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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Ireland in the 16th and 17th Centuries
Module Code HY306
School 68
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: James Kelly
Semester 2: James Kelly
Autumn: James Kelly
Module TeachersJames Kelly
Grania Shanahan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination
New assignment; Two hour repeat examination

The object of this module is to examine the formative phase of Irish history spanning the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Now commonly denominated the early modern era, the course will explore the varieties of strategies by which the interest known as the New English emerged as the dominant force, and how, it consolidated its authority at the expense of the Gaelic Irish, and, subsequently, of the Old English. Empowered by land confiscation and the demographic reinforcement that accompanied plantation, the New English was enabled to consolidate its authority. Key episodes in the process – the plantation of Ulster, the 1641 Rebellion, and the Cromwellian confiscation will be examined.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main issues, key episodes and formative trends of early modern Irish history
2. Engage with and prioritise the main factors that shaped the transformation of Ireland during this period
3. Appreciate the variety of perspectives - political, economic, social and religious - that inform and shape the history of this period
4. Identify and possess a familiarity with the main historical texts (books and articles) and interpretations that manner with historical texts and historical documentation
5. Present appropriately researched historical arguments that are evidentially based and historiographically informed

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Attendance and participation
Assignment Completion20Reading, preparation and writing of assignment
Independent Study66Reading, note taking etc.
Independent Study15Preparation and revision for examination
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative Content
The object of this module is to explore the history of early modern Ireland – which was a particularly formative phase of Irish history. The course will explore the varieties of strategies by which the English Crown built upon the extension of royal control in the sixteenth century, to pursue an active policy of Anglicisation in the seventeenth. Symbolised by the termination of the Lordship of Ireland, and the assumption by Henry VIII of the kingship on the island becoming a kingdom in 1541, the Tudors laid the groundwork for the emergence of the New English as the dominant interest in the kingdom through the pursuit of a policy of conquest and plantation. They were enabled thereby effectually to overcome the resistance of the most powerful lords, and to eclipse the Gaelic Irish polity by the end of the century. However, tensions between the Old and the New English, combined with the intensification of religion-based animosities, ethnic hostilities and the destabilising effects of contestation in Britain ensure that the seventeenth century was particularly eventful. BY analysing the respective fortunes of the Gaelic Irish, the Old English and the New English in the early seventeenth century and the impact of ethnic and religious tensions the context is provided for an analysis of the profound contestation that was a feature of the 1640s and 1650s. Particular attention will be accorded the origins and implications of the 1641 Rebellion, the Confederation of Kilkenny, and the decisive impact of the Cromwellian Conquest not only on the ownership of land, but also on the exercise of power. The origins of what is conventionally denominated Protestant Ascendancy have been located in these events, but the authority of that ascendancy was far from assured, and the restoration era, spanning the quarter century 1660-85 and the reign of Charles II can be seen as an interlude between the drama of the mid-century, and the culmination of the power struggle to determine who would hold the levers of powers. Catholic hopes were elevated during James II’s short active reign, only to be dashed by the ‘Glorious Revolution’, and the political and land settlement that followed. As a result, by the early 1690s the power and authority of the ‘Protestant interest’ in Ireland had arrived at a point where it can be acknowledged that the foundations of what is identified as Protestant ascendancy were in place.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Essaystudents are required to write an essay of c.2500 words from a list supplied50%As required
Reflective journalReflective reading journal50%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • S.J. Connolly: 2007, Contested Island: Ireland, 1460-630, Oxfird University Press,
  • S.J. Connolly: 2008, Divided Kingdom: Ireland, 1630-1800, Oxford University Press,
  • Colm Lennon: 2005, Sixteenth-century Ireland: The incomplete conquest, Revised edition, Gill and Macmillan,
  • Raymond Gillespie: 2006, Seventeenth-century Ireland: making Ireland modern, Gill and Macmillan,
  • Raymond Gillespie: 1991, The transformation of the Irish economy 1550-1700, Irish Economic and Social History Society,
  • David Dickson: 2000, Ireland: new foundations, 1660-1800, Irish Academic Press,
  • Jane Ohlmeyer (ed.): 2018, The Cambridge History of Ireland, 1550-1730 volume 2, Cambridge,
Other Resources

52448, In Class/Online, 0, A detailed listing of supporting readings will be provided to students on the commencement of this course.,
Programme or List of Programmes
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)

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