be updated as and when new resources become available – for example, if new textbooks are published.

Inclusion of resources in this list does not constitute endorsement of those materials. While these resources – and others – may be used to support teaching and learning, the official specification and associated assessment guidance materials are the only authoritative source of information and should always be referred to for definitive guidance. Links to third-party websites are controlled by others and are subject to change.


Resource Type For students and/or teachers?
Martin Collier, Britain and Ireland, 1867–1922 (Pearson, 2008) Textbook Written for students.
Nick Pelling, Anglo-Irish Relations 1798–1922 (Routledge, 2003) Textbook Written for students, in the ‘Questions and Analysis’ series.
Marie Coleman, The Irish Revolution 1916–1923 (Routledge, 2013) Textbook Written for students, a volume in the ‘Seminar Studies’ series.
Paul Bew, Ireland: the politics of enmity, 1789–2006 (Oxford University Press, 2007) Academic For teachers.

A fine 600 page, up-to-date and fairly comprehensive survey.

S J Connolly (editor), The Oxford Companion to Irish History (Oxford University Press, 1998) Academic For teachers and students.

A mine of valuable information.

Tim Pat Coogan, The Famine Plot (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) Academic/
For teachers and students.

Remarkably readable account arguing that the famine constitutes one of the first acts of genocide.

R F Foster, Modern Ireland: 1600–1972 (Penguin, 1989) Academic For teachers.

A very valuable, though densely written, survey.

Cormac S Grada, Ireland: A New Economic History (Oxford University Press, 1997) Academic For teachers and students.

Chapters 4, 6 and 13 are very useful for in-depth coverage of Ulster’s industrialisation in 1825–55; Chapter 8 provides excellent coverage of the Great Famine; and Chapter 5 is good for industrial unrest from 1910.

K Theodore Hoppen, Ireland Since 1800 (Pearson, 1999) Academic For teachers.

A valuable analytical study of Irish politics, economy and religion.

Alvin Jackson, Ireland, 1798–1998: Politics and War (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999) Academic For teachers.

An excellent survey.

Alvin Jackson, Home Rule: An Irish History 1800–2000 (Phoenix, 2004) Academic For teachers.

Especially good on the Home Rule crisis of 1912–14.

Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw (editors), An Economic History of Ulster, 1820–1939 (Manchester University Press, 1985) Academic For teachers.


Now out of print, but second-hand copies are available.

Chapter 2 is excellent for the industrialisation of Ulster in 1825–55; Chapter 3 deals with the impact of the railways; and Chapter 5 looks at the labour movement up to 1914.

Christine Kinealy and Gerard MacAtasney, The Hidden Famine: Hunger, Poverty and Sectarianism in Belfast, 1840–1850 (Pluto Press, 2000) Academic For teachers.

A very important book for two in-depth aspects: Industrialisation in Ulster and the Great Famine.

Joseph Lee, The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1848–1918 (Gill and Macmillan, 1989) Academic For teachers.

A spirited and readable account of socio-economic changes.

J P Lynch, An Unlikely Success Story: The Belfast Shipbuilders (Ulster Historical Association, 2001) Academic For teachers and students.

Its introduction is invaluable for the development of shipbuilding in 1825–55.

Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Ireland, 1824–1960 (Gill and Macmillan, 1992) Academic For teachers.

Chapters 2 and 4 are valuable for trade union militancy in 1907–14.

Colm Toibin and Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Famine: A documentary (Profile Books, 2004) Academic For teachers and students.

A short account of the events is combined with a set of documents – very useful for in-depth study of the famine.

John Newsinger, Jim Larkin and the Great Dublin Lockout of 1913 (Bookmarks Publications, 2013)


Popular A short and highly readable account of a key topic, written from a pronounced left-wing perspective.
Patrick M. Geoghegan, Liberator Daniel O’Connell (Gill and Macmillan, 2011) Biography For teachers.

An engaging biography.

F S L Lyons, Charles Stewart Parnell (Gill and Macmillan, 2005) Biography For teachers.

A brilliant, but erudite and taxing, study.

Edmund Curtis and R B Macdowell, Irish Historical Documents 1172–1972 (Routledge, 2013) Documents For teachers and students.

Chapters 5 and 6 contain the main political documents from the eighteenth century onwards.

Patrick Buckland, Irish Unionism, 1885–1920 (Historical Association, 1985) Pamphlet Written for students.

Now out of print, but widely available; a readable and reliable introduction.

Michael J Winstanley, Ireland and the Land Question 1800–1922 (Routledge, 1984) Pamphlet Written for students.
Modern History Review

Norman Gash, Peel and Ireland: A Perennial Problem, April 1992, pages 6–8

George Bryce, The Origins of Northern Ireland, November 1995, pages 21–22

Tim Chapman, John Bull’s Other Island, September 1993, pages 5–8

Edgar Feuchtwanger, Gladstone’s Irish Policy: Expediency or High Principle?, November 1991, pages 21–23

Graham Goodlad, Britain and Ireland: An Impossible Unity?, September 2001, pages 20–23

T A Jenkins, The Irish Question in Late Victorian Politics, September 1997, page 9

Sean Lang, The Poor Laws and the Irish Famine, April 2004, pages 20–21

Derek Murphy, Irish Home Rule 1886–1918, November 2003, pages 12–15

Peter Neville, Irish Nationalism: Collins versus de Valera, April 1999, pages 11–12

Articles Written for students.
New Perspective

Brian Griffin, The Fenians and Irish History, September 2011, pages 1–5

William Simpson, Perceptions of the Easter Rising, September and December 2007, pages 5–8 and 6–10

Articles Written for students.
History Today and History Review

Tim Pat Coogan, Ireland’s Path to Desolation, History Today, February 2013, (£): www.historytoday.com/tim-pat-coogan/ireland%E2%80%99s-path-desolation

Phil Chapple, ‘Dev’: the Career of Eamon de Valera, History Review, December 2005, pages 28–33 (£): www.historytoday.com/phil-chapple/dev%E2%80%99-career-eamon-de-valera

Orla Finnegan and Ian Cawood, The Fall of Parnell, History Review, December 2003, pages 38–43 (£): www.historytoday.com/orla-finnegan/fall-parnell

Richard Davis, Arthur Griffith: Architect of Modern Ireland, parts I and II, History Today, March and April 1979 (£): www.historytoday.com/richard-davis/arthur-griffith-architect-modern-ireland-part-i-easter-rising and www.historytoday.com/richard-davis/arthur-griffith-architect-modern-ireland-part-ii-1916-1922

Ian Garrett, The Irish Question, History Review, March 2012, pages 17–20 (£): www.historytoday.com/ian-garrett/irish-question

Catriona Pennell, Ireland and the First World War, History Today, August 2014: www.historytoday.com/catriona-pennell/ireland-and-first-world-war

Mark Rathbone, The Young Ireland Revolt, 1848, History Review, September 2010, pages, 21–26 (£): www.historytoday.com/mark-rathbone/young-ireland-revolt-1848-0

Alan Heesom, Ireland under the Union, History Today, January 1984: www.historytoday.com/alan-heesom/ireland-under-union

Simon Lemieux, Britain and Ireland, 1798–1921, History Review, September 2005, pages 37–41 (£): www.historytoday.com/simon-lemieux/britain-and-ireland-1798-1921-changing-question-or-altering-answers

Michael Morrogh, The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, History Review, December 2000, pages 34–36 (£): www.historytoday.com/michael-morrogh/anglo-irish-treaty-1921

Articles Teachers and students

Note that a subscription is required to read some articles online (£).

BBC (2011)

The Story of Ireland

Presented by Fergal Keane

TV documentary A superb introduction to the history of Ireland. Originally five one-hour TV programmes first broadcast in 2011, the series is available on DVD and clips can be found on YouTube. Programmes 3–5 are relevant to this option.
BBC (2000)

A History of Britain

Written and presented by Simon Schama

TV documentary Programme 14, ‘The Empire of Good Intentions’, provides a good introduction to the Irish Famine. Clips can be found on YouTube.
National Archives


Website Gallery 3, Case Study 4, looks at the end of empire in Ireland, using a variety of sources including letters, leaflets, cartoons and a police report.
National Archives


Website A two-hour workshop or virtual classroom on the Easter Rising in 1916, that can be booked free by schools.
Irish History Live



Website Accessible for students.

A site run by the staff of Queen’s University Belfast, containing written, audio and visual sources on a dozen relevant and important topics.

Easter Rising


Website Accessible for students. A case study of the Easter Rising, especially useful for its sound archive and collection of rebel songs.
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts



Website Accessible for students.

Key texts from important figures, including Michael Collins, James Connolly, Patrick Pearse, De Valera and Lloyd George and others.



Website Accessible for students.

A wide-ranging account of the Irish Famine.

Irish Potato Famine


Website Accessible for students.

A useful introduction to the Irish Potato Famine, written by Philip Gavin and containing some valuable contemporary sources.

Mayberry site on Ireland


Website Accessible for students.

Documents and commentary on the Penal Laws, the Catholic Relief Acts and the Insurrection Acts.

Historical Association www.history.org.uk/resources/general_resource_4865_118.html Podcasts Accessible for members of the Historical Association.

A series of eight podcasts on Irish history, including two on the Famine, from 1800 to 1923.



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