DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2021 - 2022

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The object of this course it to explore the exercise of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland between the triumph of the Protestant elite in Ireland over Jacobitism between 1688 and 1690, and the implications of the emergence in the early nineteenth century of a politically and demographically energised Catholic population led by Daniel O'Connell. The course also engages in a detailed exploration of the key features of society and economy during this time period.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main features, episodes, trends and personalities of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Irish History.
2. Recognise how different ideological vantage points can shape historical perspective, and move between different historical interpretations
3. Distinguish between minor and major causative factors and consequences in analysing and assessing historical episodes
4. Engage with evolving sophistication with historical documentation and historical texts.
5. Present informed and nuanced historical opinions that are evidentially based and historiographically informed.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Lectures: engagement and participation
Assignment Completion101Journal and essay: research, preparation and writing
Total Workload: 123

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

In depth introduction to a key era in Irish History
This course provides students with an in depth introduction to a key era in Irish History. Its initial focus is the exercise of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland between the establishment of a commanding Protestant aristocratic order in the aftermath of the defeat of the Jacobites, 1689-91 and the severe blow dealt to the exercise of that ascendancy by the emergence between 1823 and 1847 of a politicised Irish (Catholic) population guided by Daniel O'Connell, and to the economic foundations of landlordism by the Great Famine. Based on a close engagement with the large volume of research completed on this era in the last quarter century, this course provides, firstly, a comprehensive overview of the politics of 'Protestant Ireland' through an exploration of the creation of a 'Protestant constitution' in the 1690s and its subsequent evolution, of the role of management in government, of the nature of the Anglo-Irish nexus, the politics of patriotism, the challenge of radicalism, and of the rational for and implementation of an Anglo-Irish Union. Its second focus is the survival, negotiation and emergence of Catholics as a political interest through an examination of the nature, impact and repeal of the 'Penal Laws', and the transformative impact, both positive and negative, of Daniel O'Connell. Particular attention is accorded to the historiographical work that sustains the radical re-interpretation that this period permits. The third part of the course focuses on economy and society. It will explore the nature of the Irish ancient regime and the Irish economy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Particular attention is given to the susceptibility of the population to famine and subsistence crisis, to demographic growth, and to the expressions of agrarian disquiet. In addition, the course will address the nature and exercise of patriarchy, formative social developments such as the language shift, the changing nature of recreation. The course will conclude with an exploration of the nature of Ireland's economic crisis in the early nineteenth century and the immediate nature and impact of the Great Famine.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • Dickson, David: 2000, Ireland: new foundations, 1660-1800, Irish Academic Press, Dublin,
  • Connolly, S.J.: 2008, Divided kingdom: Ireland 1630-1800, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • McBride, Ian: 2009, Eighteenth-century Ireland: the isle of slaves, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin,
  • McCartney, Donal: 1987, The dawning of democracy, 1800-1870, Helicon, Dublin,
  • Kelly, J (ed): 2018, Cambridge History of Ireland Vol3, 1730-1880, Cambridge,
Other Resources

45911, In Class, 0, Supporting readings: A detailed listing of supporting readings will be provided to students on the commencement of the course.,
Programme or List of Programmes